Almost everyone will experience some form of back pain at one point in their life. Common causes of back pain are trauma, injury and muscle imbalances. The latter we will go more in depth later in the article. But did you know that stress, yes stress can also be a contributing factor to your back pain? Emotional stress and physiological factors can contribute to ill health. However, stress-related back pain assumes that these factors are the major cause of this form of back pain.
Dr. John E. Sarno, Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University School of Medicine, and pain management expert, believes that a lot of back pain cases are triggered by psychological origins and not physiological ones. This phenomenon is known as tension myositis syndrome. After dealing with countless patients who were experiencing back pain and not having much success, he delved deeper. What he found was that large numbers of patients in whom the back pain was being attributed to some structural abnormality actually had a totally different disorder. They were experiencing back pain, but it was initiated by emotional factors. These emotional factors were the stressors in his patient’s lives.
How to Overcome Back Pain from Stress
Stress responds best to a physical stimulus, whether that is physical exercise, breathing exercises or meditation. One of the most beneficial things you can start doing today to reduce stress in your life is to exercise. So if you are not already exercising regularly (that is 3-5 days per week), begin an exercise program today. Start of easy; go for a brisk walk or a light jog. Swimming is also another excellent low impact exercise that will get your heart pumping.
Meditation and yoga are also very beneficial for stress reduction. Quieting the mind, if only for an hour out of your day, can do wonders for your emotional and psychological state as well as soothe back pain. Deep breathing exercises help stress reduction, because when we are stressed, we tend to hold our breath and breathe shallow breaths which can exacerbate stress.
Eating healthy, nutritious foods packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and healthy fats will also help prevent the negative effects of stress on the body. Loading up on junk food just weighs the body down, sapping energy which does not allow the body to perform at optimal levels.
Adequate sleep is a must for stress reduction and back pain relief. Eight hours of sleep per night is ideal. Deep, peaceful sleep allows the body to recover from the stresses of a long day.