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Stress Related Back Pain: Diagnosis and Treatment

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Image of Businesswoman Having Backache At Work. Chronic back pain can be hard to manage and even harder to diagnose. Struggling with stress can often lead to a vicious cycle of pain, making it difficult for you and your family to live a healthy, happy life. The severity of your back pain can make it impossible to live life to its fullest. Even the simplest activities can cause immense discomfort. You shouldn't have to sacrifice your quality of life because of back pain. At A Family Chiropractic Center, our experienced team provides stress related back pain diagnosis and treatment that will get you back on track towards a happy, healthy lifestyle. With our personalized approach and care, we'll help you get out of this vicious cycle and enjoy life again - worry free!

Back pain causes thousands of Americans stress each day. Not only is it painful but it can severely limit a person’s ability to work and enjoy life. For some people, the pain is so intense that it diminishes their quality of life. However, a new approach to stress and back pain is turning this all around. The physical effects of stress on your body could actually be causing you back pain. Of course this starts a vicious cycle of stress causing pain that causes more stress.

Stress related back pain is real. Many people may not even realize that stress is the cause of their back pain. It’s called Tension Myositis Syndrome and it’s a very real condition that likely plagues more people than we know. A Family Chiropractic Clinic in Denton, Texas is familiar with TMS and how it can impact your life.

How Stress Causes Back Pain

The theory behind Tension Myositis Syndrome states that patients with stress have physical changes in their body that contributes to back pain. Research has long shown the negative effects of stress on the human body. As science and medicine advance, we get a clearer picture of just how much stress affects us physically.

When under stress, the blood vessels throughout your body constrict. This reduces the blood flow to muscles and other tissues of your body. The decreased blood flow directly results in decreased oxygen levels in muscles and other body tissues. The decreased blood flow also causes biochemical waste to build up in the muscles. All of this stress based activity ultimately leads to muscle tension, spasms, and back pain.

Stress related back pain is not necessarily caused by stress. In most TMS theories the pain begins by from any cause. The pain then leads to the individual becoming anxious and stressed about their daily activities. This is because they are limited in their physical functions throughout their daily life. The decrease in activity is due to the pain and fear of increasing pain or worsening the injury. Fears are worsened by the idea that they need to relax while they allow their back to heal so the pain can subside. However, the limitations in activity actually lead to more muscle weakening which results in more pain. More pain causes more stress, anxiety, and depression, which also further worsen the condition.

It is easy to find yourself trapped in an endless cycle of pain and stress from which there seems to be no escape. The best way to successfully break the cycle and take back your life is to seek out diagnosis and treatment.

Diagnosing Stress Related Back Pain

The first thing your doctor will do is conduct a thorough exam to rule out any other serious spinal problems. Before diagnosing stress back pain, your doctor first needs rule out any other issues.  They need to establish that the pain isn’t due to any other issues such as infection, tumor, or a degenerated disc. Once your doctor excludes the other possibilities, they will consider stress related back pain.

The symptoms of stress related back pain are actually quite comparable to fibromyalgia. They include back and neck pain, muscle aches, tender points on muscles, sleep disturbance and fatigue. Many people complain that just moving around is painful.

Treatment Options for Stress Related Back Pain

There are two primary ways to treat stress related back pain. Most doctors choose to use the multidisciplinary approach. This combines therapies to evaluate and address the cognitive, emotional, physical, and environmental issues that the patient is experiencing. Each contributing factor has a corresponding development plan. Physical factors are treated by re-activation via physical therapy or medications such as muscle relaxers. Emotional factors are treated by medication such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. Cognitive factors are treated by psychological pain management techniques. Environmental factors are treated by counseling or therapy sessions. Multidisciplinary treatment is up to the patient to complete. The multidisciplinary approach is a full rehabilitation treatment and the success is based upon the determination of the individual.

The other approach is through psychotherapy. With psychotherapy the patient processes their rage, anger, and stress. They acknowledge that the pain is a result of their stress and other issues and work through those issues to reduce and treat the pain. It emphasizes focus on psychological and emotional factors rather than including the other factors listed above. More specifically, it focuses on repressed feelings of anger and rage as the contributing factors to the back pain. Patients diagnosed with TMS are told to think of the pain to be more psychological than physical. Patients are encouraged to accept the stress related back pain and get psychotherapy to address the deeper, unconscious issues.

The most important thing is to learn how you can break the pain cycle and take back control over your life.

If you have any questions about stress related back pain, please call A Family Chiropractic Clinic in Denton, Texas at (940) 566-0000.