This post was originally published here, as a, but since it may be beneficial & helpful for some of our patients and readers, I’ve included it on this site so you have an idea of how we approach healthcare here at Proactive Rehabilitation & Wellness. I hope you find it a quick and insightful read. 



Ever Wonder Why Stress Leads to Shoulder Pain?



Alright, I know you’ve experienced this: you have a stressful day at work, or the kids won’t stop screaming and running around the house, or you receive an unexpected medical bill. And you begin to feel some tightness in your neck and shoulder. Maybe it starts as some stiffness, but it soon becomes sore, achy, and painful to move your arm or neck very much.


Could this pain be related to life stressors, or is it simply a problem with your muscles and tissues?


Well, if you’ve followed us much, or read our Manifesto, you know that we take a biopsychosocial approach to healthcare. That means we know that it’s not just muscles, bones, and tissues that can lead to pain and limitations. Emotional stress, anxiety, and trauma also impact our physical function, strength, and pain levels.


Interview with Pop Sugar


I was able to sit down with the nice folks over at Pop Sugar to talk a bit about how our stress response influence shoulder and neck pain.

Below is an excerpt, but you can read the full article here.


The Stress-Pain Connection


Here’s a little excerpt about how stress can influence shoulder pain:

Rafael E. Salazar II, MHS, OTR/L, CEO and president of ProActive Rehabilitation and Wellness, also added that cortisol — a stress hormone made by the body — may be one of the culprits in causing aches and pains in different parts of the body, such as the shoulders. According to research, prolonged cortisol responses by the body could result in cortisol dysfunction. Cortisol dysfunction, in turn, acts as the catalyst for inflammation, which has the ability to cause even more inflammation, pain, and even depression. “We are made up of the biological part, sure, but we also have emotional, psychological, and environmental or social factors that affect each of us differently,” said Salazar. “Taking a biopsychosocial approach to healthcare where we’re looking at all factors, not just muscles and tissues, helps us to better understand what may be causing shoulder pain.” Salazar also added that the relationship between chronic pain and stress is close — when our anxiety and stress increases, our awareness of pain does as well.


Addressing Stress-Related Shoulder Pain


Now understanding the connection between stress and pain does little good for you if that information doesn’t help you address the problem at hand. Below is another excerpt from the article about just that.

Thankfully there are ways to free yourself from stress-induced shoulder pain if you are experiencing it firsthand. An important thing to keep in mind while trying to treat stress-induced pain is to do so by digging deep down and treating the root cause: stress. Salazar recommended doing this by learning effective coping mechanisms and calming strategies to help keep stress at bay. “Sure, you can use physical agent modalities like heat and e-stim; and even manual therapy like massage,” said Salazar, “but unless you are addressing the root cause — stress — you will continue to experience elevated pain and limited function.”


Well, hopefully, this information helps you address your own stress-related shoulder & neck pain if that’s what you’re experiencing.


We understand that struggling with the stress and strain of chronic pain can be tough…Whether it’s waking up feeling stiff or severe tension after walking, running, or playing, no one wants to spend each day dealing with the soreness that chronic pain brings. While many people choose surgery or injections for pain relief, at ProActive Rehabilitation & Wellness, we offer non-surgical therapies which prevents patients from going under the knife.


If you’d like to book a chronic pain consultation now, with one of our top clinicians, click here or give us a call. We only book a limited amount of these consultations each month, so act quickly before they’re gone.


Book Your Pain Consultation Now!


Rafi Salazar OT

Rafael E. Salazar II, MHS, OTR/L (Rafi) is the CEO & President of Proactive Rehabilitation & Wellness, as well as the Principal Owner of Rehab U Practice Solutions and the host of The Better Outcomes Show. He has experience in a variety of rehab settings, working with patients recovering from a variety of injuries and surgeries. He worked as the lead clinician in an outpatient specialty clinic at his local VA Medical center, where he worked on projects to improve patient & employee engagement and experience throughout the organization. He also has experience as a faculty member at Augusta University’s Occupational Therapy Program, as a Licensed Board Member on the GA State OT Board, has served on several committees for the national OT Board (NBCOT), and as a consultant working for the State of Georgia’s DBHDD. He is also on the Board of Directors for NBCOT.

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