Stress-related complaints are becoming increasingly common. The workload and work hours are often extremely high, in addition, you still have a social life to maintain. That often means sleeping less, eating bad and exercising less. If you end up in this vicious circle, it can cause a lot of problems.
In order to solve these complaints effectively, it is important to know what stress actually is.
Stress is a ‘bad’ thing for many people, while stress is actually essential for human development.

Examples of stress or tension related complaints are:

  • Constant stiffness in neck and shoulders
  • Tingling sensation in the fingers and hands
  • Feeling of always being in a hurry
  • Feeling exhausted
  • Complaints of burn-out
  • Recurring lower back complaints
  • Problems to the stomach and intestine
  • Problems sleeping
  • Decreased energy / libido
  • Binge eating


Stress is anything that disrupts the homeostasis (internal balance in the human body) and stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. These stressors can be of both a physical (e.g. training) and a mental (e.g. work stress) nature.
Exposure to regulated amounts of stress causes adaptation and is therefore essential for human growth.
As long as you can manage these stressors and there is a balance. When this balance is disturbed however, then stress can be detrimental to performance and can lead to injury, (chronic) pain and burnout-like complaints.
You can have the best guidance in the world, but if your body isn’t able to recover from the stressor, what you’re doing will not make you better.
A better understanding of stress and relaxation will allow you to feel your body better and recognize problems at an earlier stage.


Stress has everything to do with your nervous system, and especially with the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is responsible for your ‘automatic’ processes such as digestion, breathing, organ function, etc.
You can divide the autonomic nervous system into the sympathetic part and a para-sympathetic part. The sympathetic part, also called the Freeze, Fight or Flight part, is responsible for everything that requires energy such as movement.
The parasympathetic part, also called the Rest & Digest part, is responsible for everything that creates energy so that you can recover.
Restoring the balance between stress and relaxation, sympathetic and parasympathetic activity, is the foundation of health and is at the basis of our treatment program.


In our daily lives we are constantly (over) stimulated. This often results in a constant sympathetic dominance. A constant sympathetic dominance affects a person’s physical, mental, and endocrine state and will make you susceptible to injury, pain, or burnout. A couple of symptoms of sympathetic dominance are:

  • high muscle tone, especially in the neck/shoulders and hips
  • grinding your teeth
  • high blood pressure (>125/85)
  • higher resting heart rate
  • prolonged bloating
  • digestive problems
  • difficulty losing weight
  • prolonged fatigue and lethargy
  • Disturbed breathing rhythm

If there is mental stress or burnout, in most cases there is sympathetic dominance.


Complaints to the neck can be divided into acute neck complaints and chronic neck complaints.

In order to recover and heal optimally from the stressor and/or injury, the body must be in a parasympathetic state of relaxation. The more stressors you have, the more you have to work on relaxation to create a balance.
Relaxation does not mean doing nothing.
You can do the following things to better relax and recover:

  • Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. That’s how important it is. Aim for 7-9 hours
  • Strength training. Regulated intensity strength training ensures stronger muscles and a balanced hormone balance
  • Cardio. Walking, running, cycling, rowing. You name it. A few times a week. Start with a low intensity.
  • Breathing exercises. Breathing exercises are one of the fastest tools to bring you directly to a more relaxed state.
  • Use positive words. Your thoughts and the words that you use have a major influence on how you experience a certain situation and therefore how you deal with stress.

Learning how to deal better with stress is in many cases a large part of the solution. So it’s not about THAT there is stress, but HOW you deal with it.



What often goes wrong when it comes to stress management is that people want to fight fire with fire. Had a stressful and busy day at work? Just go into the gym to train hard for an hour because ‘that clears my head’. Although the logic behind it is understandable, such an approach often backfires. You are literally burning yourself out with this.
If you’re already under stress and you’re going to add even more stress, how are you ever going to be able to recover and relax? Answer? You are not.
So you will benefit much more from training with a regulated intensity combined with focus on mobility, stretching and breathing exercises. Try that out for a few weeks and see how you feel!
Does that mean you should never train hard again? No. Absolutely not! As the balance is restored, you will also be able to train harder again. Health first! Exercise is a means for health, not the other way around.


  • If, despite the many training sessions, you increasingly suffer from (recurring) injuries

  • If you have reached a plateau and make little progress anymore

  • If you have to recover longer and longer from your training

  • If you train reluctantly


When treating stress-related complaints, it is important to look beyond the place where the pain is. Your lifestyle, nutrition, exercise and mindset are all important parts of the treatment.
Our job as physical therapists is to bring the balance back into your life and give you the tools to maintain the balance yourself.
If you have any questions about your stress-related complaint, please feel free to contact one of our therapists.
Often we can already give you useful tips that immediately reduce your complaints.

Neck / Shoulder

Neck | Shoulder



Nerve pain

Nerve | Pain


Hand | Wrist | Elbow



Upper leg / Hip

Leg | Hip



Shin / Calf

Shin | Calves

Ankle / Foot

Ankle | Foot

Sports injuries

Sports | Injury