Can Stress Cause Back Pain? 7 Tips to Relieve Stress

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Can Stress Cause Back Pain? 7 Tips to Relieve Stress

Stress can negatively impact the body in several ways. Stress can cause back pain in many adults; approximately twenty-three percent suffer from chronic backache worldwide.

Kavita Trivedi, D.O., a physician at Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, says, “Stress affects the body in a variety of ways, from mood swings and headaches to weight fluctuations. However, an often-overlooked side effect of stress is neck and back pain. Over time, repetitive bouts of stress can cause musculoskeletal issues in these regions of the body.”

Stress has several physical effects on the body, including mood swings, headaches, and changes in body weight. Back discomfort, however, is a frequently neglected side effect of stress. Frequent stressful events can eventually cause musculoskeletal issues in particular body areas.

When emotionally stressed, the body naturally releases hormones like adrenaline. This specific hormone is connected to the well-known fight or flight response, which increases blood flow, blood pressure, and the muscles surrounding our spine when we need to escape a stressful circumstance.

Cortisol, the stress hormone, can disrupt several processes. Cortisol overproduction might result in fat storage and muscle mass loss.

That said, a vast majority of people constantly experience some level of stress. Continue reading this piece for further details and practical solutions for your stress-induced lower back pain.

Can Stress Cause Pain in the Back?

stress and back pain

One of the most frequent and annoying ailments we experience is back discomfort. Lower back discomfort is undoubtedly a considerable inconvenience, affecting everything from one’s ability to work to sleep.

The most frustrating aspect of pain, second only to the agony that interferes with everyday life, might often be the inability to identify a cause or precipitating incident.

Your initial assumption might be that your sore back results from pulling a muscle or moving incorrectly. You may be surprised to learn that you may be experiencing lower back pain due to stress.

Back discomfort is frequently described as having both upper back pain and lower back pain. Both can cause pain in the hips, knees, and feet over time by altering your posture and gait.

Can Stress Make Back Pain Worse?

According to most views on stress-related back pain, the patient’s anxiety and trepidation about daily tasks cause the pain cycle to continue and worsen.

Naturally, this loop leads to increased suffering, dread, physical deconditioning, and other reactions like anxiety, despair, and loneliness.

Many people may even experience triggered sciatica from stress and increased anxiety. Emotional and psychological stress can worsen inflammation, a common characteristic of sciatica.

Low Back Pain from Stress

Tailbone and lower back muscles are both affected by lower back pain. These muscles have an impact on posture and flexibility. Many people become more sedentary, stretching and moving less when under stress.

For instance, sitting at your desk for several hours a day might strain your low-back muscles and spine when you are overworked at work.

Can Stress Cause Upper Back Pain?

stress and upper back pain

Chest and shoulder muscles, which are impacted by breathing, can cause upper back pain. Stress alters your breathing patterns, which puts strain on your mid-back muscles. You hunch your shoulders, which hurts your upper and middle back.

Emotional Stress and Back Pain

Even though it may be difficult to imagine, mental or emotional anguish could cause your back pain. In reality, many medical symptoms, such as exhaustion, headaches, chest discomfort, gastrointestinal issues, sleeplessness, and decreased libido, have been linked to stress and anxiety.

The body’s response to specific, typically unpleasant, experiences or ideas is stress.

Although you may not be aware of it, your body undergoes physical and chemical changes when you are stressed or nervous about keeping yourself safe.

When this happens, cortisol and adrenaline are released, and your muscles often contract uncontrollably. This frequently affects the neck, shoulders, and lower back.

Lower back pain might result from a persistent strain in these locations. This phenomenon is what a massage therapist may have meant when they said you hold a lot of tension in your shoulders.

What Are Stress Knots in the Back?

Stress knots, or muscle knots, are tender spots in muscles that commonly form in the neck, shoulders, and back. Stress knots in the back are painful and may cause your back muscles to feel sore and tight.

Stress/muscle knots most commonly develop in the legs and upper back.

relieve muscle knots in back

Muscle knots in the back typically form due to physical stress and tension. Therefore, built-up stress in your back may be the reason for your discomfort and pain.

Managing and treating muscle knots is easy if you are willing to spend some time and be a little patient. Here are some effective methods to relieve stress knots in the back.

Point massage on the affected area

● Stretching

● Professional massage

How to Relieve Back Pain from Stress - 7 Tips

Are you experiencing stress-induced back pain? Here are some effective and practical tips to relieve upper and lower back pain.

Upper Back Pain

#1. Posture Exercises

A good posture ensures the correct alignment of your spinal structures. Fixing your posture can instantly reduce upper back strain.

Some strategies that can help improve your standing and sitting posture include shoulder blade squeeze, chin tuck, and upper back stretch. Dr. Bang says, I usually recommend increased exercise or a sitting/standing desk,”

#2. Prescription Drugs

If exercises do not seem to help with your back, you may want to take muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory medication. When things get out of the control of over-the-counter medication, your doctor may prescribe opioid painkillers.

That said, remember that you should only take these drugs if your physician suspects that your backache results from stress or depression.

#3. Home Remedies

Generally, various home remedies can help relieve tension and stress in the upper back to a great extent. Nevertheless, it is best to stick to science-backed home remedies instead of mindlessly following hyped methods circulating social media.

Some general remedies include gently stretching your upper back and taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen.

Lower Back Pain

#4. Icing

ice therapy back pain

Stress-induced pain works by causing and increasing inflammation. Since stress causes irritation and inflammation, you can use inflammation-reducing strategies to manage the pain. Icing is excellent for reducing inflammation and contributes to soreness and pain.

#5. Heat Therapy

Heat therapy works similarly to cold therapy/ icing. Heat can significantly help to reduce tension in the lower back while reducing muscle knots. You can use a heating pad or hot bag for heat therapy for your chronic lower back pain.

Read More: Should I Use Hot or Cold Therapy for Lower Back Pain?

#6. Topical Pain-Relieving Medication

pain relieving creams

For many people, topical pain-relieving creams and gels have better effects. If you find that applying a medicated cream or gel helps with your pain, do not hesitate to use them.

Many topical medications have pain-relieving, cooling sensations that can provide you with just the comfort you need.

Read More: 9 Best Creams for Sciatica & Back Pain

#7. Healthy Diet with Balanced Meals

Improving your diet and eating nutritionally balanced meals can significantly help to improve your general health. A long-term habit of eating well will ensure you feel more energetic.

Besides, eating healthy may improve your mental health, decreasing stress levels and causing lower back pain.

Read More: How to Stretch the Lower Back - 7 Best Exercises for Pain Relief

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