Stress-related back pain is a relatively modern diagnosis although the concept of muscular pain caused by tension is not a new one. Stress of both the physical and psychological sort can make the painful symptoms of any injury worse but 'stress-related back pain' is a term used for pain caused by stress above all other factors.
Stress-related back pain is thought to relate to this tension. You may have read that back pain can be caused by muscle spasm in the back. This spasm is worsened by tension in the muscles and is a target for interventions such as stretches to the back and physiotherapy.
Stress could trigger pain in the back by creating tension and spasm in the back muscles but then can also be a part of a vicious cycle of worsening back pain. Individuals suffering from daily stress are more likely to avoid gentle exercise and relaxation. As the back pain manifests itself, some people will choose to withdraw from exercise altogether or work longer and harder as the pain limits productivity.
The key to beating back pain is identifying the vicious cycle and taking action to break it. Key to this is reducing stress levels but also increasing light activity, stretching and other exercises. For many people, stress starts at work. When trying to make a change at work thinking beyond just the workload and the obvious psychological stress, ensure you also consider the physical stress your job. If you work at a desk - ensure you're on a good ergonomic chair, perhaps you need a footrest, perhaps your computer screen is too high or too small?
Almost all pain is made worse by stress and back pain in particular can respond to a concerted effort to beat this vicious cycle. Make lots of small changes to your work and lifestyle and you'll be on your way to beating back pain.
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