When you think of stress you probably think about the usual suspects like agitation, stomach upset, and headaches, but did you know it can affect your back as well? Yes, you can carry stress in your lower back!
It’s true. Stress can cause many physical symptoms and lower back pain is a very common one.
If your back is bothering you and you are experiencing a lot of stress lately, the two could be connected. In fact, it is very likely that they are. Add to that the pressures of holiday stress that tends to start this time of year, and you have a recipe for high tension that can cause pain and a variety of other symptoms.
But if your stress has you grabbing your aching back, here’s what you need to know.
How Does Stress Cause Back Pain?
While stress may feel like a mental issue, your body must process it and that is done physically. The human body has many different stress reactions that are physical and chemical. These responses are designed to protect your body – and keep you alive.
When you are stressed, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol, two vital hormones that are connected to survival instincts such as the flight, fight, or freeze response. These hormones cause the muscles to involuntarily tighten and the most common areas where this occurs are the shoulders, neck, and spine. When this tension is prolonged and is not relieved, the result can be back pain, especially in the lower back.
You may feel tightness in your shoulders, your neck may feel stiff, and your lower back may feel stiff and achy.
The good news is, you don’t have to live with it.
How to Ease Lower Back Pain Caused by Stress
The first thing to do when you have back pain is to find out what is causing it. You treat an injury to your back differently than you would a backache caused by stress.
Alternating ice and heat can help a lot. Use a cold compress on the achy area of your back and alternate with heat for about 15 minutes 4 times a day.
Some gentle stretching can help and walking is important. If you stay down and don’t move it will prolong the pain and you will be stiff. You don’t have to do anything spectacular, just walk a little and do some light stretching. You want to be kind to your muscles but you also don’t want to leave them alone so they get tighter and more painful.
Also, find a way to relax. Counseling can help, but there are other ways to ease your stress, depending on what is going on. Some common stress areas are disorganization, poor time management, and people-pleasing. It takes some work, but you can overcome these and learn how to manage these issues better, thus reducing your stress. Consider breathing exercises or even Neurofeedback Therapy.
Chiropractic Care is the One-Two Punch to Reduce Stress and Ease Back Pain
Chiropractic care is an excellent way to get pain relief and address other areas where your body is holding stress. At Sandstone we offer low-impact, gentle chiropractic care to our patients with a focus on a whole-body approach to wellness.
Studies have shown that chiropractic is an exceptional pain management technique and works as well as over-the-counter pain medications – often better. Chiropractic gets to the root of the issue, addressing more than just the symptoms for long-lasting relief. Our doctors will talk to you about lifestyle choices and other things in your life that could be impacting your pain and help you find ways to manage those things better.
Chiropractic is safe and effective. And for many, it is absolutely vital for their physical and mental health.
If you are experiencing pain or have tension-induced pain, you don’t have to live with it. Call Sandstone Chiropractic today or schedule a consultation online to find out how our chiropractic services can help you.