Research shows that stress-related ailments are responsible for 75% to 90% of visits to the family doctor. This makes stress the world’s leading health problem. In today’s world, rates of stress continue to rise because of an increasingly demanding lifestyle. Job stress is by far the most common source of stress in adults although other forms of stress are escalating in children, teenagers and the elderly for various reasons.

Stress is the body’s response to a real or perceived harmful situation. When controlled and short-lived, stress can help a person perform better. However, if stress is persistent or chronic, it can lead to severe health problems.

When a person is under stress, the body produces chemicals called adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. These chemicals cause the heart rate and blood pressure to rise and may also cause blood sugar changes. This is called the “flight or fight” response. If these effects are persistent, the person may develop high blood pressure. High levels of cortisol may also lead to weight gain and diabetes. Uncontrolled chronic stress may lead to anxiety and depression.

Early intervention in cases of chronic stress is important in order to prevent the risk for complications. If you think you may be suffering from stress or tension, anger, irritability, anxiety or even depression, we can manage your condition at The Pain Clinic and advise you on easy, effective, healthy ways to get out of this vicious cycle so you can get on with your busy life!

The Consultation

For patients who have long-standing stress problems, a 1-hour consultation is planned to explore the patient’s life in detail, identifying sources of stress and other issues which could be contributing to the patient’s ill health. The patient is asked about diet, exercise, sleep and bowel habits as well as medical issues and medications taken.

The patient is then examined to determine if stress is causing any physical signs on the body. Blood tests may be recommended in some cases to exclude other medical conditions. Anxiety and depression levels are measured, together with a quality of life assessment. A plan of action is prepared and discussed with the patient.

Mindfulness-based interventions have been shown to be very effective at reducing stress. Patients are advised on practical ways to include mindfulness in their daily routine. By learning mindfulness and practising it regularly, one can change the way stress is viewed and help one handle stressful situations better.

Exercise is prescribed according to the patient’s level of fitness. Research shows that high impact exercises such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and contact sports are more effective to control symptoms of stress than low impact exercises such as swimming and walking. However, all types of exercise were shown to improve symptoms of stress. The Pain Clinic offers tailor-made exercise programs for stress management, most of which can be done in the comfort of your own home.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a very safe and effective herbal remedy that can be used as a tool to help with stress. In conjunction with regular exercise and mindfulness meditation, CBD provides a synergistic effect to improve resilience.