Stress is something that everyone experiences. Its effects can take a toll on people in several ways. The usual occurrences include nausea, chest pain, headache, and muscle pain, among many others.

But there also exist uncommon consequences of stress which you may not have known about.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD) 

Have you ever been so stressed out that you felt some pain or tension around your jaw area? Stress, with a combination of anxiety, can make you grind and clench your teeth unknowingly, especially during sleep, which eventually leads to the development of TMD if not managed.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMD is the term used to define a variety of problems related to jaw movement and jaw joints. It significantly reduces your quality of life. Anyone suffering from TMD may experience tension in the shoulders, neck, and face.

One of the symptoms is when the jaw clicks upon the opening of the mouth. The clicking of the jaw occurs when the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), the jaw joints that connect the mandible to the skull, are dysfunctional to a certain degree. Most of the time, jaw popping is not followed by pain and goes away on its own. But when pain is experienced, it could indicate that the disorder is on a moderate level.

Another instance of TMD is the locking of the jaw or trismus. This disorder prevents you from opening your mouth beyond 35 millimeters (mm). Usual cases do not last very long but can be permanent in unluckier individuals. Trismus is accompanied by difficulty with eating, speaking, and maintaining oral hygiene.

People suffering from more severe cases of TMD are advised to seek medical attention from an orthodontics specialist as they can address problems related to the teeth and jaw. Stress will only worsen your TMD. You should get a mouth guard to reduce the strain on your TMJ. Wearing a nightguard also does the job by preventing you from grinding your teeth while sleeping, as well as massaging your jaw area regularly to release tightness.

Immune System 

The body’s protection from unwanted organisms is weaker when a person is too stressed out. Stress produces the hormone cortisol enhances immunity which helps combat inflammation. However, too much of it in your blood actually increases the risk of inflammation.

Being stressed also drops the number of lymphocytes — the white blood cells that fight off infections. A relatively low amount of lymphocytes puts you at a higher risk of getting infected with viruses, including the common cold. On top of that, stress can cause an individual to resort to coping strategies such as gluttony, smoking, and drinking alcohol, damaging the immune system.

A good intervention to prevent your immune system from giving you less protection is to practice yoga regularly. Doing inverted poses filters out toxins in the body by assisting the circulation of fluid through the lymphatic system, lowering stress hormone levels. Meditating at least four times a week meanwhile lowers cortisol levels and aids in premature aging.

An immune system that has been battered due to stress can be strengthened again by getting enough sleep, avoiding sugary products, eating more whole plant foods, and staying hydrated.

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Appearance 

You can tell when somebody is stressed out if they look older than their actual age. Stress reduces the elasticity of your skin by causing changes in its proteins. The absence of elasticity then results in the formation of wrinkles and eye bags.

Aside from increasing the risk of inflammation, cortisol contributes to excessive oil production that creates acne by clogging up pores. Stress may also change your hair color to gray and give you drier and itchier skin.

Digestive Problems

When you’re constantly under stress, your body produces more acid, resulting in stomach aches, diarrhea, and heartburn. Sometimes you may even feel nauseated, leading to unnecessary vomiting.

If you’re already suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, your problems are only going to get worse. Severe cases may have the doctor diagnose you with peptic ulcer. The best response would be to go on a healthy diet and find some relaxing time for yourself.

How to Manage Stress

As unavoidable as stress is, there are still many interventions you can do to combat it. Experts recommend stressed-out people to implement an exercise regimen. It doesn’t have to be intense. Walking, swimming, running, or just about anything that promotes activity will do just fine. Include in your diet foods full of antioxidants such as berries, beans, and fruits. To further lessen stress, get enough Vitamin C, Magnesium, and Omega-3 fatty acids.

Practicing deep breathing may also help as it allows more oxygen to get to the brain, which prompts the nervous system to relax. The fact is stress will always come up whenever your body reacts to something. It may come in the form of fear, nervousness, frustration, or anger.

Yes, sometimes it can be hard to cope with, and you’ll find yourself feeling terrible. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to help yourself. Just remember that you can’t control everything.

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