Stress In Legs? Common Causes + 11 Tips

stress in legs

Stress in the legs can be annoying and frightening. It’s a mystery to most people how this happened.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be scared. Physical complaints due to stress are more common than you think. And often you can do something about it!

In this article I will tell you exactly why you get stress in the legs and also what you can do to stop and prevent the annoying feeling.

Purpose of this article: In this article you will discover what the symptoms of stress in the legs can be and how physical complaints are caused by stress. In addition, you will receive 11 tips on how you can best get stress out of your body without medication.

  • Stress in your legs?
  • Backache?
  • A stiff neck?
  • Cramp in your shoulders?
Man holding his neck because his muscles hurt

Your body handles small doses of stress quite well. If stress becomes chronic, it can have serious consequences for your body.

When you experience stress, your body goes into survival mode. Under the influence of stress hormones, your heart rate increases, you breathe faster and your muscles tense.

This very natural response is called the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response.

Muscle tension is therefore a very normal reaction of your body to threatening situations.

This can give an unpleasant and painful feeling, but when the stress hormones decrease, the pain also disappears.

It becomes a completely different story if you are constantly under stress.

Then the stress hormones remain in your body in large quantities, so that your muscles are in a more or less constant state of alert.

Stressed woman holding her hand to her forehead and keeping her eyes closed

Muscles have to work, but it is just as important that your muscles relax.

If this does not happen, you can suffer from stress in the legs and pain in your muscles and joints due to stress.

Pain is not the only physical discomfort that stress brings.

Can you get physical complaints from stress?

Yes, that’s possible.

Woman with stress in legs while holding her legs up on the bed

Have you been suffering from cramps in your legs or feet for a long time? Is your heart always racing? Do you have to go to the toilet more often or are you just constipated?

If you often have many physical complaints, you may not initially think that stress can be the cause. Yet this is very often the case.

#1: Palpitations

Stress palpitations are very common and can be quite intense. So intense you might think you’re having a heart attack.

This can make you so anxious that an anxiety or panic attack results.

Woman having a panic attack and holding a pillow tightly

#2: Gastrointestinal Problems

You have probably already noticed that your gastrointestinal system can be quite upset when you are under stress.

About eight percent of people even suffer from these complaints chronically. This is also known as irritable bowel syndrome.

Although a lot of studies are still being done on this subject, according to  Prof. Dr. Heiko De Schepper, specialist gastroenterology and hepatology at the University Hospital Leuven, a clear link between irritable bowel syndrome and stress.

#3: Canker sores, itching and skin conditions

Stress affects your immune system, making you more sensitive to bacteria, fungi and viruses.

In a dangerous situation, cortisol supplies energy to the body so that you can ‘fight’ or ‘flight’. But cortisol also suppresses the activity of your immune system.

Man scratching his arm because of the itching

#4: Seeing less well

You probably know the expression ‘blind with anger’. This expression did not just arise. You can indeed see less clearly from anger, fear or stress.

When you are confronted with a dangerous situation, your muscles start to tense, including the muscles and nerves in your eyes.

When the stress decreases, you will see more clearly.

However, if you are constantly under stress, the muscles in your eyes will no longer relax. The result of this is that you always see less well.

Woman trying to read a piece of paper but can't see it properly so lowers her glasses and squeezes her eyes shut

#5: Your IQ drops by 10 points

Research has shown that we can actually experience a ‘brain freeze’ when we are under stress.

Under the influence of stressful situations, your thinking gets disturbed, causing you to make bad decisions. You think in stressful situations with no less than 10 to 15 fewer IQ points.

However, chronic stress can also lead to chronic, nagging pain in all your extremities.

You may have already undergone numerous tests for that stiff neck or that back pain that just keeps going on.

Often, however, there is no physical cause at all, but it is purely chronic stress that plays tricks on you.

The letters I and Q that are in a head where the brain is located

Can you get pain from stress?

Stress and pain are often two sides of the same coin.

In the brain, all sensory stimuli are processed and compared with previous experiences.

When your brain cells recognize a previously threatening experience, all energy is immediately directed there. This also means that this energy cannot be used for other parts of your body.

The blood supply to your organs and muscles is restricted.

Man grabbing his knee in pain

If your organs do not get enough blood flow, they will not work as well. For example, your stomach can contract, resulting in stomach pain.

If your muscles and tendons do not get enough blood, they will also cramp.

You will use your tendons and muscles less because they feel stiff and painful. If you do use them, you will use them in the wrong way, which can also lead to painful joints.

dr. Howard Schubiner , director of the Center for Mental Health Medicine at Providence Hospital in Southfield, has done a lot of research into what he calls ” Mind-Body Syndrome .”

Neuropharmacologist Candace Pert, who died in 2013, also devoted decades to the relationship between stress and pain in the body.

She already came to the same conclusion in her 2007 study The Physics of Emotion : “The feeling that arises in our head is translated into chemical compounds that are released elsewhere in the body. All organs, tissues, muscles, glands and even our skin have protein receptors and the ability to store emotional information.”

Woman examining with test tubes

To go through life with less pain, it is very important to remove all stress from your body.

Does this sound easier said than done? I understand that: we just live in a society where a lot is expected of us.

Yet it is possible to get all the pent up stress out of your body.

