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Welcome to part 2 of this 4 part mini-series on the darker side of stress, if you missed it part one about the internal effects of stress  is here (  Part 2 is a little bit shorter for easier reading but no less interesting:

The stress of a broken heart can be life threatening

Broken heart syndrome or stress cardiomyopathy is a very real condition, with the British medical journal stating it may account for 1-2% of hospital admissions in the industrialised world. Described as mimicking a heart attack, patients usually don’t of the have any of the risk factors (smoking, obesity ect..). Although they have a sudden onset of symptoms, patients tend to make quick and full recovery under the care of an experienced physician. Sudden intense stress causes the heart to reversibly enlarge due to the extra output of blood needed to supply the body and its muscles as described in part 1.

Although osteopaths do not treat stress cardiomyopathy, we do have ways to help manage stress build up and can help reduce the load emotional trauma places on your body and muscles.  Tension related conditions such as headaches, muscular tightness and chest pain relating to rib dysfunction can be relieved through the application of high velocity thrust techniques (HVT). Osteopaths can influence the spinal segments that supply the fight or flight response to the heart, by adjusting the segment through HVT osteopaths can allow regulation of the heart’s rate under stress, and using breathing and stretching techniques can help reduce muscular tension in the body, further reducing the load on the heart.

Osteopathy can’t cure a broken heart, but it can help you stay in one piece while working through it.

Written by: Andre Kulesza

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