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Lower Back Stress Pain? Time to Reduce Stress!

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Does your back hurt from lower back stress pain?  Many women experience back pain to one extreme or another.  Some have it only occasionally while others struggle with chronic and consistent lower back pain.

The causes of back pain are varied and probably as personal as the pain itself. But there are also many common causes of lower back pain that people experience.  It could be from disk problems to arthritis to small stresses and injuries.  For some however, the cause of their back pain may actually be stress. 

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How so?

Mental and emotional stress can take quite a toll on the body.  If you’re stressed because of anxiety, remember that the body cannot function on high alert for long, extended periods of time. 

When you’re anxious your brain works overtime to assess what it perceives as a threat .  Your  heart may be pounding harder to produce more blood which it sends to the muscles in case of a confrontation.

Those muscles also react to stress and anxiety by tensing up, readying for that possible confrontation.  When you’re tense for any length of time, these muscles soon become very painful.  Think of what happens if you keep your fist clenched around anything for more than a moment or so – your fist soon starts to ache! 

All of this applies to your lower back muscles as well.  When you’re stressed, anxious, frustrated, angry, irritated, or feeling negative emotions of any type you might find that you also have some pain in your back.  This is because those muscles are tensing up in case there’s a confrontation. 

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Tense Muscles Cause Pain

lower back stress pain

If those muscles are kept tense for any length of time, there will be pain.  Muscles that are tense cannot get proper blood and oxygen flow.  Also, they are working harder and for a longer period of time than they’re supposed to work.

Stress can have a negative impact on the body in many ways.  It can cause heart problems and shortness of breath.  It can even cause serious conditions such as shingles or high blood pressure.  But it can also cause extreme lower back pain. 

lower back stress painSo if you have pain in your back and also know that you’re stressed, anxious, or frustrated, it’s time to take a step back and work at relaxing.  Force yourself to breathe deeply  and do whatever else might help to calm you. 

For instance,  a soak in a hot bath or an evening out with some friends.  No stress in the world is worth having constant pain in your lower back!

Preventing Stress and Lower back Pain

lower back stress pain

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just take a pill that makes us immune to stress and anxiety? And wouldn’t it be great if we could flip a switch that shuts off all the problems and stresses of the world?

That would be nice but since that isn’t likely to happen, we need to do whatever we can to keep stress under control.  We can’t always control what happens to us, but we stop ourselves from reacting in a way that damages us physically.

Sometimes we don’t recognize stress because we’re so used to it.  For instance, our job has always been stressful; our family life has always been less than ideal.  But being mindful of stress is the first step toward preventing it from triggering lower back stress pain.

Learning new ways of looking at things may be key to preventing your anxiety from overwhelming you.  Your job may be less than thrilling and your home life might difficult but you can still work on not letting the small things bother you.

Truth is, no one has a perfect situation and coping with stress and anxiety is just part of life in this world as we know it.  Many anxieties and stresses become overwhelming because they can trigger negative thinking.  Focusing on small things to be thankful for is the anti-dote.

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Exercise is important

lower back stress pain

When it comes to lower back stress pain, exercise may be essential.  Exercise releases endorphins, those “feel good” chemicals that help us to feel relaxed and happy.  It also increases blood flow and oxygen flow which also help to boost your mood. 

Regular physical activity can keep your weight under control as well. Getting out of an unhealthy rut can help you feel positive and happy as well.

Another benefit to exercising when you have lower back stress pain is that exercise will force those muscles to stretch.  Stretching encourages blood flow and circulation in the area of the lower back.  This too will help it to relax and be pain free. 

Even a simple walk around the block or quick bike ride can be really helpful.  They can help relieve tension and stress which makes those lower back muscles feel loose and relaxed.

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What to avoid for lower back pain caused by stress

lower back stress painWhen you feel stressed and overwhelmed it’s all too easy to drown that anxiety in alcohol or other substances.  It can also be easy to take your anger and frustration out on others with yelling and fits of temper. 

These things of course won’t help your stress go away and can make the physical pain you feel even worse.  When you are angry and yelling your heart races unnaturally and your muscles tense up even more.

Learning effective ways of dealing with stress and anxiety is the only real solution to being as pain free as possible, and this includes lower back stress pain!

Home Remedies For Lower Back Stress Pain

Now that you know the relationship between stress and lower back pain you may have a better understanding of how to prevent and treat it in the first place.  Short answer: Reduce your stress!

