That twinge of pain in your lower back may not be from sleeping wrong or pulling a muscle. It could very well be from stress.
If you’re stressed out all the time and the pain in your back is on-going, know that there’s a link between the two.
What Does Stress Have To Do With Your Back?
When stress comes, the body releases nerve chemicals and hormones that can affect how your body functions. You may experience issues with your digestive and reproductive systems, plus your immunity is often lowered, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Unlike acute stress that occurs suddenly, the type of stress that can aggravate back pain stems from day-to-day issues that never seem to end. It can elevate your blood pressure and make your muscles tense, says the National Institutes of Health.
Dealing With Stress
Fortunately, there are ways to deal with the inevitable stressors of life, which could help with the pain and discomfort in your back, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
1. Take care of yourself
It’s easy to ignore your own well-being when you’re distracted by so many other things. Eating well and exercising often fall by the wayside when you’re stressed out. But that can cause weight gain.
Being overweight is associated with back pain because it adds pressure to joints in your back, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. A proper diet and exercise can keep the extra pounds off. Exercise will also strengthen those back muscles.
2. Talk to someone about your feelings
Talking to friends is great, but sometimes people benefit more from seeking professional counseling for stress that just seems too overwhelming. Seventy-five percent of people who get psychotherapy see a positive change in their lives, according to the American Psychological Association.
3. Don’t do drugs or drink alcohol
While drugs and alcohol may seem to help when you’re overwhelmed, it can actually become an even bigger issue, especially when you need a certain substance just to feel relaxed. Choosing healthier ways to deal with stress—like exercise and counseling—are much better.
4. Take a break from the stress
Sometimes people need to remove themselves from stress altogether. That could mean reserving a weekend, a day—or even just a few hours—where you unplug from the rest of the world. Turn off the tv, the phone, the laptop and just focus on doing something that you enjoy. That could even mean taking a short vacation to clear your head from stressful thoughts.
5. Address the root of the problem
There are times when people are stressed about issues that can be fixed. That means planning how to make a change. If poor finances are the problem, set up a budget that can put you in a better financial position or seek advice from a financial adviser or a friend who seems to be doing great with personal finance.
If your job is the source of your stress, then it might be time to plot your next move. That could mean talking to your boss about making changes or changing jobs altogether.
Regardless of the source, if you can clearly identify how to alleviate stress, then the next step is to take action. In the meantime, if your back pain continues, one of Mountain View’s orthopedic specialists can work with you to manage your pain.