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    Stress and the body

    Choose one of the disorders below to research.

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
    Breast Cancer

    Describe the current research that supports how stress contributes to the effects of the disorder (3 or 4 well-developed paragraphs). (Headaches)

    How does your chosen stress-related disorder affect short- and long-term health? Consider impact on endocrine, nervous and other body systems (3 or 4 well-developed paragraphs).

    What can be done to prevent and/or treat your chosen stress-related disorder? (2 or 3 well-developed paragraphs).

    Draw conclusions about how to avoid these stress-related disorders (1 well-developed paragraph).

    K. (2014, April 02). Physical effects of stress. Processing the Environment. MCAT. Khan Academy. Retrieved September 26, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUqJ-AKSsuE




Subject Nursing Pages 4 Style APA


Stress and the Human Body: Headache

Psychosocial stress contributes the headache through increased blood pressure associated with the increased workload on the heart. High demand on increased heart pumping action due to stress for a long period of time contributes to hardening and thickening of the blood vessels, which results into chronic hypertension. Headache is one of the symptoms reported in patients who experiences hypertension (Patton, 2014).

 Migraine headache and arterial hypertension has been linked in medical literature. Migraine headache is a symptom of very high arterial blood pressure or when the arterial blood pressure rise quickly (Finocchi & Sassos, 2017). Arca and Singh (2019) add that headache results from abrupt rise in blood pressure. In cases of arterial hypertension, headache is considered as a major concern in the emergency departments (Finocchi & Sassos, 2017).

Psychological stress can trigger headache. Other psychological issues that develop as a result of psychological stress such as anxiety, absence of sluggishness, and irritation have been indicated to be important triggers of headaches. For example, when individuals overstretch themselves during a stressful task they are likely to experience headache. Demand on completion of a stressful task hinders emotional adjustment to the changing situational demands (Berry & Drummond, 2018).

Psychological stress-associated stress can have short-term and long-term effects on health. Headaches can negatively affect everyday life. Pain associated with the headache may get worse during physical activity; thus, reduces the performance or work-out of an individual. People experiencing migraine attacks may also, but temporarily experience paralysis in some parts of their bodies, have trouble speaking, and have abnormal sensations such as tingling (InformedHealth.org, 2018).

Short-term effects of headache on health may manifest with some symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Other symptoms include blurred vision and seeing ‘flashing lights’ or strange shapes (InformedHealth.org, 2018).  These symptoms may affect an individual’s quality of life and lead to poor social functioning (InformedHealth.org, 2018). Stress is associated with increased released of glucocorticoids such as cortisol, which may have a role in development of headache (Tsigos et al., 2020).

Long-term effects of psychological stress-associated headache include development of sensitivity to noise or light; especially during migraine attacks. If not treated, migraine attacks may persist for about four hours to three days (InformedHealth.org, 2018). Feeling tense or nervous, can make headache associated pain worse or to develop in the first place. In some individuals, migraine headache may become chronic; that is lasting for more than 15 days (InformedHealth.org, 2018). Management of stress-associated headache may lead medical expensive in purchase of medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen and healthcare services (InformedHealth.org, 2018).

Headache associated with psychological stress is managed by treating the underlying cause. For example, migraine headache associated with arterial hypertension can be managed through effective treatment of arterial hypertension (Finocchi & Sassos, 2017). Management includes administration of antihypertensive agents, which include angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors, beta-blockers, and angiotensin II receptor blockers (Finocchi & Sassos, 2017).  Use of herbal medicinal products and dietary supplements can also help reduce the risk migraine headaches (InformedHealth.org, 2018).

Psychological and behavioral approaches can also be used to manage psychological associated-headache. Psychological associated stress can also be managed by improving coping mechanism to common stressors. This can be achieved through psychosocial counseling. Strategies such as adoption to a more flexible less outcome-dependent information processing styles, modification of perceptions to threat may help reduce or prevent psychological-associated headaches (Berry & Drummond, 2018). Apart from improving coping skills to stress, a healthy sleeping habit or pattern can help reduce the risk of headaches. Other management techniques include relaxation techniques when faced with stressful situations (InformedHealth.org, 2018).


Arca, K. N., & Singh, R. B. H. (2019). The hypertensive headache: a review. Curr Pain Headache Rep., 23(5), 30. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30874912/

Berry, J. K. M., & Drummond, P. D. (2018). Psychological generators of stress-headaches. J Behav Med., 41(1), 109-121. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28710564/

Finocchi, C., & Sassos, D. (2017). Headache and arterial hypertension. Neurol Sci., 38(Suppl 1), 67-72. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28527058/#:~:text=Elevated%20blood%20pressure%20(BP)%20and,very%20high%20or%20rise%20quickly.

InformedHealth.org. (2018). Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Migraine: Overview. [Updated 2018 May 30]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279373/#_NBK279373_pubdet_

Patton, R. S. (2014, April 02). ‘Physical effects of stress. Processing the Environment’. MCAT. Khan Academy [YouTube]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUqJ-AKSsuE

Tsigos, C., Kyrou, I., Kassi, E., et al. (2020). Stress: Endocrine Physiology and Pathophysiology. [Updated 2020 Oct 17]. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt, B., Boyce, A., et al., Eds.. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK278995/#_NBK278995_pubdet_



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