The Stress of Urban Living and Autonomic Nerve Pain

The Stress of Urban Living and Autonomic Nerve Pain

Living and working in a bustling metropolis offers endless opportunities for work, business, art, entertainment and social life. But urban living has its downsides. Constant noise, round-the-clock activity, environmental toxins, workplace stress and health concerns all take their toll, contributing to chronic stress that affects physical and mental health.

Chronic stress can cause the autonomic nervous system to become hyper-sensitized, sending pain signals to your brain where no injury exists. Learn about how the stresses of urban living impact your health, and how NESA neuromodulation therapy can help.

How Stress Impacts Your Autonomic Nervous System

The nerves throughout your body operate by electrical impulses that send messages back and forth between your body and your brain. Your autonomic nervous system is especially important because it regulates involuntary physiologic functions such as heart rhythms, blood pressure, respiration, digestion, and reproductive performance.

When you are perpetually exposed to physical or psychological stress, or both, your stress response system kicks in to evaluate and help manage real or perceived dangers. The mechanisms that integrate your brain and body become engaged, to process and interpret stressors.

To restore homeostasis — the body’s ideal state of balance — energy is mobilized, the immune system goes into overdrive, metabolic changes occur, and the digestive and reproductive systems are suppressed. The immune system triggers a pro-inflammatory response that causes changes in the excitability of cells, and in the plasticity of neurons and synapses.

Under conditions of a single stress-induced episode, these mechanisms are able to successfully restore homeostasis, and the body returns to its normal non-stressed state. But when stress is relentless and ongoing, the stress response endures, and prolonged physiologic changes begin to cause health issues.

A broad range if metabolic issues have been associated with chronic stress, including:

How Stress Impacts Your Autonomic Nervous System
  • Heart disease

  • Asthma

  • Obesity

  • Diabetes

  • Headaches

  • Depression and anxiety

  • Gastrointestinal problems

  • Dementia

In addition, chronic stress can cause the autonomic nervous system to become hyper-sensitized to the point where it sends pain signals to the brain in disproportion to actual structural damage to the body.

Autonomic Nervous System Dysfunction

Chronic stress can spark your autonomic nervous system to become hyper-sensitized, causing it to send inaccurate information to your brain that is out of sync with what is actually going on in your body.

Symptoms of many pain syndromes and conditions are exaggerated by a hyper-stimulated autonomic nervous system, including:

  • TMJ

  • sciatica

  • back and neck pain

  • shoulder pain

  • thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS)

  • pelvic pain

  • non-cardiac chest pain

  • fibromyalgia

Autonomic Nervous System Dysfunction

Patients are often baffled and frustrated when MRI imaging fails to reveal structural damage that correlates with their level of perceived pain. And until recently, doctors had no idea how to treat the autonomic nervous system.

NESA Neuromodulation to Treat Autonomic Nerve Disorders

Technological advances have profoundly affected every industry, and rehabilitative medicine is no exception. From diagnostic tools that quantify baseline parameters to regenerative technologies that stimulate healing, technology has been a game changer for patients suffering from physical pain and dysfunction.

NESA neuromodulation is a new non-invasive technology that leverages the body’s own electrical pathways by delivering patented intelligent microcurrents through low impedance areas of the body. The microcurrents are sent via 24 semi-electrodes, attached at the distal nerve endings of the hands and feet. NESA generates an electrical algorithm in a series of intermittent and cyclical stimuli. The electrical stimulus travels through autonomic neural pathways, calming hyper-sensitized nerves and restoring optimal neural signaling to the brain.

When delivered by a trained clinician, NESA neuromodulation is completely safe and non-invasive. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts can benefit from NESA therapy to promote recovery from intense training, accelerate injury healing, and enhance physical performance.

But you don’t need to be an athlete to benefit from NESA neuromodulation. People with chronic stress, sleep disorders and pain syndromes can reap the benefits of NESA to restore optimal health.

NESA Neuromodulation to Treat Autonomic Nerve Disorders

Benefits of NESA therapy include:

  • Relief of chronic and neuropathic pain

  • Accelerated recovery from injuries

  • Reduced muscle fatigue

  • Improved sleep quality

  • Reduced stress and anxiety

  • Improved focus and proprioception

NESA therapy is quick and painless, and the patient is fully clothed during treatment. Patients can schedule a NESA session before or after work, or during their lunch break, to eradicate the negative effects of stress and restore physical and psychological balance.

NESA Neuromodulation in Manhattan, NYC

Physical therapy clinics in Manhattan are a-dime-a-dozen, but very few offer personalized diagnosis and treatment based on measurable parameters. At NYDNRehab, we are constantly on the lookout for new technologies that can improve our patients’ quality of life. We are one of the few private clinics in the United States to offer NESA neuromodulation.

Patients often go from one specialist to the next, hoping to resolve their pain and dysfunction, with unsatisfactory results. The advanced technologies and one-on-one treatment approach at NYDNRehab set us apart from other clinics. We are dedicated to getting to the source of your pain and resolving it. Contact NYDNRehab today, and get rid of your pain for good, so you can get back to doing the things you love.


Godoy, Lívea Dornela, et al. “A comprehensive overview on stress neurobiology: basic concepts and clinical implications.” Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience 12 (2018): 127.

Medina-Ramírez, Raquel Irina, et al. “Nesa Non-Invasive Neuromodulation; A New Frontier of Treatment of the Autonomus Nervous System in Physiotherapy.” CPQ Orthopaedics (2021).


In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)


Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)


Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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