Stress is your body’s reaction to excessive negative emotional or physical stimulation. A certain level of stress here and there is an unavoidable, and entirely normal, part of life. However, when stress lasts for long periods of time, it can become a contributing factor to your back pain.
There’s plenty of evidence suggesting that existing stress from work or family situations can result in muscle tension. Tightened muscles can place added pressure on joints and discs supporting the spine, resulting in back pain.
Stress Over Existing Back Pain
If you have an existing condition, stress over ongoing back pain can actually cause even more discomfort. This type of stress is a vicious cycle since it’s actually frustration over back pain that’s causing stress that can slow down the healing and recovery process. Stress of this nature is often caused by:
• Concern over whether or not treatments will work
• Anxiety about the possibility of having spine surgery
• Frustration over having to limit or restrict certain activities until your back pain subsides or becomes more manageable
Lifestyle factors can also play a role in how your body handles the stress that sometimes contributes to your back pain. This type of stress can play a role in back pain due to how some lifestyle choices leave the body unprepared to recover from occasional aches and pains. Some dietary choices, for example, can lead to inflammation, making back pain worse. Lifestyle behaviors that can contribute to stress include:
• Lack of sleep or irregular sleep habits
• Too much caffeine or high-sugar foods
• Lack of exercise or a generally sedentary lifestyle
• Smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol
Lifestyle stress affecting back pain, in particular, can be countered by changing habits and making an effort to get regular exercise, reduce the consumption of fatty or sugary foods, and enjoy regular, productive sleep. Stress brought on by existing back pain can often be reduced by developing a better understanding of your condition and treatment options that may provide relief. If you’re not sure how to deal with stress, a board-certified back doctor in Beverly Hills can provide you with additional resources and determine other treatment options.
If after making lifestyle changes to relieve stress you find you are still living with serious back or neck pain, it may be time to talk to a spine specialist. Finding the root of your back pain and determining treatment options, including spinal fusion and motion-preserving spine surgery, will provide you the best opportunity for relief. Call The Spine Institute at (310) 828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation today.