Thursday, May 19, 2022

Does Stress Cause Back Pain

Signs And Symptoms Of Too Much Stress

Does Stress Or Anxiety Cause Pain

Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain caused by adverse circumstances.

At one point or another, most people deal with feelings of stress. In fact, one study found that 33% of adults reported experiencing high levels of perceived stress (

The condition is associated with a long list of physical and mental symptoms.

This article will look at 11 common signs and symptoms of stress.

Stress Or More When To See The Doctor For Lower Back Pain

Look, we all know how much of a toll stress can take on our body, and were sure that youve experienced pain and other physical symptoms associated with stress. You may not even know what youre stressing out about, but your body decides to fight back and hurt. Back pain is a common symptom of stress. Some people may carry their tension in their upper back and feel like their muscles are riddled with knots. Others may find that stress causes their lower back to tighten up and be more susceptible to injury and further pain. No one experiences stress symptoms in quite the same way. This makes it exceptionally hard to separate pain caused by stress from pain caused by a more dangerous or pressing problem. So how do you identify when you need to see a specialist for lower back pain? The following blog covers many of the signs that you need to see a doctor and stop choking your back pain up to stress.

Can Going To A Chiropractor Help With Anxiety

One stressor causing physical pain and ailments leading to the cause of more and different conditions are the kinds of things chiropractors look for to get to the root of your problems. Chiropractors have many tools at their disposal besides spinal adjustments, such as massage therapy, magnetic resonance therapy designed to reduce the symptoms of chronic stress, lifestyle advice, and more.

Also Check: What Is The Best Way To Manage Stress

Can Stress Cause Shoulder And Back Pain

During periods of stress, three main hormones are released which lead to physical and mental responses: adrenaline, cortisol, norepinephrine.

  • Body releases adrenaline to prepare the body to flee, if necessary
  • Adrenaline increases the heart rate and blood pressure, and muscles tense
  • Body releases the hormone cortisol when the brain recognizes the threat
  • Cortisol increases the glucose in the bloodstream and regulates other body functions
  • Cortisol increases the availability of various substances that play a role in tissue repair
  • Body releases norepinephrine, which is similar to adrenaline
  • Norepinephrine increases mental awareness and focus and shifts blood flow to muscles so better able to flee

The hormones associated with the stress response are supposed to flow and ebb and not be continually released. When they remain at high levels due to frequent bouts of stress, the hormones will constrict blood vessels and reduce the blood flow to soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This leads to tight or tense muscles. The muscles are unable to relax normally and are not getting the nutrients needed to stay healthy. Also called muscle rigidity, the muscles in the neck, shoulders, and around the spine tense in preparation for fleeing.

The shoulders and back have primary nerves and muscles running through them. When the muscles and nerves are put under stress, sore shoulders and back develop.

Back Pain Stiffness Soreness Spasms Immobility Anxiety Symptoms Common Descriptions:

Does stress cause back pain?

Because anxiety symptoms are often described in subjective terms, there can be many descriptions of this anxiety back pain symptom. Here are some of the more common descriptions of this back pain symptom:

  • You experience frequent back pain, stiffness, soreness, spasms, immobility anxiety symptoms.
  • It feels as if your back is often painful, stiff, and sore.
  • Your back is so sore that it causes restriction to mobility.
  • You regularly, and without apparent reason, experience back pain, stiffness, and soreness.
  • You feel a constant tension, soreness, and pain in your back from seemingly normal tasks.
  • You may have a difficult time sleeping due to chronic back pain.
  • You find you are taking pain relievers more frequently because of unrelieved back pain, stiffness, and soreness.
  • You find that the muscles in your back frequently spasm.
  • You experience frequent muscle spasms due to ongoing back pain and stiffness.

These back pain, stiffness, soreness, spasms, and immobility anxiety symptoms can persistently affect one area of the back only, can shift and affect another area or areas in the back, and can migrate all over and affect many areas of the back over and over again.

These back pain, stiffness, soreness, spasms, and immobility anxiety symptoms can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may feel back pain once and a while and not that often, feel it off and on, or feel it all the time.

All of the above combinations and variations are common.

Also Check: What To Eat To Reduce Stress

Did It Cross Your Mind That Your Chronic Back Pain May Be Connected To Your Health

A mix of physical and emotional components that give you the fight or flight impulse in the face of danger generally triggers an immediate stress response. When triggered, cortisol and adrenaline are released, which helps prepare the body to take action.5 As a physical response to this, we experience high blood pressure, elevated heart rates, or heavy breathing. When this cycle repeats often, it may cause aches and irritation in the nerves.

In his book From Paralysis to Fatigue, Dr. Edward Shorter throws light on the history of psychosomatic illnesses.7 A diagnosis developed as early as the 1820s talks about “spinal irritation,” and most modern-day researchers attribute this to a form of stress-related back pain.

