Stress and health are very closely related. A human being can be seen as an intricate and wholesome system of balance. The state we are in when we don't feel unwanted pressure outlines the comfort zone. When additional pressure comes to affect us, we can react in three basic ways: we can resist, we can avoid, or we can let through and adapt.
When we resist, we try to match the external pressure by producing internal pressure. This is the common state of stress, and it is the most damaging way to react, since we are basically multiplying the pressure we place ourselves in. This makes our healthy balance rigid, inflexible - and prone to breaking. Emotional, mental and physical health become affected by this process.
The conscious component of stress is very important: in most cases we assume the state of stress voluntarily, and sometimes get lost in it. Our health is impacted by stress only as much as we let it.
Don't resist; let through. With this simple attitude change the damage to balance caused by stress can be minimized.
Stress and pain
Unlike the local pain we feel when we physically hurt ourselves, the pain associated with stress is more dull, blunt and seems to affect us everywhere.
Pain is most of the time a sign for immediate danger. If you burn your hand, prick your finger with a needle or fall and hurt your knee because were daydreaming and didn't notice that big rock ahead, pain is your body's way of saying "Hey, pay attention here, take care and make sure the it doesn't get worse!"
With stress related pain the situation is different, it's more like the body's way of telling the conscious mind "Anybody there? What the fuck are you doing?" Prolonged stress turns the body's own strength against itself, because it is constantly preparing for a danger - yet the danger never comes because it's not physical. When mental or emotional stress goes unresolved for a longer period of time, it takes it's toll on the physical body, and as the toll grows higher vaguely defined pain appears and demands attention.
Dealing with the pain caused by stress instead of the cause of the stress is very much a downward spiral.