Headaches and stomach aches as a stress signal

Do you experience headaches, muscle tension or stomach aches due to a demanding work/ life schedule?  This is an issue I see all too often in my practice.  Over the years, various patients have complained of these physical symptoms that tended to make their work and home lives less productive and frustrating.

One patient expressed his guilt over being unable to participate in sports activities with his young son because of his tension headaches and severe jaw pain.  In addition, he admitted that he experienced a great amount of pressure from work to fulfill a quota and that his wife was recently laid off from her job.  Financial stressors as well as life and work demands had increased and he was “holding it all in.”  The physical symptoms he was experiencing were directly related to his emotional stress and how he was dealing with it.

We began to explore the ways that he could incorporate relaxation and exercise in his life.  He admitted that he used to ride his bike and work out regularly. However, the responsibilities at home and at his job increased and he was “unable” to find the time to return to these healthy stress relieving habits.  By the end of the session, he realized that it was imperative that he change the way he thought about his stressors and that he needed to make the time to practice self care.  After several sessions of exploring and fine tuning the tools to cope more effectively, he found that his headaches and jaw pain significantly subsided. He was finally able to participate and enjoy playing sports with his son.  He also found he was more productive at work and was able to receive the bonus that helped his family pay their mounting bills at home.  Please do not ignore the physical signs of stress.  They are your warning indicator lights telling you that you have to make changes in your life. l;/