Almost all of us suffer with stress in daily life in so many ways but do any of us actually deal with it? It sounds like a diagnostic condition and I suppose from a medical point of view it can lead to other issues such as anxiety, depression and anger, but stress itself I personally wouldn’t categorise as a condition, but more a symptom of situations in life. The objective in this article is to outline what I can do to address stress for patients.
Stress has a physical response on the body as well as psychological. It can fatigue you quicker, tighten the muscles, cause headaches, make you tired in the middle of the day or quite the opposite, make you restless throughout the night. And as mentioned earlier it can also cause other emotions to amplify such as depression and anger, which in turn have more physical effects. It’s one of the biggest killers in our society. That doesn’t mean of course that a person dies of stress, but the effects that come with it. A man with serious financial burdens, a family to look after and has just been made redundant will undoubtedly suffer stress. Now this particular example could cause heart palpitations and constant worry. Just those two symptoms will take a toll on the heart. We could list endless possibilities, but I hope it’s clear that stress can be a big ingredient in many life problems. In that sense, stress is a bit of a viscous circle. You become stressed, then your symptoms can make you more stressed. There are so many interventions out there to help you manage the effects but mostly its down to you and what helps you relax.
When patients are dealing with stress, its often visible in body language and communication. Something I’ve done in the past especially for those who run a few minutes late is to just sit for a few minutes and let them catch up with their thoughts. Whether that be me leaving the room to wash my hands, or simply ‘Just have to make a quick call,’ it makes all the difference to the mindset of the patient just to take a breather. Of course just like my silly jokes, as mentioned earlier, you need to pick your audience; some patients may not appreciate the breather and just want to crack down to business. But why is that? Why the immediate rush to go from running through the door to laying on my couch with no assessments? It really most often is down to stress.
Sport therapy and stress relief, now those of you who are long term patients will most likely put those two together for the therapist; cause pain to the patient and relieve your own stress, and that can quite possibly be true to a subliminal level though bear in mind your welfare is always the top priority! Stress reduction for the patient is possible too, but just as every other problem in the clinic it needs to be investigated first and understood where the root of the problem is coming from. Maybe you’ve just changed jobs, moved house, going through a loss or separation; finding the source can lead to the type of therapy needed. Now of course as a sport therapist I’m no councillor, but what do you do when you see a councillor? You unload. Just as you do with a hair dresser or myself, you put yourself in the hands of someone else. You put your trust in them. Letting out the issues you have to a complete stranger in some cases can be a really helpful method to release. As a therapist you pick your audience; work out what’s best for them. A patient/personal trainer once said to me ‘in our line of work you become a chameleon.’ In doing so, you know what would be best for the patient. Sometimes being a listener is the best method, sometimes just light conversation. More often than you’d expect, deep meaningful conversations about life can be very de-stressing and enlightening. Aside from conversation, massage can be a great tool for relaxation. As mentioned earlier it really depends on your personal preference. Some play golf, some ride horses, and some like a bit of TLC. Now sports massages are a little rougher than the standard beauty therapy treatment, but when speaking to the therapist all you need to do is explain why you are visiting and the therapist can easily adapt for you. If you’ve had a long week and just want an hour to yourself, your own treat to yourself, tell your therapist and they can make it much more tailored to you. You can not only leave feeling relaxed and de-stressed but have the physical benefit of those tight shoulders loosened off. Honestly some regularity in treatments and after a month you’ll notice the difference in your mindset. You know you’ll have that massage booked in a couple of weeks to look forward to rather than being stuck in the daily routine never getting a chance to put your feet up.
Think about it…