Heat can work wonders to ease lower back Stress Pain

Why does heat relieve so much pain in the body?  Simply put, heat draws blood to that area of the body where heat is applied and blood delivers important nutrients and healing elements. 

office massage chairWhen you apply heat to your muscles they relax because the increased blood flow forces them to “unclench” themselves, and this can be especially important for stress and lower back pain.

If you’re at work all day see if you can somehow arrange a heating pad behind you for the duration of the day.  When you notice your back getting tense, lean back and stay that way for a few minutes so that the heat has a chance to work.

While they’re not scorching hot, heating pads can still be dangerous to the bare skin.  Never sleep on top of one or turn it up too high.  Keep a piece of cloth between your skin and the heating pad – if it doesn’t have its own cover be sure to use a thin towel, sheet, or shirt.

shower massageMoist heat can also help the body to relax as the moisture loosens the muscles and skin as well.  You can get a thin towel or washcloth wet and put it between the heating pad and your back.

A hot shower or bath can also go a long way toward relieving that pressure.  A shower massage especially can work those muscles like a massage and force them to loosen up and keep the pain at bay.

Stretching For Stress and Lower Back Pain

lower back stress pain

When stress causes those back muscles to clamp up sometimes you need to force them to relax so as to cut down on the pain.  Stretching your back and your sides is a great way to reduce your lower back stress pain.

But…proceed with caution!  If you overextend yourself then you’re going to do more damage.  It’s also important to make sure that you’re stretching properly so that you don’t put added stress on your back. 

Usually it’s best to sit on the floor and put your hands behind you and just stretch your back slightly.  This will give it support as you pull those muscles loose.  Moving forward carefully and slowly until your body is extended out in front of you can also loosen those muscles. 

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Flexion and extension

stretching for flexibility

When it comes to stretching, flexion means bending forward and extension means moving backwards.  When you stretch forward you are relieving pressure on the vertebrae and creating more space between them which helps to alleviate the pressure and grinding that is common with back pain. 

Sometimes just standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and bending straight forward to touch your toes can help to alleviate back pressure and lower back stress pain. 

You need to watch your posture even as you do this. Make sure you’re not curling yourself up and putting more pressure on your spine.  If done right, a simple stretch like this can help to loosen those tight and sore muscles.

When bending backwards you also need to watch your posture and make sure you don’t overextend.  Some have a tendency to think of a particular area they want to touch or span they want to reach, but you need to be mindful of your body’s own flexibility. 

Exercise for stress and lower back pain

exercise for stress relief

Does anyone really like to exercise?  Sure, there are some who do but not everyone is like this.  Most people see exercise as a chore to be dreaded.  What’s your view? Would you rather spend your free time stretched out in your favorite chair in front of the television or movie screen?

There are innumerable benefits to regular physical activity regardless of your physical situation.  Exercise increases blood circulation and the blood is what brings nutrition and oxygen to every cell in the body. 

The digestive system, skin, bones, and major organs all benefit in this way from increased blood circulation.  Because the heart and lungs work harder when exercised they become stronger.  That means you become less likely to suffer from asthma, shortness of breath, heart disease, and similar conditions. 

Regular exercise also helps to keep your weight under control and there are many benefits to being at a healthy weight as well. Guess what? Exercise also helps with stress and lower back pain. 

Regular exercise can help you prevent lower back stress pain in the first place.  How so?

The connection between stress, excess weight, and lower back pain

how to stop cortisol weight gain

The first connection has to do with your weight.  Excess body weight means more stress and strain on the back.  Why? Because your back needs to work harder to move that weight around and to keep the body steady and upright. 

If you carry around a few extra pounds, your posture may suffer quite a bit.  Excessive weight pulls you forward, and this too keeps the lower back muscles tense and painful.

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Exercising keeps your back muscles loose and relaxed.  When you walk or cycle or do any low-impact exercise along those lines, the back muscles are worked and forced to loosen up.  This makes them more relaxed and less likely to be pulled or cramped.

Lower back muscles also become much stronger when exercised, just as other muscles in the body do as well.  When the back muscles are stronger they’re more resistant to stress, pulls, tears, and overuse.  Regular exercise is good for the back muscles and can help to alleviate lower back stress pain.

What will YOU do?

Which remedy will you try to alleviate lower back stress pain – Heat, stretching, shower massage, low-impact exercise?  Whichever remedy you choose, make sure to tackle the root cause as well and get your stress under control.

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