How does stress affect your muscles?

Having seen many patients over the years, it is becoming increasingly clear that many pathologies are exacerbated by anxiety and stress. Stress definitely has an impact on muscle functions.

Aging is often associated with weakness of skeletal muscles and decrease in muscle functions. Usually in old-age, people undergo wasting of muscles, so they are more prone for fall and fracture. It has been stated that stress and cognition has an impact on muscle functions.

This study was intended to demonstrate the effect of stress in muscle function:

Methods: This was a cross sectional study done at a charitable home in Chennai sub urban. The males and females in the old age home were included in this study. Sixty-four subjects were included and the persons with previous history of musculo skeletal and neurological disorders were excluded. Anthropometric parameters were recorded Maximum Voluntary Contraction (MVC) and Endurance Time (ET) were measured by hand grip dynamometer. Perceived stress score was measured by perceived stress scale questionnaire. Muscle function parameters and stress score was compared.

Results: Sixty-four subjects were included in this study and it was found out that there is a negative correlation between MVC & stress which was statistically significant.

Conclusion: Hormones released during stress have a negative metabolic effect in skeletal muscle. Stress can induce earlier decline in muscle strength which will eventually lead to fall and fracture. Therefore, stress should be viewed as an independent risk factor for disability and other co morbid conditions.

So what can you do about this?

Physiotherapy treatments including tissue work, acupuncture, exercise therapy, myo-fascial releasing can help to reduce pain and discomfort.