Stress & Anxiety May Be Causing Your Back Pain

Back pain is a very common problem that can have a multitude of causes. The causes of back pain arent always physical or external. Yes, you can strain your back from an uncomfortable chair, heavy lifting, or spending the whole day on your feet. Though these can cause discomfort, back pain can also be caused by mental or internal problems like stress.

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The Connection Of The Mind And Body With Stress

You may be having regular headaches these days, and in recent times, your neck has also been feeling tight with severe pain, then it becomes necessary to visit the doctor.

However, did you know that it might happen that the doctor will not see anything physically wrong, and he might even ask, What is happening in your life these days? You can tell him that things are quite intense these days.

You are not just experiencing multiple deadlines at work, but you may also be having some volunteering activities and also taking care of your parents/kids, who are not well.

Then the doctor will indeed suggest you gently that the main reasons for severe headache and pain in the neck are the hectic schedule and feelings of depression related to your parents/kids well-being.

Also, based on the results of the multiple studies conducted in recent years, it is clear that depression, stress, panic attacks, anxiety and emotional events can cause some of the severe physical symptoms associated with stress.

Tip: There is a difference of effectiveness between Alpha-Stim and TENS for treating pain, anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Let find out what are the common physical symptoms associated with stress.

Should Exercising Be Avoided

Does Stress Affect Back Pain or Neck Pain?

Logically, since your lower back pain is caused mentally, it makes sense not to exercise, right? Putting any excess strain on your body is not a good idea at the moment. Well, no. That is actually the opposite of what you should be doing.

In reality, you should be exercising every day to ensure that you are properly recovering from your stress-ridden life and to bring your spine back to its natural state. Without working out, you will not be able to get away from your problems. Getting stuck in a loop is not exactly the most optimal solution.

Keep in mind, this does not mean that you should be careless while exercising. Putting too much strain on your body is not a good idea, especially when your back is quite fragile during this time.

A short ten or fifteen-minute exercise a couple of times a week is good enough. A long walk in the morning or before going to bed would also be very beneficial.

If you are not sure whether you can or should exercise in your medical state, you can always ask your doctor for a professional opinion.

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Other Ache And Pain Issues

It should also be noted that anxiety is an incredibly complex condition that causes various changes to the way your body operates. Some people experience throat pain. Others experience unusual nerve sensations in their legs. Others experience random cramping. Still others experience abdominal discomfort or shooting pains that have no apparent causes.

Only a doctor can diagnose where these pains came from. But there are countless examples of aches and pains that are the result of anxiety despite no apparent physical reason for them to occur.

Treating Your Physical And Emotional Pain

Taking medication or having surgery can address the physical cause of your pain, but if you’re anxious or depressed, it won’t solve your entire problem. “You need to treat the structural problem and the psychological problem. Both need to be addressed at the same time,” Schofferman says.

For people with mild to moderate low back pain, a supervised exercise program may be enough to treat physical and psychological symptoms. “Many times when the person exercises under supervisionâ¦their depression improves, their anxiety can improve, and their avoidance improves,” says Schofferman. The goal of these programs is to strengthen the muscles of your back and the areas that support your back , and teach you how to do everyday activities — like lifting and bending — without hurting your back.

If you have more chronic, severe low back pain, it helps to see not just one doctor, but a whole team of experts that can include your regular doctor, an orthopaedic doctor or physiatrist, as well as a chronic pain specialist, physical therapist, and psychologist. All of these specialists should have experience in treating chronic pain.

Relaxation techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and biofeedback can teach you how to ease the muscle tension that’s contributing to your low back pain. Your doctor may also prescribe medications to relieve pain, help you sleep, or ease your depression and anxiety.

Read Also: How Does Stress Affect Mental And Emotional Health

Is Stress Causing Your Back Pain

For those familiar with the trappings of stress and anxiety, emotional strain and mental tension can be all too consuming. Before we know it, physical symptoms present themselves too and manifest in a multitude of ways. Be it compromised immune health, poor digestion or neck and back pain, we often pay a painful price for prolonged stress. I am here to talk about stress, how it can influence physical symptoms like back pain, and what you can do to ease any discomfort.

Does Stress Cause Back Pain

How Does Stress Cause Back Pain?
  • Inactivity is a common side effect of anxiety, stress and depression. It creates a serious mental hurdle that many patients fail to overcome. Their mental state can prevent them from engaging in healthy physical activity, stretching, and making healthy lifestyle decisions. Inactivity can also be the cause of anxiety, stress and depression in some people.
  • A change in posture may result from increased anxiety. A healthy posture is often a sign of confidence. For people lacking in confidence, they may hunch over or slouch, which puts pressure on the spine. Combined with the knots that result directly from stress, a change in posture can cause serious pain.

