Stress And Lower Back Pain
The extremely powerful relationship between stress and lower back pain cannot be overstated.
Surely youve felt that less tension would be a very welcome thing, right?
But what is the actual impact on the body? And more specifically, what role does this force play in causing lower back pain?
One of the central effects, whether its anxiety at the office or tension at home, can be chronic contraction of the musculature of the body.
The body responds to these forces with a hormonal response called fight or flight in which the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system becomes active.
When this type of stimulus is present, the body instinctively readies itself for action. Adrenaline surges into the blood and the muscles prepare themselves for fight or flight.
Take the Stress Level Quiz…
What Is The Lower Back Muscle
There are three main muscle groups in the lower back: the extensors, flexors, and the iliopsoas muscle. Attached to the spine by soft tissues called tendons, these muscles control the movement of the back, supporting the spine and allowing it to stand, bend, twist, walk and move in different directions.
Back Pain Got You Stressed Out Or Does Stress Got Your Back Going Out
The health and strength of your lower back area is absolutely fundamental to your bodys overall health and strength, as its a key support area.
Many people fall into the trap of thinking that back pain will only be a problem for us if we dont take care when we are lifting heavy objects, or if we contract some disease or condition that affects the bones or muscles in that area. But, low back pain has many causes and one of these is stress. Stress, in fact, can be considered the silent cause of low back pain, and is often overlooked when trying to determine the cause of someones back woes.
It should be mentioned that not all stress is bad, but we are facing increases in both emotional and psychological stress, and only recently has medical science been looking at the link between stress and the physical effect on low back pain. Back pain can be either initiated by, or worsened by, emotional and psychological factors. The pain is very real and has all the limiting and debilitating effects of pain caused by mechanical or physiological factors. Stress can release hormones that cause blood vessels to constrict and reduce blood flow to muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves in that area, starving them of nutrients and oxygen and increasing build up of biochemical waste products. This can manifest itself in muscle tension and then back pain.
Don’t Miss: What Are Signs Of Post Traumatic Stress
The Most Common Causes Of Lower Back Pain Are A Strain Or Sprain
Whether you notice it or not, your lumbar spine gets put to work throughout the entire day.
Amid all of this work and motion, a lower back sprain or strain can result from an acute injury, such as one experienced while falling, lifting something too heavy or playing sports. A sprain or strain can also develop over time due to repetitive movements or poor posture.
“Straining a muscle or spraining a ligament are the most common causes of lower back pain,” says Dr. Palmer. “While they can be serious, these common causes of lower back pain aren’t long-lasting taking anywhere from a few days to heal or, at most, a few months.”
Your doctor can help you determine the particular course of self-care that can help heal your lower back pain.
“The treatment for a pulled back muscle or strained back ligament is fairly simple and can include pain and anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxers, ice to help reduce inflammation, heat to promote healing, and avoiding strenuous activity until the pain recedes,” explains Dr. Palmer. “The best course of care will depend on the severity of your injury as well as your overall core and lower body strength.”
If your lower back pain persists despite treatment, it may be time to consider other causes of lower back pain.
Treating Chronic Back Pain And Depression Comprehensively
There is a treatment for back pain and depression at the same time. Be that as it may, its vital that the medical professional you are working with knows both depression and lower back pain are present so that they can come up with the appropriate plan.
If you only tell them that you are depressed, they may provide prescription medication to alter your mood and suggest counseling, not knowing that your back is keeping you from living your life. Then, when things arent getting any better due to a lack of both a prescription medication for back pain and depression, it can be highly confusing for everyone.
Instead, there need to be several different treatments included in the plan to ensure the best results. Some appropriate treatments for depression include:
- antidepressant medications
When comparing depression and back pain treatment, you can quickly see similar treatment options for both problems. For example, regular exercise and a proper diet. Moreover, depression, back pain, and sleep are also related, as sleep is used to treat both conditions.
These mutual treatment options should be implemented first, and then if additional help is needed, the others can be added in. Its always recommended to start with the least invasive method to reduce the risk of side effects and other issues.
You May Like: Can Stress Cause Eczema Breakouts
So How Do I Find Out If I Have A Stress Fracture
As noted above there is a few symptoms that we may look for of we believe you have a stress fracture. If there is any concern of one then you will likely need a scan to check for it. X-rays show stress fracture but only very late in the natural course of the injury.
