Stress-Reduction Therapies to Manage Back Pain

If you are someone who has suffered from back pain, you may understand that sometimes it is difficult to tell where stress ends and back pain begins. Back pain and stress often have a close association with each other, and one can affect each other to either improve your problem or make it worse. Back pain can be a problem that you often have to drag along with you, making your whole body seem heavier and making it more difficult to work and play. It can sometimes be difficult to shake off the pain and not be affected by it emotionally. Regardless of the problem that initiated your back problem - accident, disease, or degeneration to the joints - one of the biggest factors in the persistence of pain and its effects on your daily life is stress. If you are a sufferer of chronic pain you will understand: being in pain is stressful, and being under stress can add to your pain.



Because stress and pain go hand in hand, there is often an overlap in techniques between various pain-reduction therapies and stress-reduction therapies. Anything you do to relieve pain is likely to ease stress, and anything you do to ease stress has the potential to ease pain. Many therapies may be able to ease pain and stress simultaneously, including Pilates, yoga, and hot treatments with water. For example, you may receive a professional massage in order to try to loosen up tight muscles in the back that have become sensitive due to a muscle strain. Massage therapy may also be a chance to relax, and it often provides people with a relaxing feeling of euphoria that calms people. Other treatments that may help to relieve stress and pain include a relaxing walk, a yoga class, Tai Chi, and biofeedback.

Yoga: Yoga is part of the traditional Indian healing system called Ayurveda. The word Yoga translated to English means "union". It is the coming together and balance of physical, mental, and spiritual energies to enhance well being. The mind-body techniques taught in Yoga include exercises, postures ,and meditation practices that can provide patients with vast improvements in their flexibility, joint pain, and emotional well being.

Biofeedback is a behavioral training program in which a practitioner of the modality either gives patients instructions on how to control certain body processes or teaches them how to do it on their own. The techniques learned in biofeedback may have the effect of controlling certain physiological processes in patients, such as heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure. The three body processes just mentioned may all rapidly increase when a person is habitually stressed, or experiencing a stressful event. If patients are able to learn these biofeedback techniques, they may have the ability to keep their body rhythms steady during potentially stressful events. The biofeedback techniques learned are visualization and relaxation techniques that may give people the ability to reduce their perception of pain, alleviate headaches, and lower their stress levels.

Tai Chi: Tai Chi is another eastern system of exercises and postural poses that people have found to improve their strength, flexibility, and emotional well being. Though Tai Chi has its origins as a system of martial arts, it purpose is not primarily combat related. It consists of controlled movements that flow rhythmically into one long, graceful gesture.