Stress and the Body’s Physical Response

Stress and the Body’s Physical Response

At Romer, we talk a lot about self-care and identifying approaches to combat burnout and stress. We recently caught up with Michele Schultz, a physical therapist with React Physical Therapy in Chicago to discuss stress and the body’s physical response! Check out her comments below.


“Our bodies are well equipped to handle stress in small doses, but when that stress becomes long-term or chronic, it can have serious effects on your body.

When the body is stressed, muscles tense up. Muscle tension is almost a reflex reaction to stress—the body’s way of guarding against injury and pain.

With sudden onset stress, the muscles tense up all at once, and then release their tension when the stress passes. However, chronic stress causes the muscles in the body to be in a more or less constant state of guardedness. When muscles are taut and tense for long periods of time, this may trigger other reactions of the body.

Relaxation techniques and other stress-relieving activities and therapies have been shown to effectively reduce muscle tension, decrease the incidence of certain stress-related disorders, and increase a sense of well-being. Stress-relieving activities have also been shown to improve mood and daily function.

Luckily, we now understand much more about effective strategies for reducing stress responses. Such beneficial strategies include:

  • Maintaining a healthy social support network
  • Engaging in regular physical exercise
  • Getting an adequate amount of sleep each night

These approaches have important benefits for physical and mental health and form critical building blocks for a healthy lifestyle. As a licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy and movement expert, I can help you identify the challenges and stressors that affect your daily life and find ways to help to improve your overall physical and mental well-being through movement.”


Michele Schultz received her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign and Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from University of Illinois – Chicago.

Michele has always been a sports enthusiast, participating in competitive soccer, gymnastics, and softball from a young age. Today, she continues to play these sports recreationally, as well as enjoying personal fitness through various yoga, barre, spin, and HIIT classes. In her free time, she enjoys exploring all that Chicago has to offer and surrounding herself with friends and family.

Michele is dedicated to helping her patients by incorporating ideals of overall wellness and function to address each individual’s unique goals in returning to their everyday life activities. She is committed to having patients feel empowered and involved in their rehabilitation through education and partnership.

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