Consequently your physiotherapist or GP or Sports Dr may refer you for a CT scan which shows bones in far greater detail, or an MRI which can show bony bruising. Often this bony bruising is a response to increased load on a bone. Bone scans are used less frequently these days since MRIs have become so detailed
Learning And Neural Remodeling In Chronic Stress And Chronic Pain
The hippocampus is active during acute stress, but rarely seen active during acute pain in humans. An intact hippocampus is important during acquisition of fear conditioning and association of context with stimuli that necessitates decision-making such as finding food or avoiding pain. In addition, the hippocampus contributes to contextual fear extinction., It contains glucocorticoid receptors, projects to the hypothalamus, and is thought to down-regulate the response to stress., Neurogenesis persists in the adult mammalian hippocampus and contributes to learning and memory. In humans, chronic pain and stress-related psychiatric disorders have been associated with shrinkage of the hippocampal volume.,,, Vachon-Presseau et al. demonstrated that hippocampal volume is inversely correlated to elevated basal cortisol levels in CBP patients but not in matched healthy control arguing for a stress model of chronic pain centered on the hippocampus. Interestingly, smaller hippocampal volume predicts the risk of persistence of back pain after three years of a new episode of sub-acute back pain , and is present in individuals at risk for PTSD and depression.,
Don’t Miss: How To Not Stress About Everything
How Does Psychological Stress Cause Back Pain
Your body tends to interpret stressful emotions as a physical emergency. This causes your heart to beat faster, your blood pressure to rise, and a release of various hormones that prepare you for flight or fight when faced with stressful situations.
Your muscles, especially those in your back, abdomen, arms, and legs, also respond to this bodywide alert by tensing in preparation for quick movement. Once the stress passes, these physical reactions level off and return to normal.
Unfortunately, many people experience ongoing stress related to work concerns, worry over the future, relationship issues, and other concerns.
Because your body reacts to anxiety over your bills in the same way it responds to fear linked to physical danger, chronic stress can keep your muscles persistently tense and tight. This eventually causes pain.
Sometimes even the anxiety over experiencing another bout of back pain after recovering from an injury can lead to muscle tightness that results in discomfort.
Can Lower Back Pain Be Related To Weather
If you feel like your lower back pain worsens on days when its cold or the weather is changing, you are not imagining things. Back pain can indeed be related to barometric pressure and outdoor temperature. Changes in pressure can sometimes cause pain in arthritic joints, including the spine. Muscles and joints in general react to the environment, which can make them stiffer and more likely to suffer an injury.
Also Check: How To Manage Stress In College
Physical Therapy For Lower Back
Specific abdominal strengthening such as squats, crunches, abdominal machines and leg raises. Lower back exercises, which can be performed on machines or simply lie on your stomach and slowly lift your chest off the floor. This exercise uses your lower back muscles to stretch your spine.
Lower body dumbbell workoutWhat are the best exercises for lower body? When doing exercises to strengthen your lower body, focus on exercises that target your calves, quads, hamstrings and glutes. Some of these that work multiple muscles in the lower body include barbell squats, morning exercises, lunges, and deadlifts.What is the best all dumbbell workout?Sit on a pair of dumbbells and grab them with a grip above your head. Stand u
How To Care For Your Back Pain
If you are experiencing chronic lower back inflammation or pain, make an appointment with your doctor. A physical examination, as well as a review of your medical history and current symptoms, will help them make the right diagnosis. You should also let your doctor know if you think that stress is contributing to your discomfort. This will help in customizing your treatment plan to include stress relief activities and relaxation techniques.
Another way to care for your back pain is through what is known as photobiomodulation therapy . This cutting-edge therapy is one of the best ways for you to get relief from symptoms of lower back pain. Devices with PBMT technology are able to penetrate the skin and modulate pain and inflammation, without the use of pharmaceuticals or invasive treatments.
You should give laser therapy a try today if you are seeking a new solution to your discomfort. Everyone deserves to find a pain relief plan that works for them. Stress relief techniques in combination with laser therapy may be the solution to relieving your moderate aches, inflammation, or muscle spasms.
Also Check: Why Do I Get Stressed Out Easily
Anxiety Therapy To Relieve Back Pain
If you are having difficulty containing your worry about your back pain symptoms, you may want to connect with one of our recommended anxiety disorder therapists. Working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to overcome problematic anxiety, and especially, what seems like unmanageable worry.
Can Depression Cause Aches And Pains And Vice Versa
If you have never experienced chronic pain before, its a severe case of aches and discomfort that lasts much longer than it should typically take for the body to heal.
For example, when you hurt your back, it should take a couple of weeks at most for things to steadily get better before the problem is completely gone. However, that pain sometimes lingers without getting better at all for several weeks, months, or even years, as is the case if you have degenerative arthritis. The condition can even come and go during that period, but as long as the same issue comes back consistently, it is considered chronic pain.
But does chronic pain cause depression?
