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The Connection Between Stress and Back Pain

desk job back painWhen you think of stress, you often associate its effects with mood swings, headaches, or weight fluctuations. However, an overlooked side effect comes in the form of back pain. An extended period of high stress can cause musculoskeletal issues in this region of the body in particular.

Many people will visit a chiropractor for back pain without correlating it with stress. Being aware that it can be a symptom of stress, your doctor of chiropractic can help get you to the root cause of pain.

Regardless of whether you have visited a clinic like our Papakura chiropractor or not, you may be able to relate. People from all walks of life have experienced back pain in some form and point in time, irrespective of age. It can truly interfere with your daily routine by causing things such as difficulty working or trouble sleeping. Not knowing the cause can be frustrating and often leads to an extended period of discomfort. Visiting a chiro may be just what you need to identify the cause and have a recovery plan in place.

Most people assume that the cause of back pain is most likely poor posture or a pulled muscle. However, stress can also be a major factor that negatively affects your musculoskeletal system. Many people are surprised by that and in this article, we’ll explore the topic and how natural chiropractic can help.

How Stress Impacts The Body

Stress will often impact your mental as well as your physical well-being. It is also unavoidable as we all feel stressed from time to time. The key is how you deal with stress and minimise the negative impact it has on your body and mind. There are plenty of options out there, such as seeking chiropractic care, yoga, osteopath, therapy, or a clinical physician.

Your central nervous system (CNS) pulls the strings in regard to your “fight or flight” response. Think of your CNS as the information highway that enables your body to follow your brain’s commands. At our chiropractor South Auckland clinic, the basis of what we do is ensuring that this information highway is proper. Anyhow, the hypothalamus in your brain tells your adrenal glands to release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones will increase your heart rate and send blood rushing to your heart, muscles, and other important organs. When the perceived fear is gone, the alert should simmer and your CNS should go back to normal. However, if the fear doesn’t go away, your stress will persist for an extended period, putting strain on your well-being.

This extended hyper-alert state has a negative impact on your digestive system, respiratory and cardiovascular systems, musculoskeletal, and reproductive systems.

Most living things have the ability to feel stress. Not only does it help keep us alive and away from danger, but also can be a good motivator. On the other hand, if not managed properly, it can lead to emotional instability, anxiety, and physical side effects. Those physical symptoms will range from headaches and migraines, high blood pressure, problems sleeping, or back and neck pain. That is why some patients visit a chiropractor for migraines and headaches or seek chiropractic therapy for back pain.

The Emotional And Mental Symptoms

A 2013 study has shown that even mild stress levels have the ability to impair our emotional control. Essentially causing what we call a rollercoaster of emotions. Furthermore, the study showed that even after being taught cognitive techniques for stress relief, it made little difference short term. When confronted with mild stress one would encounter in daily life, the ability to quickly use these techniques was impaired.

The most common emotional and mental symptoms include:

Anxiety and fear: naturally, it is the mind’s mechanism to activate the “fight or flight” response in the face of danger.

Anger and irritability: you may feel impatient and frustrated during stressful periods. You are more prone to get angry even for minor reasons like something being said or action by someone else.

Insomnia and fatigue: stress keeps your mind and body in a constant state of vigilance which can cause sleepless nights and tiredness.

Depression and lack of motivation: chronic stress can lead to feelings of sadness, and lack of hope and energy that may cause depression.

According to Harvard, exercise is key to helping alleviate stress and the mental and emotional rollercoaster that comes with it. That is due to the endorphins being pumped through your brain. Endorphins are feel-good neurotransmitters that are released in high doses during aerobic exercise, from running to sports like tennis. Of course, you can seek alternative stress management techniques through therapy, chiropractic treatment, mindfulness, and more.

A chiropractor X-ray at an initial consultation can be used to examine your physical state before commencing with exercise.

How Stress Triggers Or Worsens Back Pain

Have you heard your chiropractor, osteopath, or massagist mention that you hold a lot of tension in any specific area? Chronic stress will cause your muscles to be constantly tense. If that stress doesn’t go away, this tension is what leads to headaches, back pain, and body aches. That is the tension that your chiropractor for shoulder pain or other localised pain is referring to.

During periods of high stress, most people tend to stretch and exercise less. Furthermore, sitting for long periods of time at your desk will only strain the spine and your back muscles more. This combination, with stress being the root cause, will trigger or worsen existing back pain.

Moreover, increased muscle tension can lead to poor posture. That is due to the body looking for ways to relieve some of that tension. From slouching to bed rest, it makes the body more susceptible to injury and pain, especially back pain. A back chiropractor can help alleviate some of that pain with regular chiropractic adjustment. Regular stretching, physical therapy, and isolated massages can also help relieve back pain.

The Importance Of Identifying And Addressing The Root Cause

The first thing to be done ahead of treatment is to determine the root cause of any pain you’re feeling. Besides stress, other common reasons behind back pain include lack of exercise, obesity, poor office ergonomics, or an accident.

If you are in Auckland, New Zealand, come visit our chiropractic centre for an initial consultation. Through a full body assessment and conversation, we can help you get to the root cause of the problem. We are conveniently located in Papakura, South Auckland, for people searching for chiropractor Manukau, Takanini, Clevedon, or slightly further away. If you have been in an accident, your costs may be covered as we are a registered ACC chiropractor.

While we’re talking specifically about stress in this article, the cause of psychological and emotional tension is not always obvious. That is something you will have to analyse and take the time to understand yourself. Talking to a therapist, a close friend, or a family member can help get to any deep-rooted emotional tension.

If left unsolved, stress and pain can become an unwanted cycle that only gets worst. Think about it, if stress leads to pain, discomfort only leads to more stress. Unresolved stress will lead to more pain and the cycle never ends. Breaking the cycle is key and while chiropractic services can’t help with emotional stress, they can help with the pain.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help

Throughout, we’ve tried to mention ways a chiropractic practice can be of help. Predominantly, the focus of a top chiropractor is ensuring the connection between the brain and the body is working optimally. Techniques such as spine adjustment help improve nerve function and thus reduce stress levels.

A good chiropractor will also take the time to listen and suggest lifestyle changes depending on how you’re feeling. That may involve some form of physical activity regimen, change of diet, and stress management techniques.

We spoke about the importance of breaking the cycle of stress and pain. Stress can cause pain and vice versa. Thus, certain scenarios out of control can lead to stress and more pain. Take pregnancy for example. While it is a natural and joyful experience, it can be a difficult and stressful time for many soon-to-be mothers. A pregnancy chiropractor can help alleviate that discomfort for the mother as well as the unborn baby through adjustments.

The best chiropractor will look at the cause in order to provide long-term solutions. Our family chiropractic is here to treat patients from all walks of life and experiences. Our doors are welcome without any judgment or bias.

Our chiropractic office is located in Papakura, convenient for all patients seeking treatment in South Auckland. From those searching for a Takanini chiropractor, to Manukua, a Clevedon chiropractor, and surrounding areas.