How Stress Affects the Brain and Spine?

Posted On Aug 08, 2022

Dr. Nishant Shanker Yagnick

Senior Consultant

Manipal Hospital - Gurugram

Effects of stress on body

Stress is the body's reaction to an event or situation, making us experience emotions like anger, nervousness and frustration. As humans, we experience stress in emotional or physical tension. Stress plays a vital role in making us work harder and stay alert. However, persistent stress has several adverse effects and needs guidance from a neurologist in Gurugram.

Types of Stress

The two main stress types are:

  • Acute Stress

The body's instant reaction to danger or excitement quickly goes away once the situation that triggered the cause subsides. Some examples are adventure sports, the possibility of a road accident and altercation. Almost everyone comes across acute stress once in a while. 

  • Chronic Stress

The stress that lasts for an extended period becomes a way of life full of tension and irritation. Some examples are the inability to upgrade financial status and unhappy marriage. If we are unable to manage chronic stress, it leads to severe health problems. Book an appointment to consult with the Neurologist in Gurgaon.

Effect of Stress on Body

While acute stress helps us to respond to stressful situations, chronic stress has several ill effects on the body and mind. 

Some Effects of Stress on Body are:

  • Constant irritation

  • Depressing thoughts

  • Sudden episodes of intense fear

  • Engulfed with sadness

Some physical ill effects are:

  • Body ache

  • Constant pain in the chest

  • Unable to achieve proper sleep

  • Dizziness and headache

  • Increased blood pressure

  • Tensed muscles 

  • Problem in digestion

  • Weak immunity

  • Unable to enjoy sex and other pleasures

The Stress Vicious Circle

At times, people who experience chronic stress try to manage it with behaviours that further increase the ill effects after its temporary effects are over, some such behaviours are:

  • Alcohol abuse

  • Drug abuse

  • Smoking

  • Getting involved in pornography

  • Gambling

  • Binging on junk food

Effect of Stress on the Brain

The constant stress of finances, health and relationships often severely impacts our minds.

  • Stress Destroys Brain Cells

The body releases adrenalin into our bloodstream to give us energy bursts during stressful situations. In contrast, the body releases glucocorticoids which are more potent hormones and have a longer shelf life than adrenalin. Under chronic stress, glucocorticoids ultimately begin destroying the brain cells in the hippocampus- the brain's sector that forms, organises and sorts memory, leading to memory loss and difficulty in learning.

  • Stress Shrinks Brain Cells

Stress causes the genes connecting the nerve cells to malfunction, resulting in fewer nerve connections and eventually shrinking the brain cells. Unlike the brain cells, the nerve connections can return to normal with proper stress management. 

  • Stress depletes Brain Chemicals

The brain uses chemicals to transfer messages between nerves. Chronic stress depletes these chemicals, causing difficulty in concentration and depression, amongst other ill effects.

Manipal Hospitals, Gurgaon, the leading neurology hospital in Gurgaon, helps patients overcome the ill effects of chronic stress on the brain.

Effect of Stress on the Spine

Chronic stress impacts our spine health in several ways:

  • Muscle Tension

The body tenses its muscles as a natural reaction to stress to protect from potential injuries. Acute stress releases the muscles after the stress episode is over. In contrast, chronic stress leaves muscles tense for extended periods, causing a lack of support and pain in weight-bearing joints like the spine.

  • Decrease in Function

Chronic stress limits a patient's functions and activities, weakening the body. The weak body further results in more stress than continuously feeds the loop, causing pain in the spine and other areas.

  • Impact on the Nervous system

The central nervous system concerns the brain, and spinal cord, constant triggers to the central nervous system by chronic stress cause the body to activate the nervous system more often than needed, resulting in severe wear and tear followed by spinal problems. 

Managing Chronic Stress

Leading neurologists in Gurugram recommend lifestyle changes to manage stress. Some of these changes are:

  1. Identify the causes of your stress by taking notes.

  2. Make time for family, friends and activities you would love to do.

  3. Speak to people, and take short breaks during the day's work.

  4. Avoid the stress' vicious cycle of alcohol, drugs and other abuses.

  5. Take help from a neurologist in Gurugram.

  6. Eat a balanced diet, and reduce junk food.

  7. Add exercises to your routine.

  8. Take proper sleep, and avoid exposure to screens at least 2 hours before bedtime.

  9. Volunteer for community service.

Treating Chronic Stress

Call us if seeking an appointment with Manipal Hospitals, we are among the leading neurology hospitals in Gurgaon. Manipal Hospitals, Gurgaon is equipped with treatment facilities like: 

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Therapists understand the patients' concerns and help them to manage these issues.

  • Hypnosis

The therapist helps patients to relax and focus inward using specialised techniques.

  • Autogenic Training

An arrangement of uncomplicated cognitive practices to relax the body and mind.

  • Mindfulness

Experts help patients to be aware of their every moment through focused training.  

  • Medication

Sometimes, a neurologist in Gurugram may recommend medication to handle chronic Stress.

While lifestyle changes put the patient on the path to a sustainable life, treating chronic stress needs help from experts. Seek an appointment with Manipal Hospitals, Gurgaon, for the best neurology hospital in Gurgaon.

Dr. Nishant Shankar Yagnick

Senior Consultant - Neurosurgery

Manipal Hospitals, Gurugram

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