For those that have dealt with this type of pain before, you know how absolutely frustrating it can be on a daily basis. You wake up in the morning hoping to feel refreshed and reenergized, only to find out that your body still isnt doing any better than the day before. Youre stuck in this position of not being able to perform your daily activities such as:
- sitting or standing for extended periods
- completing routine tasks
How are depression and pain related? When your body isnt performing like its supposed to, or like it used to, especially if you are someone that is usually very physically active, there is no way that you can stop it from altering your mood. For the first few weeks or even months, you may be able to work past the way you are feeling inside.
Some of the most common reasons for depression are:
You May Like: How To Un Stress Yourself
When Should I See A Doctor If I Have Lower Back Pain
In many cases lower back pain stops on its own. But if it doesnt, here are some guidelines on when you may want to start seeking professional help:
- If the pain lasts four weeks or longer
- If the pain keeps getting worse as time goes by
- If you are experiencing other symptoms, such as fever, major weight loss or weight gain, loss of function or weakness in extremities, bladder problems, etc.
What Are Some Good Stretches For Your Lower Back
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Bring one knee to your chest and place your other foot on the floor. Keep your lower back flat on the floor for 15 to 30 seconds. Then lower your knee and repeat with the other leg. Do this 2 to 4 times with each leg. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
Recommended Reading: Can I Sue Someone For Emotional Stress
Adaptation To Exercise In Therapy
Exercises of the trunk muscles are involved in state-of-the-art treatments in the prevention and therapy of low back pain . Motor control exercises , including balancing and strengthening elements, are especially appropriate for improvement in neuromuscular control, strength, and kinematics of the trunk muscles and spine balance during changing mechanical disruptions. However, reviews show that sensory-motor training or other exercises types are not inevitably related to a prolonged pain or disability reduction. An adequate explanation for this has not yet been found.
What Emotion Causes Lower Back Pain
If a person is worried or anxious, hormones chemicals that impact the function of our organs, like our kidneys and adrenal glands, growth, and our readiness for fight or flight, are triggered and released. These chemicals can contribute to an elevated state of inflammation or irritation in our bodies. The nerves that carry information about sensations such as pressure, vibration, pain, heat, and cold also can become hyper-sensitive, a state that is referred to as central sensitization. When nerves are sensitized, a person may feel the sensation of pain when there is seemingly no physical source or reason.
Pain science is incredibly complex. Along with the chemical irritation to nerve endings, pain often leads to a change in how much and the manner in which we move. Immobility can compound the sensation of pain by limiting normal circulation, joint and tissue nutrition that happens as we move. So that leads us to the question, can stress cause back pain? Stress is a normal part of everyday life. When our nervous system is in a heightened state of central sensitization, emotional stress can cause an abrupt onset of low back or neck pain. Chronic stress and anxiety can lead to signals to tense muscles causing spasms, and the resulting pain can shift and move to different areas. These can include sharp pain, deep aches, or pain with certain movements.
Recommended Reading: Does Stress Cause Memory Issues
But Its Not Simply Mind Over Matter
So while its clear that low back pain can be in your head, that doesnt mean that you have to trivialize it. In this day and age, mind over matter makes little sense. Mind includes matter, especially when you consider that the physical matter of the brain plays a major role in mindset changes. This is especially true when it comes to the brain-based changes related to low back pain. To that extent, changing your mindset and brain biology can help your brain and lessen your pain.
Arthritis Of The Spine
Arthritis of the spine the slow degeneration of the spinal joints is the most frequent cause of lower back pain. All of us experience wear and tear as we age, and it is normal for your lower back to start acting up as you get older. As the cartilage breaks down between the spinal joints, surrounding tissues may become inflamed. The inflammation and the thinning of cartilage increase friction in the joints, which may cause pain in the lower back.
Read Also: Can You Get Workers Comp For Stress
What Are The Best Exercises For Low Back Pain
The full bench press is one of the best exercises for low back pain. The vast majority of disc injuries cause the disc to bulge backwards. Therefore, when you do the back extension, the pressure in this exercise can push the disc forward away from nerves and soft tissues.
Lower chest workout at homeWhat is the best chest workout at home? Pushups are one of the most well-known chest exercises that help develop the chest muscles, as well as exercise the muscles of the arms and shoulders and strengthen the upper body as a whole. Push-ups are the best chest workout for men at home.What are the best lower chest exercises?Take a bath. One of the best exercises that can help develop the lower
What Exercises Can I Do To Strengthen My Lower Back
Engage your core and glutes. Raise your right arm and left leg 1 to 5 inches or as high as possible. Relax. Repeat with the left arm and right leg. Relax. Back extension exercises can strengthen the muscles in your lower back. This includes a column straightener that supports the bottom of the column.
Read Also: Does Stress Affect Your Blood Sugar