By Dr. Peter Klapper Ph.D.
It’s no secret that high levels of stress can affect the body beyond the brain. And if not managed, it can contribute to physical issues, including lower back pain. So much so that the more a person deals with stress, their back pain can become exacerbated.
How Stress Contributes to Lower Back Pain
Stress can affect the body in several ways, but when it comes to your back, it is contributed by a few different factors.
Muscle Tension: When you’re experiencing a high-level of stress, your body may go into “fight or flight” mode and will release hormones into the body such as cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones, without you realizing it, cause for you to tense up and tighten all of your muscles. Prolonged tension, particularly in the back and neck, can result in pain and discomfort.
Reduced Blood Flow: Another effect stress has on the body is that it causes blood vessels to constrict, making it more difficult for blood flow to reach muscles and tissue. This can result in muscle fatigue, stiffness and overall pain in the lower back.
Emotional Effects: Stress is already a mental ailment and can lead to additional mental and emotional problems such as anxiety and depression. When a person is struggling with their mental health, it can cause already existing lower back pain to be intensified.
How To Manage Stress
If stress is your culprit and is seeming to result in lower back pain, you may need to look into stress reduction techniques.
Those techniques may include:
- Meditation / Mindfulness
- Massage therapy
- Regular exercise
- Eating a healthy diet
- Getting at least 8 hours of sleep nightly
- Seeking professional help such a counselor or therapist
- Try natural remedies like our Calm Mood
The intricate connection between stress and lower back pain cannot be underestimated. As stress infiltrates our lives, it manifests physically through muscle tension, reduced blood flow, and heightened emotional strain, all of which contribute to the discomfort in our backs.
However, the good news is that there are various stress management techniques at our disposal. Whether it's through meditation, yoga, regular exercise, or seeking professional help, taking proactive steps to alleviate stress can significantly reduce the impact it has on our lower backs.
Prioritizing mental and physical well-being can pave the way to a pain-free, healthier life. So, remember that when you tackle stress, you're not just nurturing your mind; you're also taking care of your body, particularly your lower back.