Forty-three percent of all adults suffer from adverse health effects caused from stress. When we talk about stress caused by back pain it is not only limited to physical stress. Mental and emotional stress can be just as damaging as lifting and twisting to can be to your back. Short term, the tension created by emotional stress can give you a backache; in the long term, it can set you up for a serious back injury.
Stress causes the body to release stress hormones that increases the sensitivity of pain. These hormones have a tendency to tighten up your muscles leading to muscle spasms. The blood flow then reduces due to the tension and leads to the increase of acidic wastes causing weakness and pain. This is like a garden hose with a twist in it, making the flow to be constricted or even cut off by the twist or tense muscles. When you neck and body are not getting the right amount of blood flow they let you know with pain. When the muscles tighten up it causes the back to be more vulnerable to injury. It is very important to keep that in mind when you are stressed so that you can avoid any further injury. Thus, many of us tend to hold our emotions and stress in our muscles, which results in severe back pain.
In many circumstances the MRI shows a bulging disc or degenerative disc disease when really stress is the actual cause to your back pain. The general characteristics of stress-related back pain include the following symptoms:
- Back pain and/or neck pain
- Sleep disturbance and fatigue
- Muscle tender points
- Diffuse muscle aches
- Patients complain of the pain to be “moving around”
Recognize Your Stress & Learn To Relieve Stress
When you are feeling stressed it's important to find a way to calm down and avoid it. Here are some tips to recognizing stress and avoiding it.
- Make sure to get enough sleep. Proper sleep can help you cope with stress.
- Be active! Being active can decrease your stress levels so make exercise a priority in your life.
- Make time to relax. Try different relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing and meditation. Once you have learned these techniques you can do them daily.
- Try massage and or aromatherapy spa treatments to help relieve your stress.
- Don’t over do it and make sure you are not doing too much at once. Find a balance.
- Know your limits and don’t be afraid to say no to troublesome and stressful commitments.
- Watch what you eat. Choose nourishing foods and stay away from coffee, cola and other drinks that do little to reduce your stress.
Stress is a very important factor to your back pain. You may not be able to control all of your life's stressors, but don't let everyday demands affect your health. Try the different techniques above to help prevent neck and back pain.