How to alleviate back pain caused by stressTo alleviate back pain caused by stress you need to combat both the back pain and its direct and indirect causes by:

Are you suffering from back pain? Make an appointment with one of our physiotherapists or schedule a massage or acupuncture treatment and start feeling better.

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Psychological Stress Can Cause Back Pain

Though it might seem hard to believe, mental or emotional distress may be the reason you are experiencing back pain. In fact, there is a long list of physical symptoms that have been proven to be associated with stress and anxiety, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Low libido

Stress itself is the bodys reaction to certain usually unpleasant situations or thoughts. You may not realize it, but when you are feeling stressed or anxious, there are chemical and physical reactions taking place in your body to try and protect you from harm. Cortisol and adrenaline are released, and there is typically an involuntary tightening of your muscles. This often occurs in the neck, shoulders, and down the spine. Prolonged tension in these areas can lead to back pain and, more specifically, lower back pain. You may have had a massage therapist tell you that you hold a lot of tension in your shoulders, and this phenomenon is what they are referencing.

The Psychology Of Low Back Pain

ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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Low back pain is the second most common cause of disability in the U.S. Over 80% of people will experience an episode of this pain at some point in their lives. The most common reasons for low back pain are disc injuries, sciatica, lifting heavy objects, or some other non-specific back injury.

Yet even though back pain is incredibly common, not all people respond in the same way to this often-disabling condition. In fact, even if two people have the same level of pain, their responses to that pain can be very different. These differing responses are due in part to different peoples psychological attitudes and outlooks.

Even when you have low back pain that is being medically treated, it helps to understand the psychological factors that impact your pain and your brain. It also helps to know what you can do about this.

Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Stress Weight

Persistent Pain Or Weakness

If you’ve suffered with back pain for a period of time, or have flare-ups and episodes of back pain, or if you develop tingling in or weakness in your legs or elsewhere, it’s time to seek medical advice. Your GP will be able to take a history, and ask you about accompanying symptoms such as sensations in the legs or problems with certain movements.

In some cases, it may be necessary to have an X-ray or MRI scan to establish the cause of pain and rule out rare conditions such as spinal cancer. Your doctor will then be able to refer you for appropriate treatment.

Can Stress Cause Back Pain

Stress Causes Chronic Back Pain

The short answer is yes, stress can lead to back pain. It all depends on your natural response to stress. While some people manifest stress in their minds, running through different problems and potential solutions, others manifest it physically. This physical reaction may be unnoticeable to the individual and the people around them, but it is significant enough to eventually cause pain.

When stress manifests physically, it causes us to tighten our muscles, particularly the muscles around our shoulders and down our spine. It is the tension of these lower back muscles that causes us to experience pain, and is known as Tension Myositis Syndrome.

The biggest issue with Tension Myositis Syndrome`is that it can easily start off a cyclical pattern of pain. Those who are stressed will feel sore, which affects their mood and makes them less active. This not only impacts their social life, as the reduced movement also causes their muscles to weaken and tighten up further, leading to more pain. Additionally, the worry of the pain can cause people to become even more stressed, which then results in more pain.

Read Also: How To Quit Stress Eating

Your Sedentary Lifestyle Is Causing Back Pain

Simply needing to readjust your livelihood to stay home most of the year could be responsible for back pain. Many of us who were not working from home prior to the pandemic were essentially forced to quickly adapt, and didn’t have the luxury of time to set up an ergonomic home office, Dr. Bonte says. Sitting at a low table on a stool with a small laptop is going to cause more back pain than sitting at a designated workstation with a full sit-to-stand desk setup and a full-screen monitor.

Since youve eliminated a commute and walks to meetings, water coolers and restrooms on the other side of the office, youre probably sitting more in general during the workday. Studies suggest that more sitting time has been associated with more low back pain.

In addition, we are all creatures of routine, and when this routine is disrupted, this can make stress and pain worse. For those who exercise regularly, our minds, joints, muscles, and tendons are used to a particular training style or exercise program, Dr. Bonte says. Gym closures have forced us to learn how to do things differently, and I have seen people with new injuriesespecially running injuriesas a result of trying to adapt too quickly without a gym or their typical equipment or classes.

Muscular Sprains And Tendon Or Ligament Strains

A strain or sprain usually originates during a task or activity that our body is not used to doing. Accidents are also capable of causing this condition. The back is particularly susceptible to these strains or sprains as stretching farther than normal or attempting to lift while twisting can both cause this issue. If this does occur, high levels of pain and swelling and bruising is expected. But the good news is that these strains and sprains usually resolve themselves with a simple realignment of the spine and in most cases a chiropractic visit is an appropriate treatment for this condition.

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