Is Your Lower Back Or Hip Pain From Stress And Anxiety
We face stressors in our everyday lives, from work to relationships, and its natural to accumulate stress and experience some anxiety. Its how we harbor those emotions that can directly impact our health.
Did you know that stress, trauma, and emotions can cause muscle pain? For some, this pain becomes chronic until it is addressed both physically and mentally.
The more stress we hold on to, or the more trauma we suppress, the more our body works to overcompensate and protect us. Much of our stresses and emotional trauma are stored within our muscles like the hip flexors and neck.
Getting to know how stress impacts your anatomy can help you navigate your daily stressors and begin to manage your emotions with a more holistic approach.
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.
Upper Back Pain When Sitting
Many people experience pain in their necks and upper backs as a result of craning forward while sitting to look at a computer monitor or phone display. Although its tempting to sprawl out and watch television for hours, this can also easily throw your back out of alignment.
That uncomfortable feeling of stiffness when you finally do move or stand up is telling you something.
Better posture makes a difference.
Its likely your parents or teachers cautioned you to sit up straight when you were a child, and with good reason.
Sitting in one position too long isnt healthy. Doing it with your back rounded forward, slumped to one side, or leaning too far back can put stress on parts of your spine for an extended period. This can lead to pain, as well as other issues.
To help you sit straighter, position your body along an imaginary straight line extending the length of your back, out of your head, and up to the ceiling. Keep your shoulders level and dont let your pelvis rotate forward. Doing so causes a curve in your lower back.
If you sit up perfectly straight, youll feel the small of your back stretch and lengthen.
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What Can I Do For Low Back Pain At Home
If your lower back pain has just started, the best thing you can do is start a log. Record your symptoms, times, dates and which activities trigger the pain or make it worse or better. Take this information to your family physician if the pain doesnt resolve on its own. It will make diagnosing the cause much easier.
Once you know which motion or position causes your lower back pain, try to avoid it and see if you get better. Icing the painful spot can also help. And so can over-the-counter pain relievers that help reduce inflammation. Just remember that pain killers treat only the symptom pain and not its cause.
Low Back Pain & Anxiety
You would be surprised at how closely you can correlate low back pain and anxiety.
Calm Clinic discusses the how anxiety causes back pain. They believe that the cause of back pain from anxiety is primarily secondary. This means that while anxiety doesnt directly cause your low back pain, it can exacerbate behaviours that lead to it. Lets take a look at three separate issues caused by anxiety that can result in low back pain:
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Will Reducing Stress Help
If physical solutions such as medical treatments and exercising can help, will reducing stress also help? Yes, it will most definitely help. Try to avoid stressful situations at work or at home, otherwise, you might further develop your issues with your back pain.
Keep in mind, to effectively avoid such situations, you might have to talk with your family members, coworkers, and boss. Your situation is serious which is why they might need to know about it. People should go easy on you at least while you are still in recovery.
Symptoms Of Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain can range from mild to severe. Depending on how you deal with stress, stomach pain may be the only obvious symptoms, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. By internalizing the stress manifests itself despite their efforts to hide it. Abdominal pain can also lead to side effects such as lack of concentration and irritability.
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How Do You Stretch Out Your Lower Back
Follow These Steps
A Global Pandemic A Critical Election The Brink Of War And Much More Have Combined To Cause Untold Amounts Of Stress Which Could Be Contributing To Your Back Pain Find Out How
Your doomscrolling could be making your back pain worse.
Many would agree that 2020 has done a number on the worlds physical and mental health, but is it fair to say that the challenging environment could result in stress and back pain? If youre experiencing some back pain stress right now, you know that the answer is yes.
Biologic processes and environmental factors combine to cause a physical reaction to stress, says Benjamin Bonte, M.D., board certified physical medicine & rehabilitation physician at Hudson Medical + Wellness in New York City. This can result in a disruption in our status quo, affecting our ability to follow our diet, get enough sleep or exercise, or to engage with our social support networks each of these disruptions can worsen pain, including back pain.
Here are some ways the compounding worries of a particularly difficult year could cause those stress and back pains youve been feeling since early 2020.
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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.
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:
- 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.
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When & How To Seek Medical Care
If low back pain lasts for longer than one to two weeks, seek medical care. First, make an appointment with your primary care physician.
Seek immediate medical attention if any of the following symptoms are present in addition to back pain:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Unexplained fever
- Loss of control of your bowels or bladder
How You Can Trim Your Waistline To Help Your Lower Back Pain
The source of countless health problems is excess abdominal fat, and so it is with lower back problems. The culprit is visceral abdominal fat that lies beneath the layer of muscle and surrounds the organs.
Men tend to store more visceral abdominal fat than women, which is why men are more prone to lower back problems. But after menopause, the hormonal shift in women favors storage of deep abdominal fat, which means increased risk of lower back problems.
