You may not believe it, but stress may be giving you a bad back. When we’re stressed, our bodies release adrenaline and cortisol, two hormones that make our muscles painfully tight when we experience anxiety or fear. If your back’s been hurting but you haven’t had a recent injury, these tips may just be what your aching back is begging for.
Stop the stress. Several studies have shown that de-stressing strategies like meditation and yoga can help relieve back pain. Meditation can reduce anxiety, fear, and anger while yoga can help with focusing the mind and will gently stretch tense muscles. A 2011 paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that a 12-week yoga program resulted in “greater improvements in back function” over standard treatments.
Start eating clean. What’s on your plate impacts your back and your mind as much as your waistline. A diet that cuts out the junk can diminish back pain by increasing your energy levels and helping with weight loss. Why not try leveling up and going vegetarian? In 2018, medical researchers discovered that a plant-based diet significantly reduced back pain.
Get a good massage. Research has shown a definitive correlation between massage and pain relief. Massage has been proven to increase range of motion and reduce muscle tension. One study determined that back pain sufferers experienced less pain, anxiety, and stress after receiving a massage compared to subjects who simply kicked up their heels and relaxed.
Stretch it out. A good stretch is a great way to de-stress and alleviate back pain. Stretching reduces muscle tension, improves coordination, and increases mobility. A physical therapist can show you how to stretch correctly and recommend exercises you can do at home.
Back pain can be symptomatic of several conditions and should always be taken seriously. Even if you suspect your back pain is caused by stress, it’s a good idea to speak with your healthcare professional. A proper diagnosis can provide relief and get you “back” on track.