All of us have experienced stress at some point in our lives. What you may not have thought to consider is that stress may be the cause of back pain.
When we feel stressed, and have coinciding back pain, we have the temptation to avoid exercising due to a slew of reasons, one of which is fear of causing more damage. By avoiding to exercise, we are putting ourselves at risk of increasing back pain due to the muscles becoming deconditioned.
The bond between inactivity and increased pain is just one reason why physical therapy is a key component for stress-related back pain.
By adding exercises, we are able to strengthen our muscles and cause the release of pain fighting endorphins. Going for a walk provides a number of benefits, including strengthening of the abdomen and lower back and helping to control our weight. Walking can start small, as little as 10 minutes a day, and slowly progress to 30 or 40 minutes. By adding stretching and strengthening exercises in combination with the walking, we can notice pain relief, increased endurance, and increased mobility.
A common contributor to stress is environmental factors; ranging from daily work stress to the loss of a close relationship. Stress from these experiences can provoke back pain. It’s a good for us to find assistance through therapy to relieve stress caused by environmental factors.
When we speak of treating stress related back pain, what we are referring to is back pain in which psychological and emotional factors are of primary influence. This means psychological and emotional factors either started the back pain symptoms, or they are the cause of the continuing pain. Stress related back pain is not a traditional medical diagnosis, but stress may be one of the most common causes of back pain.
Unfortunately, the diagnosis of stress related back pain is not used by most medical professionals; but only those who are accepting of mind-body influences. As such, it is very unlikely that a primary care doctor will consider the possibility of stress being the primary cause of symptoms.
When it comes to diagnosing stress related back pain, the typical patient experience is that all other possible reasons for back pain are first ruled out. These include underlying conditions like a herniated disc and degenerative disc disease, as well as more serious conditions such as tumors. In the vast majority of cases, after other causes are ruled out, people with stress related back pain are diagnosed with some type of “sprain-strain.”
After this diagnosis, it is then often up to the patient to make the possible connection between their stress and their back pain. As a result, a primary care physician might be able to help with a referral to physical therapy in order to address the relationship between stress and back pain.
- For those of you who are looking for a little more info on preventing low back pain both in and out of the gym then check out our Free Low Back Pain Video Course. Through the course and following the steps above you will be well on your way to keeping your back strong and avoiding injury as you hit the gym.
- If you are ready to get started right away then do not hesitate to give a call at 610-841-3555 and get started on the path to healing right away.
- That’s all for now! Feel free to post any questions in the comments section below and if you sign up for a course you will be able to get to stay on top of all things Robbins Rehab!