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Sumita Dave


Stress is a condition or circumstance (not always adverse), which can disturb the normal physiological and psychological functioning of an individual. The events that provoke stress are called stressors.

The human body responds to stressors by activating the nervous system and specific hormones. These physical changes prepare a person to react quickly and effectively to handle the pressure of the moment. This natural reaction is known as the stress response. Working properly, the body’s stress response enhances a person’s ability to perform well under pressure. But the stress response can also cause problems when it overreacts or fails to turn off and reset itself properly.


  • Major life changes
  • Work
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Financial problems
  • Being too busy
  • Children and family
  • Inability to accept uncertainty
  • Pessimism
  • Negative self-talk
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Perfectionism
  • Lack of assertiveness
  • Social problems
  • Medical illness
  • Lack of social support
  • Family history.


  • Feeling tense, nervous or tired
  • Headaches due to muscle tension in the neck and scalp
  • Migraines
  • Palpitations, breathlessness, dizziness and chest pains, usually due to muscle spasms
  • Nausea, stomach pain, upset tummy and diarrhoea (often resulting in Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
  • Anxiety or depressive thoughts
  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Muscle tension
  • Changes in eating habits including overeating
  • Loss of enthusiasm or energy
  • Mood changes.

Physiotherapists offer a number of stress management techniques and treatments which can help to improve a patient’s health and well-being, whether it be specially designed stress management programs, exercise programs, massage, muscle relaxation or general fitness advice.

Treatment can take the form of individual consultation, group relaxation classes, relaxation audio tapes or information sessions for the general public.

Physiotherapists with a special interest in stress management can offer many different types of relaxation therapy including guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing techniques, thought stopping, stretching, massage and general fitness advice.

Physiotherapy can assist by:

  • Reducing muscle tension
  • Increasing vitality and decreasing reported tiredness
  • Improving concentration span
  • Improving feeling of general well-being
  • Decreasing blood pressure
  • Reducing risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Improving attitude to work and leisure activity
  • Reducing pain states such as headache, chronic pain syndromes and work related anxiety
  • Possibly decreasing dosage of psycho-active medication.

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