The good news about deep abdominal fat is that it can be easily dislodged from storage and used as fuel. Simply do the right things with your diet and get lots of exercise and your waistline will respond.
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Whats Addressed In An Exam For Back Pain
If you have been having persistent back pain, a specialist will perform an in-office exam before ordering imagery or jumping to a diagnosis. This will help to identify potential problems and hopefully lead your specialist down the correct path for your treatment and pain management plan.
There are some specific questions you can expect to be asked whenever you see a doctor about back pain:
- Where does it hurt?
- Is there radiating pain and where?
- Are you experiencing leg pain?
- Does anything help your pain?
- Does anything make your pain worse?
- Do you have a history of back pain?
Along with these questions, you can also expect a thorough exam in order to try and identify the exact point of pain. Youll probably be impressed at how quickly a specialist can isolate the point of pain when it comes to having back or joint pain. If the exam is inconclusive, imagery will probably be order, such as x-rays or an MRI, in order to provide further information as to the cause of your pain.
The Psychology Of Low Back Pain
- By Srini Pillay, MD, Contributor
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.
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How Stress Helps Cause Back Problems
When you review some of the most common back pain facts, you will learn that lower back inflammation is most commonly caused by physical conditions such as muscle sprains, ligament strains, and herniated discs. Many people also have back pain and swelling from a traumatic injury or skeletal irregularities such as scoliosis.
Stress increases or enhances a persons response to pain, says Harvard Health, especially if they are already anxiety-prone or experience catastrophic thinking. According to Spine.org, a vicious cycle where pain causes more stress and stress causes more pain can also occur.
For example, the stress of wondering if your back pain will get better or if the inflammation will subside can also contribute to your feeling more pain. You may also become anxious that your provider does not understand your symptoms or that you need a second opinion. Stress from working long hours through back discomfort can also make swelling and discomfort feel much worse. If you lose sleep or do not exercise as a result of your back symptoms or emotional suffering, you may also feel more uncomfortable and stressed.
What Prevail Reasons Of Lower Pain In The Back 1
Typical reasons for low neck and back pain include lumbar stress, nerve irritability, back radiculopathy, bony advancement, and also problems of the bone and joints. Each of these is reviewed below.
Lumbar strain : A back pressure is a stretch injury to the ligaments, tendons, and/or muscle mass of the lower back. The extending case lead to tiny tears of differing degrees in these cells. Back pressure is taken into consideration one of the most typical reasons for lower back pain.
The injury can take place as a result of overuse, incorrect use, or trauma. Soft-tissue injury is generally categorized as acute if it has actually been present for days to weeks. If the pressure lasts longer than 3 months, it is described as chronic. Back stress usually happens in individuals in their 40s, however it can occur at any kind of age. The problem is characterized by local pain in the lower back location with onset after an event that mechanically stressed the back tissues. The extent of the injury ranges from mild to extreme, relying on the degree of pressure and resulting convulsion of the muscles of the lower back. Can Stress Cause Lower Back And Abdominal Pain
The medical diagnosis of lumbar strain is based upon the background of injury, the place of the pain, as well as exemption of nervous system injury. Usually, X-ray testing is only helpful to exclude bone problems.
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How Does Stress Cause Back Pain
Let’s look at the logical progression of how stress causes muscle pain and tension.Being anxious activates the bodys stress response which causes us to become tense and more resilient in order to fight, freeze or flee from a perceived danger. It also creates a cascade of chemical changes in the body, which in turn, lead to muscle tension, muscle spasm and consequent back, shoulder and neck pain, as shown in this chart:
The greater the degree of stress response, the tighter the muscles are likely to become. If the body remains in a state of elevated stress, the muscles can become so tight that chronic pain, stiffness and soreness are likely to ensue. Furthermore if they remain in this state of tension for some time, muscles are more susceptible to spasm and ‘locking up’ as well as further strain and damage, which will exacerbate any existing weaknesses.
Any muscle, or group of muscles, can suffer the consequences of stress, particularly those in the neck, shoulders, upper, mid and lower back. Here are some key reasons why:
Shoulders and neck
Have you ever had a massage and cringed at the pain across your neck and shoulders? When we are stressed we tend to subconsciously hold our shoulders in a raised position which can shorten and tighten the muscles in the neck and shoulder area.
The muscles become strained, particularly at the tendons, where they join the bone at the back of the skull resulting in aching shoulders and a sore neck.
Mid and upper back
How Do You Treat Back Pain Related To Stress
As part of his patient-first approach to medicine, Dr. Michels focuses on relieving your pain and addressing the underlying issue.
A successful treatment strategy, therefore, requires a thorough investigation of your symptoms and evaluation of your habits and medical conditions responsible for your discomfort. He then designs a comprehensive plan thats tailored to fit your needs.
For outstanding care and relief from the stressors responsible for your back pain, schedule a visit with Dr. Michels today. Call our office or request your appointment online.
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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.