James Scrimshaw explains stress and how it can impact the body.

Stress is involved in almost every aspect of our lives and life in general. You only need to watch an Attenborough natural history programme to witness the stresses nature and the environment has to endure almost continually.


In relation to the human body there is positive stress which leads to adaptation of our bodies, making us fitter, more durable, immune, and giving us a sense of achievement. Then there is negative stress which is involved in pretty much every medical issue out there.

It comes in many forms. Physical or psychological. Traumatic, acute or long term. Nutritional, mechanical or toxic.


Probably one of the most visible examples of stress is nutritional. Whether its excess eating and/or drinking or eating foods that stress our pancreas into over production of insulin leading to obesity and type 2 diabetes. Further down the line due to high inflammation, heart attacks and strokes. Excess alcohol stresses the liver leading to fatty liver and eventually Cirrhosis. We all know the effects smoking has on our lungs.


The common denominator with stress is that whilst we see the effects stress has on our larger organs and systems, it effects function at a cellular level. Either reducing cell function and communication, causing cell differentiation (changes in function such as cancer) or killing the cells and causing tissue degeneration. Alongside this process are high amounts of inflammation in the body leading to many life threatening conditions and pain.


In our field of physical healthcare we witness this degenerative process to joints and tissues on a daily basis. Take for example a hip joint. Its a joint that starts out with plenty of smooth hyaline cartilage ready for 50-100 years of weight bearing movement. At some point in our lives the weight bearing stresses and impacts begin to affect the function of the cartilage cells, affecting their ability to replenish. Over time, layer by layer, stressed cell processes can function no more and die, leading to an overall degradation of the structure and a condition of ‘degenerative change’ or Osteoarthritis....You just need to watch Roger Federer play tennis to see how remarkably our joints can perform when well, yet Andy Murray’s hip is an example of what happens when the cartilage structures diminish.


The good news is that we can influence the stresses on the body. We can add in positive more stresses such as physical and mental exercises. Reduce negative stresses such as sugar, smoking, trans fats, lack of movement and other commonly known detriments to our health.


When dealing with joint degeneration and pain, avoidance and stopping all hobbies and weight bearing isn’t a good option as that impacts our overall health and happiness in all areas. Seeking a diagnosis early on is so much more beneficial than ‘soldiering on’ and can save a lot of suffering and invasive treatments. Good hands on care and exercise can keep you feeling and functioning well for years. If function deteriorates or degenerative change is involved, MBST is a wonderful way of reinvigorating damaged and stressed cells in joints and tissues leading to a significant internal healing process and prolonged life in otherwise damaged areas.


In fact whilst there are many things out of our control in this world, our health is one thing we can influence, without being obsessive. Saving the NHS isn’t all about politics….it can start with saving our health on a personal level so we can each give the NHS a rest.


James Scrimshaw Managing Director of Cura Clinical

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