Part 2: The Stress-Pain Relationship

Part 2: The Stress-Pain Relationship                                  

By Megan Doyle, MS, OTR/L, FPS, Cert-APHPT

Occupational Therapist, Fellow of Pain Science,

 and Certified Applied Prevention Health Promotion Therapist

Managing Stress: Thoughts and Actions

       In Part 1 of this blog post, we detailed the background behind what stress is (negative and positive), and how prolonged stress can lead to a multitude of issues, including pain onset and in some cases can contribute to chronic pain. Stress is a normal part of daily life, but we all need healthy ways to manage it. 

     The following are some evidence-based (1, 2) strategies you can use to begin to better tackle your stress:

  • Focus on what is within your control in any given situation (choose how to cope)
  • Find routine connection with others (positive social support) and ask for help
  • Search for a deeper meaning in difficulty situations (foster resiliency) 
  • Get involved in routine and pleasurable activities (e.g., volunteering)
  • Identify steps you can take that can improve a stressful situation (regain control)
  • Find routine ways to relax (e.g., yoga, meditation, reading a good book)
  • Engage in routine physical activity/exercise                                                                                                                   (check out our blog post on movement here)
  • Acknowledge and address the underlying causes of stress in your life                                                  (e.g. work stress)
  • Make time for hobbies or leisure activities                                                                                                         (bonus points if participating with others!)
  • Show yourself kindness (practice self-compassion)
  • Foster a habit of mindfulness                                                                                                                                     (be present in your daily life, letting go of past and future)
  • Use deep breathing in the moment to reduce stress levels
  • Keep a gratitude journal or write about your stressful events                                                             (helping you process them)
  • Engage in a spiritual or religious practice

       Thanks for reading! Navigating daily stress can be challenging, but we hope you can now go forth and try out some of these strategies yourself. If you feel you need a more personalized approach and recommendations, reach out to any of our Navigate Pain rehab professionals. We can provide you with a customized plan and follow up support to get you on the right path to effective stress management or put you in contact with the right resources for you. 

Part 2 References:

  1. Shafir, H. Eustress vs Distress: Positive & Negative Types of Stress. Updated on 7 July 2021. Retrieved on 7/18/21 from:
  2. American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Lifestyle Stress Reduction. Retrieved on 7/18/21 from:



This telehealth service is provided by licensed physical therapists to provide advice as to potential treatment options for musculoskeletal pain that is affecting your activities of daily living. Examples of musculoskeletal pain include lower back pain and pain in your joints.

While we can suggest treatment, we cannot guarantee any particular course of treatment will be successful.

A telehealth consult with a licensed physical therapist is not a substitute for an in-person physical examination by a licensed physical therapist or physician. Chronic or severe pain may be indicative of a larger health issue that can only be diagnosed and treated by a licensed physician. If you are having a medical emergency, please dial 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

This service is provided for adult consumers over the age of 18. If you are under the ageof 18, it is unlawful for you to use this service without parental consent.

Navigate Pain, LLC, disclaims all warranties with regard to the telehealth services provided. In no event shall Navigate Pain, LLC, or any shareholders, members or employees, be liable for any damages whatsoever including but not limited to special, indirect or consequential damages resulting from personal injuries, medical expenses or loss of income arising out of the use of this service or any of the information provided through this telehealth service.

I give my consent to Navigate Pain and its affiliates to both collect private health information and provide counsel and offer recommendations about managing my musculoskeletal pain and best course of action to take regarding my symptoms. I acknowledge that no guarantees have been made to me as to the effect of such examinations or counsel on the condition and I am responsible for all charges in connection with advice treatment rendered.