Every three in ten Americans suffers some form of extreme stress according to the figures released by the American Psychological Association. Now that’s distressing! Even more disturbing is the fact that stress can cause and complicate back pain.
While anxiety is not one of the major causes of back pain, its effects are worrying. In most cases, stress-related back pain is continuous and may render you infective in almost every aspect of your life.
To understand how to deal with back pain brought about by stress, you must start by analyzing how anxiety causes back pain.
You’re likely to suffer from stress-related back pain if;
You’re Not Exercising Enough
Stress increases muscle tension which in turn amplifies the intensity of pain. Your back contains an assortment of muscles that become tense when you’re anxious. It’s not surprising, therefore, that you’re likely to experience lower and upper back pain when you’re stressed.
In fact, most massage therapists say that stressed clients often have knots in their muscles more so in the upper back and shoulders.
What to Do
If inactivity or lack of enough exercise is the cause of your back pain, you need to get mobile. Embark on a regular exercise regimen to help reduce pain. And, it doesn’t have to be a rigorous schedule. At times, all you need to do to reduce muscle tension is to jog every morning or do some light exercises at home.
The most important thing to remember here is that you should seek to strengthen your back with the exercises. Be moderate with your routine, lest you injure your back.
Bad Night’s Sleep
Stress affects your ability to sleep. Repeated studies show that you’re likely to experience what is known as muscoskeletal pain as a result of non-restorative sleep. Plus, your sleeping position may aggravate the pain.
Even though it feels comfortable, sleeping on your stomach can lead to back pain. In this position, your spine bends, and because there’s no enough support, the muscles around it start to ache. Sleeping on your back may also result in irritation of the tissues, more so if the spine isn’t correctly aligned.
What to Do
Start by getting enough sleep. That way, the sore muscles and your entire body can recover from stress. Also, become a better sleeper. Consider placing a pillow under your lower abdomen and pelvis area to align your spine if you’re a stomach sleeper.
Place a pillow under your knees to ensure that your spine stays in its natural curve. In simpler terms, the quality of your sleep directly affects how your body feels.
Stress and anxiety can make you change your behaviors and posture such as the way you sit or what you do when you sit. When your posture changes, your muscles become tense which then leads to back pain.
What to Do
Be very mindful of your posture. Fitness experts recommend that when you sit, make sure that you keep your ears over your shoulders. Also, your shoulder should be over your hips and the hips directly over your ankles.
Another problem related to stress is hypersensitivity. Research shows that stressed individuals are likely to experience physical sensations in comparison to those without anxiety. In effect, mild back pain – the type of pain that won’t affect your performance – becomes more severe and harder to tolerate.
Plus, the pain may get worse as you try to adjust your body into a comfortable position.
What to Do
Take over-the-counter painkillers to reduce the aches. It is worth noting that even though your back pain is stress related medications such as Tylenol have particular ingredients to deal will pain. Back pain is like any other type of pain so taking drugs will indeed be helpful.
Other Remedies for Stress-related Back Pain
Sure, you can use medication to reduce the intensity of back pain. Nonetheless, this option is only ideal when the pain is somewhat intolerable. However, you’re better off with natural remedies unless in very extreme cases. These include;
- Massage – A deep massage will help reduce pain and stress. It is a great way to work out the tender muscles as long as you do it on a regular basis.
- Concentrate on what you’re doing. Also, don’t juggle jobs. The idea here is to stay focused on one task at a time.
- Eat a healthy diet. Try to relax and eat while seated. Limit your intake of caffeine and don’t smoke.
- Interact with your family and friends as a way to counter stress
Life comes with its fair share of daily struggles. When there’s too much to handle, stress kicks in and ultimately affects your overall well-being. If your back pain is stress-related, the number one thing to do is to deal with the cause. Try to reduce stressful moments which in turn translate to manageable back pain.