Back Pain and Managing Stress | Stress Management
You might be tough and build mentally and physically to handle adversity and pain. But unless you are a machine, you are likely to be affected by back pain, especially when it becomes a chronic condition. You may be experiencing stress as a result of back pain, or you may be experiencing back pain as a result of anxiety or stress in your life. Stress can raise the heart rate, cause constriction of blood vessels, and reduce immune system functioning. Above all, people with anxiety or depression in their life have a higher incidence of back pain. And with all the unemployment, wars, and pessimistic outlook going on in the world, more people are stressed and worried about the future than ever.
Regardless of whether stress is caused by, or causes, back pain, managing stress may be a key component towards managing or successfully treating your back pain. When you feel stressed, your muscles become tense. Muscle tension, in tern, may cause tension in the connective tissue around the muscle, keep joints from moving freely, and perhaps cause pressure on the nerve roots exiting your back and permeating all the tissues of your body. If you begin to experience pain because of stress and one of these physical factors, you may become afraid of making the problem any worse, and begin to scale back on physical activities such as sports or gym workouts. You may at first plan on only cutting back on these activities for a short while, until your back pain begins feeling better, only for your physical symptoms to only get still worse. As your back pain gets worse, and you become more fearful and stressed out, you may begin missing days of work, or even going out for walks, with the hope that some best rest will finally get the healing process going in the right direction. And you may find your back becoming even more stiff and painful, despite days of bed rest.
We will stop right there on this hypothetical analogy. This analogy is not based on the experience of a particular person, but is a scenario possibility that many people with back pain have gone through before. The complex of pain, stress, and restriction of movement can cause patients to first have pain, and for patients to make their condition worse by restricting activities that make them feel normal and provide them with enjoyment in their life. This restriction of activities can cause you to become stiff and your back muscles to weaken, exacerbating any structural problem you already have with your back. If you don't take the necessary steps to turn things around, you may find yourself confronted with an increasingly uphill battle.
Don't worry, regardless of how bad your symptoms are, or how long you have been suffering from your problem, there won't be a point of no return, and you have a lot of options available to you. There are many back pain treatments available to treat the structural problem of the disease, and how to cope with it emotionally. Don't be afraid to ask for help to deal with the emotional component of whatever disease you have that is causing your back pain. Men and women, the weak and the strong alike, chronic pain takes its toll on all of us, and we all could use help to cope with it, either in the form of just having someone to talk to, or training on how to learn and use various stress management techniques.