Exam Stress!!! How can Osteopathy Help you?
When we hear the word stress we think about daily adult stress, as adults we know how we can be affected by stress and worry – we may not sleep, we may not have an appetite or turn to food for comfort, we may get to sleep but wake with thoughts rushing around in our head at 3am – and it’s worth remembering that some children can also be affected in similar ways, especially at this time in the academic year. Yes, its exam season!
We are all aware of the emotional stress but what about the physical effects of this stress?
Stress affects the body’s ‘fight /flight’ response mechanism and makes our body produce certain hormones that help us deal with the ‘danger’. This is a normal response to things that make us feel threatened or upset our balance in some way, it triggers the release of adrenaline and cortisol in the adrenal glands. These hormones help us to focus on the possible danger, divert energy to the heart, brain and muscles, and help us stay alert until danger has passed.
We often see teenagers and children with ‘tension’ type problems across their shoulder girdle, upper back and necks at this time of year. Some of our patients will come in with headaches and migraines, which have often been exacerbated by studying for long periods of time at a computer, or worse, slumped on their beds with a lap top on their knees.
Carrying school bags of heavy books can result in low back and shoulder problems, and added to the levels of general anxiety, patients often find themselves distressed and uncomfortable at the very time they need to be functioning well. All this, in conjunction with growth spurts and hormones. It’s a lot for any young person to have to deal with!
How can Osteopathy help?
Here at Health First Osteopathy we are happy to treat students of all ages. We are aware that teenagers are not often forthcoming when they are not feeling on top form, and they often find it difficult to explain that they are a bit ‘up tight’, both emotionally and physically. Gentle osteopathic treatment can often help to relieve some of the mechanical stresses and strains associated with long hours of study, and we are also able to offer advice about the best ways to position computers and laptops to reduce postural strain.
We will always take a full case history and undertake a thorough biomechanical assessment of all patients, to ensure that there is nothing else contributing to the presenting symptoms before beginning treatment.
What can you do to help?
Make sure your children take regular breaks.
Make sure they are staying hydrated.
Try to get them moving (even if it is just walking up and down stairs to get a drink).