Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: July 11, 2017
Typically when we talk about outside influences that stress your spine, we’re talking about physical tasks that require your spine to bear weight. However, that’s not the type of stress we’re going to talk about today. In this piece, we’re going to explain how emotional and psychological stress can affect your spine, and we’re going to share some ways to manage it.
Although stress-related back pain isn’t a traditional medical diagnosis, stress is one of the most common contributors to back pain. In many instances, emotional or psychological factors either contributed to the onset of pain, or they are contributing to your continued back problem. This type of pain is typically categorized as non-specific back pain because ailments with a clear problem like a herniated disc or pinched nerve are diagnosed as such. Instead, when a spine specialist can’t figure out the root cause of your back pain, they may decide to provide some treatment options that are rooted in treating stress-related back pain.
If you believe that your back pain may be caused by emotional or psychological stress, bring your concerns up to your doctor. Oftentimes doctors are so focused on looking for physical symptoms that they may overlook emotional or psychological factors that are at play. If your work, home or social life is causing hardship or stress, let your doctor know so that they can get you help for your whole self, not just your physical body.
Treating Back Pain Caused By Stress
If your doctor suspects that your spine pain was caused or is continuing due to an abundance of psychological or emotional stress, they’ll likely pursue one or both of the following treatment options:
- Physical Activity – Physical conditioning is one of the best stress relievers on the planet, and it’s always readily available. Find a physical activity that you like to do and carve out 30 minutes to get it done. Whether it’s going for a run, going to the gym or swimming laps at the pool, physical activity can help give your mind a break. Also, since physical activity releases endorphins in your brain, you’ll likely be in a better mood after activity is complete. If your doctor believes your spine problem is being exacerbated by stress, talk to him about what activities are safe to perform that won’t risk making a physical injury worse.
- Mental Health Counseling – Secondly, your doctor may recommend that you seek mental or emotional health counseling. We all deal with stress and grief differently, and if you try to bury those feelings and keep a smile on your face, that stress can build up and lead to physical injuries. Sometimes it’s healthy to talk it out with a counselor or in a group setting. Odds are your spine specialist has connections with mental health professionals who can work with you to help you get rid of this stress. When paired with physical activity, patients typically achieve a noticeable improvement in stress-induced spine pain.
So if you’ve been stressed out lately and you notice that you’re developing pain in your spine, reach out to a trained spine specialist. We can get to the bottom of your problem and get you back on the road to recovery.