Tension Myositis Syndrome & Pain Caused by Emotional Stress

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: November 4, 2015

tension myositis syndrome

Tension myositis syndrome, also defined as tension myoneural syndrome, is classified as pain that is being caused by psychogenic musculoskeletal and nerve issues. In essence, TMS is pain, oftentimes located in the back, is caused by emotional stress instead of a physical injury.

TMS is a somewhat controversial topic in the medical community. Many doctors are hesitant to say pain is directly caused by a perceived notion or by emotional stress; instead, they say emotional stress can make back pain worse, but it’s not the underlying cause. According to them, a nerve issue, an undiagnosed acute injury, spinal degeneration or inflammation is the root cause, and stress only makes it worse.

How Does Stress Make Back Pain Worse?

We’re not going to dive into a giant discussion over the legitimacy of Tension Myositis Syndrome. Instead, we want to explore the larger issue of emotional stress causing back pain. In some instances, emotional stress and back problems can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example:

  • A person suffers a back injury.
  • The individual decides to take it easy for a few days, and they miss a couple days of work.
  • Stress about missing work, meetings or family events can make it difficult to sleep.
  • Lack of sleep can lead to an increase in inflammation. Additionally, “taking it easy” for weeks can decondition muscles, and weakened muscles contribute to more pain.
  • Increased pain makes a person even less likely to exercise to re-strengthen the affected area.
  • The cycle starts over again.

Combating pain caused by emotional stress involves channeling that stress to other outlets, and by understanding the root cause of your pain. The first step to treating your back pain is to visit a certified spine specialist. They’ll be able to figure out what’s causing the pain, and the more you know about the pain and how to treat it, the less likely you are to be anxious or worried about your recovery.

Treatment Strategy

Once you’ve uncovered the root cause, the next step involves developing a treatment strategy. This will likely involve one or more of the following treatment options:

  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise
  • Non-invasive operations
  • Pain injections
  • Surgery

Even if you’re limited by pain, odds are your doctor will be able to recommend some strength training exercises that can build muscles in your back. Exercise can actually help take your mind off your pain, and it can put stress on the back burner. If you ever feel anxious or stressed, carve out 15-30 minutes for exercise. You’ll find that exercise and taking physical steps treat your pain will help put your mind at ease. For more information on handling pain-related stress, contact a spine specialist today.

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