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Letting Stress Get the Upper Hand

When you’re stressed out, depressed or anxious, your pain may feel worse, and it’s not because you’re blowing it out of proportion in your head. The truth is that stress has a significant influence on the experience of pain, Kulich says. For one thing, when you’re stressed out, you tend to clench or tense your muscles, often without realizing it, which can trigger or aggravate pain. For another, your body releases inflammatory chemicals that can exacerbate existing pain.

Solution: Find your personal pressure-release valve and use it often, by meditating, doing deep breathing, using self-hypnosis or engaging in another activity that helps you decompress. This will help prevent stress from taking a toll on your head, neck, back or other areas that are vulnerable to pain -- and keep your wits about you when pain does flare up.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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