It may not be surprising to you that back pain can cause stress. But did you know that stress can be a primary cause of back pain? Financial worries, long workdays, and everyday pressures often result in feelings of stress – it’s hard to avoid! But when we don’t get our high stress levels under control, this psychological issue can affect our bodies physically, often resulting in neck or back pain.
If you’ve ever come home from a hard day at work and noticed tightness in your neck and shoulders, you are not alone. Many people hold their emotional stress in their muscles, resulting in tightness that can become extremely painful when left untreated.
When we are stressed, our muscles often tense up and constrict our blood vessels, restricting blood flow. That lack of proper blood supply activates a signal to the brain that something is wrong, marked as discomfort or pain. Our bodies are equipped to handle the discomfort that results from occasional stress. However, it is not equipped to handle chronic stress. The longer that blood flow to the muscles is restricted, the weaker muscles become leaving our bodies vulnerable to injury.
Stress related pain can be difficult to heal due to its cyclical nature. What happens in the brain affects the body and what happens in the body affects the brain. While stress may be the root cause of your back pain, that pain will now likely cause additional stress to your life as you try to deal with the pain. As long as you continue to allow stress to affect your emotional well-being, the longer you will experience its painful side effects.
The key to pain relief starts with stress relief. While you may not be able to avoid stress completely, you can learn how to cope with it. Incorporating exercise into your schedule is a great way to decrease stress levels. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and adjust your daily routine so it includes down time. Life is all about balance, and the more balanced it is the less likely you are to suffer from excessive stress. It’s important to keep our bodies healthy – both physically and psychologically!