Physical strain isn’t the only thing that can leave you complaining of back pain. Psychological troubles, such as chronic stress or depression, can play a significant role in the severity of back problems and other physical ailments. Achieving back pain relief, then, may be secondary to uncovering and addressing the underlying sources of psychological stress.
Simply recognizing that stress may be at the root of your problem can help provide some back pain relief. Though many sources of stress seem unavoidable – work, bills, family responsibilities and other demands at home – you have more control over your stress levels than you may think.
- Start by identifying your sources of stress. The biggest ones aren’t always obvious. You may need to spend some time examining your habits and attitude. Do you constantly make excuses for your sources of stress or blame your stress on external factors? By accepting responsibility for the stress in your life, you can begin to control it.
- Examine how you currently cope with stress. Habits such as overeating, smoking, procrastinating, or taking your stress out on others will only do more harm than good in the long run.
- Learn healthier ways of responding to stress. In some cases, you may be able to change the situation by avoiding the stressor. Other times, you will have to change the way you react to the stressful situation.
The following strategies can help reduce your stress levels and assist your other approaches to back pain relief.
- Learn to say no in both your personal and professional lives when someone demands too much of you. Taking on more than you can handle because you feel obligated will only add to the amount of stress in your life.
- Re-examine your to-do list. If you have items on your to-do list – whether on paper or just in your head – because you feel you “should” do them, ask yourself if they are truly necessary. Simply letting go of tasks you have no intention of or interest in completing can be a huge stress relief.
- Express your feelings in a constructive manner. If something is bothering you, keeping it bottled up will only cause resentment and stress to build.
- Learn to manage your time. Plan each day in advance so you can spend your time being productive instead of reacting to whatever comes across your desk. Prioritize your tasks and tackle the most important ones first.
- Stop multitasking. Focusing on one thing at a time will help you feel calmer and less scattered.
- Start to unwind at least an hour before bedtime by turning off the TV or the computer.
- Try different relaxation techniques. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to relaxation, so learn what works best for you. Some people may feel calmer when they go for a walk, work in the garden, play with their pets, curl up with a good book, take a bath, or listen to music.
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Exercising regularly, avoiding excess caffeine, and eating a healthy diet are all good for your psychological health and your back.