The Connection between Stress and Back Pain in Red Bank, NJ
Monmouth County pain management office provides multiple healthy options for relieving stress and back pain. Our office is committed to caring for the entire patient—both mind and body—and our treatment for back pain is no exception. Even better, our goal is to fix each patient’s back pain issue without surgery and while eliminating the need for painkilling drugs.
We tend to think of getting older and/or experiencing a physical trauma as the major causes of back pain—but stress and anxiety can also be the culprits behind this common complaint. Back issues related to stress can also leave you more vulnerable when you do experience an injury from improper lifting, sports injuries, or any other incident. Let’s take a look at how emotional issues can hurt your back and explore the best ways to rehabilitate from back pain and injury.
First, it’s important to point out that generally speaking, stress is bad for your health. It can cause insomnia, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, headaches, digestive issues, irregular cycles for women, and fertility issues. Stress can even be a causative factor for cancer. I think we can agree that while minor, temporary stress has been shown to prompt people to do well at work and on tests, serious, long term stress is terrible for your body and can really disrupt your life.
A lot of people hold their stress in their muscles. In particular, the muscles of the neck and shoulders. This is why many people experience headaches during especially stressful times. Think about how you’re holding your shoulders and your neck right now—do they feel loose and calm or are you tensing them uncomfortably? How relaxed do you feel at this moment?
If you’re stressed out, here’s what’s happening to you: when the muscles tense up due to emotional issues, they may squeeze the blood vessels flowing through them. As the normal flow of blood becomes constricted in this way, and there isn’t proper blood supply, the muscles alert you by sending pain signals.
As time marches on and those muscles fail to receive the oxygen and nutrients they need from the blood, they begin to weaken. In losing crucial supplies of fuel, they become not only weak but also much more vulnerable to injury. For example, weak core muscles cause lower back pain.
Physical Therapy is extremely helpful in such situations. Not only does exercise have the amazing ability to make you feel better emotionally, it can also boost circulation to affected muscles and help rebuild strength. Additionally, physical therapy can help to resolve your back pain condition after damage has been done, thereby helping you to move and function normally again—without pain.
We’ve been using our PowerPlate exercise machine to help boost many of our patients’ exercise routines with vibration. Vibration prompts an automatic and reactionary response that can increase the efficiency of therapeutic exercise exponentially. Because of the success of our initial PowerPlate investment, we’ve recently decided to incorporate more machines in the office, thereby offering even more of our patients the chance to try this technology—technology which was originally developed for Russian cosmonauts’ atrophied muscles.
Chiropractic Treatment is a natural, intuitive solution for many back pain-related issues, such as disc injuries, sciatica, etc. Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation offers a type of chiropractic that specializes in ensuring the health of the entire spine (as opposed to only concerning itself with individual issues within the spine). When your spine is in its normal, healthy position, the body’s central nervous system is free to work properly. Not only does this reduce pain, but can also help to relieve stress by liberating the body from the general physical disorder associated with an unhealthy central nervous system.
Acupuncture is also helpful, especially since it offers stress relief without drugs. By harmonizing the body’s yin and yang (these are the opposing forces which make up your QI, your life force), acupuncture brings the body back to its natural state of balance. Many patients become so relaxed during acupuncture treatments that they fall asleep and leave our acupuncture rooms looking content and peaceful. It works by prompting the release of a number of feel-good substances in the brain, including pain-fighting endorphins and mood-enhancing serotonin.
Pain and Anxiety Medications: Avoiding Drugs with Epidural Steroid Injections for Back Pain
Whatever happens, we don’t want any patient to think that the long-term use of painkilling or anxiety medications is a good solution. The combination of drugs makes potential physical damage to the body even worse. What we’re talking about here is liver and kidney damage as well as the risk of addiction.
But what if your back pain is severe? What if you’re unable to use physical therapy or chiropractic treatment because you can’t move or you find both prospects too painful to endure?
First, take the time to reduce your stress by cutting back on stimulants such as caffeine or nicotine. Take care of your body with acupuncture, a healthy diet, and good sleep habits.
For back pain, Epidural Steroid Injections provide serious, localized pain relief. These corticosteroid injections may also include an anesthetic for immediate relief while the steroid medication remains to provide your body with much-needed, longer-lasting relief from pain. Many patients find that it is easier to use physical therapy or chiro after an Epidural Steroid Injection—which corresponds with our objective to FIX your back pain issue so you can return to normal movement.
Contact our Red Bank rehabilitation office to learn more about non-surgical options for back pain relief.