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Stress And Chronic Back or Neck Pain

There are differing opinions on how stress can affect pain. However, most experts agree that stress can exacerbate chronic pain. So, if you suffer from chronic pain in the back or neck, finding a way to reduce the stress in your life may help.

stress and chronic pain back or neck pain

Worry-Pain Downward Spiral

One theory on how stress can affect pain can be thought of as a downward spiral. Oftentimes, people in pain worry, or stress, about ways they may make it worse. They may get advice from doctors or friends to avoid strenuous activities, and rest more. As the individual rests more, their body becomes weaker. As their muscles become weaker, this can lead to more stress on their spine, aggravating the condition that causes the pain. The increased pain causes the individual to be more concerned about their condition. They may then become less active, possibly isolating themselves and worrying more about their condition. The lack of activity further weakens their muscles and the downward spiral continues.

The Physical Effects of Stress

Other theories on the relationship between chronic pain and stress are related to the physical affect on your body from stress. As you become stressed, your body reacts physically. One of these reactions is increased tension in your muscles. If you are under stress a lot, this prolonged tension in your muscles can lead to aches and pains.

Stress and Chronic Back or Neck Pain

Stress can only exacerbate chronic back or neck pain. So, if you suffer from chronic pain in the lower back or neck area, it might help to take a look at the stress in your life. See if there are areas where you can reduce your stress. While some stress may be unavoidable, here are some tips that may help reduce the stress in your life.

  • Take breaks to clear your head. Taking a short walk will help you clear your head and get some physical activity as well.
  • Remove yourself from stressful situations if possible.
  • Lean on your family and friends for support. Sometimes just talking about a situation can help you deal with it.
*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery