Since many of the literature I have so far reviewed have listed stress among some of the major causes of back pain, I was particularly interested in learning as to exactly how stress causes back pain and the different stress management techniques that may be used to deal with stress.
Based on a 2007 “Back Pain Alert” article published by Johns Hopkins Medicine, the “fight-or-flight” response can result in severe back pain. According to the “fight-or-flight” operation of the nervous system, usually when people feel threatened by a situation — whether physical or emotional, factual or imagined — the hypothalamus releases noradrenaline and adrenaline. These and other related hormones trigger a complex surge of actions, leading to a state of physiological and psychological hyperalertness.
On the musculoskeletal level, according to the author, the fight-or-flight response causes muscles to tense in preparation for action — and if this response is not deactivated, muscles can go into painful spasms which can lead to severe back pain.
Several recent studies have shown that psychological distress have proven to elevate the risk of developing back pain, and can also cause a slow recovery time. For example, In this particular study that was conducted, it was found that people with higher levels of anger and even those with higher levels of psychological distress, also reported higher levels of chronic back pain. It is believed that if individuals have a much clearer understanding of the connection between stress and their back, they should be better able to address issues that lead to back pain. Although a stressful situation cannot disappeared just by using stress-relaxation techniques, however, there are certain techniques in particular that can help you to consciously release any muscle tension you may have developed in anticipation of or in response to a situation.
Techniques recommended to help you relieve back pain caused by Stress:
Breathing exercises:– It is believed that “The 2:1 ratio” ( a breathing technique) can quiet the fight-or-flight response. It’s recommended that you try a pattern of inhaling to the count of three and exhaling to the count of six. This techniques should be repeated several times.
Body scan:–This technique calls for several cycles of 2:1 breathing. It is recommended that you begin by either lying or sitting down. Once you are fully relaxed, do a full mental sweep of your body, as though you were undergoing a deliberate and complete x-ray. The advice shared is that you go slowly but steadily, noting any areas of tightness or tension. Once you’ve completed the scan, you should get back to those tight or tense areas and let your attention remain there for a while. Consciously “breathe into” those areas for several breathing cycles and imagine the muscles relaxing.
It takes time for this body scan to be completed , however, it’s believed that if it is done frequently, it can help you become informed of the early warning signs of an imperative back pain attack. In particular, it can help you become conscious of your individual “signal spots,”– those areas that hurt when your back initially started acting up, but before a full-blown attack is already under way. You can then take the necessary action, pacing yourself appropriately.
Meditation:- Based on this” back pain” article reviewed, meditation has been found to reduce stress and counteract the fight-or-flight response. For example, you could try one meditation technique known as “taking the one chair.” With this technique you imagine yourself in a room in which there is only a single chair. You are advised to sit down on the chair and observe your thoughts and emotions pass in front of you. You should keep in mind that you are occupying the only chair in the room, so your thoughts have no place to rest. Observe your thoughts pass on out of the room.
meditative exercise in particular, such as yoga, walking, or swimming — is believed to be a potent stress reducer. You are encouraged to ask your physician for guidelines relevant to your individual condition, just in case you are required to avoid a particular type of exercise.
To summarize, it appears somewhat convincing, that the “fight- or- flight” response to stressful daily life situations or encounters can lead to back pain. Yet, although we might not be able to avoid stress, we can learn to minimize stress with special stress management techniques such as exercises and meditation techniques.
FYI. As indicated stressful situations such as Relationship issues can also create a tremendous amount of back pain. Know the Relationship Phases that are the most stressful.
FYI . Based on Finding, see life events scale 1-100 below, developed by psychiatrists at the University of Washington Medical School. This scale measures the potential for stress-related illnesses, including back pain. Simply sum up the points for each event that has occurred in your life in the past year to figure your stress potential. For example:
150-200 = Low or 37% chance of getting seriously ill in the next two years.
225-300 = Medium 0r 51% chance of getting ill.
325-375 = High or 80% chance of getting seriously ill in the next two years.
- Death of spouse 100
- Divorce 73
- Marital Separation 65
- Jail Term 63
- Death of Close family member 63
- Personal Injury or illness 53
- Marriage 50
- Being fired from work 47
- Marital reconciliation 45
- Retirement 45
- Change in family member’s health 44
- Pregnancy 40
- Sex difficulty 39
- Addition to family 39
- Business Adjustment 39
- Change in financial status 38
- Death of close friend 37
- Change to different line of work 36
- Change in number of marital arguments 35
- Mortgage loan over $10,000[as of 1967]
- Foreclosure of mortgage or loan 30
- Change in work responsibilities 29
- Son or daughter leaving home 29
- Trouble with in-laws 29
- Out sanding personal achievement 28
- Starting or finishing school 26
- Spouse begins or stops work 26
- Change in living conditions 25
- Revision of personal habits 24
- Trouble with boss 23
- Change in work hours, conditions 20
- Change in residence 20
- Change in school 20
- Change in recreation habits 19
- Change in church activities 19
- Change in social activities 18
- Mortgage or loan under $10,000[as of 1967] 17
- Change in sleeping habits 16
- Change in sleeping habits 15
- Change in number of family gatherings 15
- Vacation 13
- Christmas season 12
- Minor violation of the law 11