There are many causes of back pain and it is now accepted that back pain can also be the result of stress. This appearance of back pain brought on by stress is now referred to as tension myositis syndrome, or TMS. Dr. John Sarno, who practices and teaches physical medicine and rehabilitation at New York University, coined the term and has been researching stress and back pain. It is thought that back pain is either the result of stress or that the stress is maintaining an already present back issue. When stress is a factor in back pain, the diagnosis is considered psychological or psychosomatic in nature. Back pain from stress can be caused by tension in the spinal muscles from stressors. Back pain can also be caused by anxiety and changes in posture and body mechanics during episodes of stress. It is important for the patient to realize that although the symptoms are physical, the treatment plan for dealing with the back pain needs to include a focus on the stress as treatment will not be physically successful if the stress remains.
Manage Stressful Situations
Many people will visit a chiropractic physician when experiencing back pain. It is important when discussing lifestyle habits to communicate information about personal stress levels, to make it known that stress is affecting daily activities. A physical examination will be able to rule out other causes of the back pain and a treatment plan will be made that takes stress into account. Along with chiropractic manipulation, massage therapy and heat and icing can be included in offering relaxation and inflammation reduction to the tense muscles of the body. Counseling will include recommendations for regular exercise, a stretching and strengthening program, proper nutrition advice and information in helping to cope and manage stressful situations that cannot be avoided. Activities such as yoga and meditation will be discussed as ways to reduce the amount of stress physically impacting the body. It is important to recognize your physical and emotional limits as well, knowing and accepting what you can and cannot do can greatly decrease your stress level. When dealing with situations that are beyond your control, it will be physically beneficial to your body to accept these circumstances and find ways to accomplish difficult tasks in a healthy, less stressful manner. In most cases, when stressors are discovered and reduced, back pain will diminish and you will be able to avoid future back pain by working on managing the stress in your life.
References Cited in this Article
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