Stress can lead to headaches

POSTED: 12:30 PM Jan 16 2013   UPDATED: 3:32 PM Jan 31 2013

By Barbara Floria, Pure Matters

Stress exists in your mind -- but it's also evident in your stomach, heart, muscles and even your toes.

"In fact, stress may affect every cell in your body," says M. Ronald Glaser, Ph.D., a professor at Ohio State University Medical School.

During stressful times, your body produces various chemicals, including cortisol, an immune-suppressing hormone. The more cortisol produced, the weaker your immune cells become and the more susceptible you are to illness.

"A one-day stressor isn't going to make a big change in your risk of getting a cold, for example," says Dr. Glaser. "But a chronic stressor that lasts a few weeks could dampen your immune response and create a risk of disease."

Migraine headaches, sleep disorders, backaches, skin rashes, fatigue, irritability, headache, depression, worry, mood swings, chest pain, anxiety, upset stomach, ulcers and high blood pressure are common reactions to stress.

By gaining a better understanding of the stress/disease connection, you can reduce your stress and, in turn, improve your health and well-being.

Keeping stress in check

No one can avoid all stress -- and a certain amount actually is good for you. But it's best to keep unhealthy levels in check.

The following steps can help you control everyday stress:

Combating serious stress

"In combating serious stress, you should first carefully appraise the seriousness of the situation and the adequacy of your coping resources," says Kenneth B. Matheny, Ph.D., A.B.P.P., professor of counseling psychology at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

When faced with a highly stressful event in your life -- perhaps the death of a loved one, a life-threatening illness or a serious financial loss -- the following strategies will help you cope:

Source: http://resources.purematters.com/healthy-mind/stress/understanding-the-stress-health-connection