**Stress and Back Pain
-Challenging environments could result in stress and back pain.
-Psychological and emotional factors can cause some type of physical change resulting in the back pain.
**Stress and Pain
-People with back pain may become limited in many functions of daily life, as well as leisure activities
-This decrease in activities is due to their fear of the pain and injury
-This fear may be made worse by admonitions from doctors (and/or family and friends) to “take it easy” due to some structural --diagnosis (which may actually have nothing to do with the back pain)
-The limitations in movement and activity lead to physical de-conditioning and muscle weakening, which in turn leads to more back pain
-This may result in more pain, more fear, and more physical de-conditioning along with other reactions such as social isolation, depression, and anxiety.
**Can Stress Cause Back Pain?
-Your body deals with stressful events by launching a fight-or-flight response.
-This is a natural reaction to stress that prepares your body to flee a high-risk situation or tackle a perceived threat.
-During this response, a few things happen: your body releases a stress hormone called cortisol; your blood pressure and heart rate increase; your body increases its production of adrenaline, which gives you energy and muscles tighten, ready for action
-Being in a state of constant stress or chronic stress causes muscles to be tense and taut for an extended period, which can lead to back pain as well as headaches, according to the American Psychological Association.
-The mind and the body are connected and it is well documented that psychological diagnoses such as depression and anxiety can make back pain stress worse.
The inverse is also true; an increase in pain can worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety.
-A holistic approach to mental health and spine care is important when addressing back pain, particularly in people who have psychiatric diagnoses.
**The Relaxation Response
-The relaxation response is the rest and digest part of the nervous system.
-It basically undoes the work of the stress response after a stressful situation.
-The relaxation response happens when we feel safe, nurtured or taken care of.
-It can block effects from your body’s response to stress.
-This is good for your mental and physical health.
**Effective Relaxation Techniques
-The most effective relaxation technique is one that works for you!
-Different relaxation techniques will help different people at different times.
-What works for you this week, may not work next week.
-But it might work again next month.
-Our needs vary and so it’s important to have a toolbox of relaxation techniques to help you on a regular basis.