How to Become Aware of What Causes Your Stress

In order to manage stress associated with back pain, you are going to have to become aware of what causes your stress. Stress can affect people in a number of ways, including disrupting healthy brain functioning, and cause chronic muscle tension. This chronic muscle tension can eventually lead to tightness in the muscles, which can cause muscle spasms or back pain. Regardless of whether have stress as a result of back pain, or back pain because of stress, you are going to have to learn how to manage stress and what triggers it.

Stress isn't always easy to deal with, but learning how to manage your stress can make it a little easier and help break the stress-pain limited/lost abilities-depression cycle.

If stress is a contributing cause of the severity of your back pain, than you are going to have to find activities that relax you. Also, you are going to have to become more aware of some of the things that trigger your stress, such as certain activities or behaviors. Once you become aware of stressors, or situations that cause you to have stress, you are going to have to eliminate those stressors from your life or change your reaction to them.

Take for example, one stressor that greatly affects the lives of many individuals, long work commutes. Work commutes may be long, either in the distance involved between your home and the place of business, or long in the time involved with the travel due to rush-hour traffic. Work commutes make take their toll, physically and emotionally. Long car rides or having to remain standing and holding onto poles on jerky subway rides can take a toll on your painful back. And the stress of hours each day of stop and go traffic and driving in busy and aggressive city traffic can be stressful experiences as well. You could improve this stressor in one of two ways: either by finding ways to avoid long and stressful commutes or by changing your responses to the stresses of rush-hour traffic.

Before you decide that you must change your response to stressors, first analyze your commute and see if you can eliminate the stressor in the first place. Some options available may be:
  • Changing some of your work responsibilities to inquire whether telecommuting is an option.
  • Changing your work hours so that you could drive in to and from work at non-peak driving hours.
  • If the opportunity was available, you could either move to be closer to your job, or look for a new job that is closer to your home. This could be an unfeasible option for people who are happy with their job, or people that are committed to their place of residence, due to apartment leases or mortgages. If major changes to your work commute are not possible, then you are going to have to change your responses to the stresses of rush-hour traffic. Some options for doing this include:
    • You can try to make peace with the fact that though long commutes are tedious, it is just something that has to be done, and you could focus on the positives that come out of it, such as the ability to pay for your home and supporting your family, as a result of the commute to work.