Have you ever had a super stressful week and found yourself more tight and achey than normal?
It isn’t uncommon for someone to tell me they carry their stress in their neck and shoulders, and many people do, but all of us carry stress in other parts of the body as well.
In fact, when someone is under increased stress from work, family issues or even illness, the are at more risk for injury, specifically back injury, than when they are not under stress.
Experts also believe stress may make us more sensitive to pain, meaning back pain might feel worse when we’re stressed out, even if nothing else has changed.
As a Personal Trainer I have worked with many, many clients with back pain. Some have dealt with pain on and off for years, and some experienced an incident or injury that resulted in pain.
Either way, it isn’t unusual for a client to come in and say her back is hurting worse than usual all of a sudden, and for no apparent reason.
When I ask if she is under more stress than normal, she almost always answers “yes.”
And there we have a likely reason why the back pain has suddenly flared up.
Mental and physical stress cannot be separated. The body reacts to stress in a number of ways, and sometimes we aren’t even fully aware of it.
What this means is, treating back pain will take a multifaceted approach.
A combination of stretching, tension release through massage or foam rolling, as well as stress management techniques.
If you are suffering with persistent back pain, you might need a talk therapist as much as a physical therapist.
Exercise can be a good way to release stress, but more gentle methods like yoga, walking and functional strength training are a better choice than running or high intensity activity when dealing with back pain.
If your back hurts and you aren’t sure why, it could be that you’re stressed out. Reducing stress as well as reliving tightness and tension can do wonders for relieving pain and improving quality of life.