How do you get stress out of your body? 10 tips

Tip 1: Move – move – move

Exercise is very important to avoid stress.

It may seem contradictory, but physical exertion can relieve stress in your muscles and joints.

Woman running with earphones in with music on

The benefits are greatest if you exercise regularly. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience stress than those who don’t exercise.

There are a few reasons for this:

stress hormones

Exercise lowers the level of stress hormones in your body.

It also helps to release endorphins. This neurotransmitter acts as a natural pain reliever and improves your mood.

Stress hormones that can cause stress in legs


You probably know that you sleep worse when you are under stress.

Exercise makes you tired and clears your head, so you can sleep better.

Self confidence

When you exercise regularly, you will feel more powerful and radiate more self-confidence.

Tip 2: Immerse yourself in mindfulness

A recent study of college students found that mindfulness helps to increase self-esteem, which in turn reduces the physical symptoms of anxiety and stress.

Woman meditating on the beach as the sun sets

Mindfulness means being fully aware of the present experience and the present moment.

One of the most famous mindfulness gurus of our time is Eckhart Tolle. He argues that once you can rise above your thoughts or external circumstances, you can access a deeper dimension of yourself that will make your life less stressful.

Tip 3: Reduce your caffeine consumption

Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate, soft drinks and energy drinks.

People have different thresholds for how much caffeine they can tolerate.

If you are a ‘die hard’ coffee drinker, then you can have some coffee before you experience stress. However, this doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

In combination with stressful situations, you can get serious complaints.

Coffee cup with coffee beans around it

Tip 4: Say ‘no’ more often and be assertive

Not all stressors are under your control, but some are.

Take control of the things in your life that are causing you stress and that aren’t that hard to change.

Saying ‘no’ more often and being more assertive will go a long way in avoiding stress.

Tip 5: Avoid procrastination

Another way to manage stress is to keep an eye on your priorities and not procrastinate.

Man turning off his alarm while lying in bed

By procrastinating, you act reactively, which means you have to catch up. You’ve probably noticed that feeling rushed can be a huge source of stress.

Get into the habit of making a to-do list and prioritize your tasks. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work through your list consistently.

Work on the things that need to be done today and give yourself some free time too.

Tip 6: Autogenic training

There are several techniques for overcoming stress.

However, a fairly recent study conducted by the German psychotherapists Friedhelm Stetter and Sirko Kupper shows that autogenic training is one of the better techniques.

In autogenic training, you suggest specific sensations in certain parts of your body.

Autogenic training can help you in two ways.

  • The better you have your body under control, the less tense your nerves are, which means you experience less pain.
  • If you practice autogenic training often enough, it can help you relax in stressful situations.

The video below shows how autogenic training works.

Tip 7: Spend time with family and friends

Support from friends and family can help get through stressful times.

Research has shown that spending time with friends and children, especially in women, helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever.

This effect is called the ‘tend and befriend response’ and is the opposite of the ‘fight or flight response’.

But men can also benefit from close friendships.

Tip 8: Smile more often

Laughing when you’re under stress may not be the first reaction that comes to mind. Still, laughing is a very efficient way to combat stress.

Woman smiling broadly while the sun shines on her face
  • Your muscles will relax.
  • Your general mood improves.
  • In the long run, laughter is also good for your immune system.

It doesn’t matter what you laugh at and how you laugh.

Playing pranks on family members, hanging out with friends who make you laugh or watching a funny TV show, it’s all possible.

Tip 9: Cuddle with others

You probably know the wonderful feeling of a hug. That intense feeling of connection immediately releases all stress from your body.

Two men giving each other a big hug

By the way, have you ever wondered why this is so?

The answer lies in the fact that positive physical contact helps the body release oxytocin and remove cortisol.

This causes your blood pressure to drop and your heart rate to slow down, both symptoms of chronic stress.

By the way, did you know that not only people hug to relieve stress? Research shows  that chimpanzees are also stressed!

Tip 10: Watch your breathing

One of the most efficient tools for managing stress is something you involuntarily carry with you every second of the day: your breath.

Woman standing outside and taking a deep breath

If you are often under stress, you have probably noticed that your breathing is very shallow, which can cause you to hyperventilate.

Belly breathing is the most natural way of breathing and keeps stress under control.

Learn how to breathe best with your belly in the video below.

At the beginning of this article, I asked you to find out where you feel pain.

Now that we’ve come to the end of this article, I’m asking you to do this again.

Do you still feel stress in your legs or pain in your muscles and joints due to stress or do you feel that you are less tense in front of your screen?

Woman lying on the couch with her hands around her stomach and she is curled up

Don’t you feel it yet? Don’t panic, it’s perfectly normal to still feel tense.

You won’t get rid of the stress that your body has built up over the weeks, months or years.

That is why it is important to occasionally reflect on the previous tips and to practice regularly.

Tip 11: Use the Stress-Free Secret to stop stress in the legs

So! This is everything you need to know about the development of stress in the legs.

As you have read, you can get physical complaints from stress... and you have also read how you can reduce pain in your legs due to stress.

Woman touching her legs slowly

But of course you are looking for a long-term solution to remedy complaints caused by stress.

The good news is that a solution has recently been discovered to get to grips with stress .

You reverse it using one method. It’s what I call ‘The Stress-Free Secret ‘. Start now with the free Stress test below to map the seriousness of your complaints.



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