Many of us suffer from back problems – stress can play a significant role in causing this pain or exacerbating an underlying condition. It’s important to get consistent or severe back pain checked out as soon as possible by a doctor; once it has been determined that stress is the cause, then there are many steps that you can take to resolve the problem. Use the tips below to help ease your stress and relieve your discomfort.
1. Stretch It Out
One of the best ways to relieve back pain caused by stress is to stretch regularly. Stretching is a great way to calm the mind and release tension in the muscles, helping you to move more easily and without stiffness. A lovely stretch to ease the muscles and soothe the mind is the Yoga pose called ‘Child’s Pose.’
To achieve Child’s Pose, start with your hands and knees on the floor, and then gently sink your hips back until your bottom is resting on your heels. Walk your hands out in front of you until your tummy is resting on your thighs. Stretch your arms out in front of you (or beside you) with your palms facing up, focus on your breathing, and hold for about one minute. This stretch can be performed alone or incorporated into a regular yoga routine.
The seated spinal twist stretch is perfect for doing at your desk and will help to reduce any tension in your spine that could be causing discomfort. Sit straight, positioned near the front of your seat, and then rotate your body to the right; if you feel comfortable doing so, you can hold onto your leg or the chair to pull yourself into a deeper stretch. Hold for a couple of seconds and then release, return to center, and do the same on the other side.
2. Check Your Mattress
If you’re not sleeping on the right mattress, then this can both cause back pain and aggravate existing discomfort caused by stress. Consider choosing a customized mattress, which is crafted to support you and provide the optimum level of comfort to help you sleep properly; you can read more here about this option, including the facility to tailor your mattress to fit the needs of both you and your partner, to ensure you both get a sound night’s sleep. For extra peace of mind, these customized mattresses come with a ten-year warranty and offer a one hundred day sleep trial (and if you’re not totally satisfied with it, the mattress will be collected from your home and recycled), so you can be totally confident about your purchase.
Orthopedic mattresses are also widely available, designed specifically for those suffering from backaches – they work by ensuring the joints are supported during sleep, which keeps pressure off the spine. Mattresses usually need to be replaced after about ten years, so if your mattress is older than this, then it may not be providing the support you need, thereby exacerbating stress-related back issues.
3. Easeful Exercise
If you’re suffering with your back, exercise may be the last thing you want to do. However, regular exercise releases endorphins – the happy hormones – into your bloodstream, helping to release stress and promote a positive frame of mind, which could help the problem, as well as make you feel better.
Try gentle exercises that stretch the muscles, like yoga or tai-chi. Both of these options are focused on calming the mind, too. Swimming is also another excellent form of exercise to help you feel good and ease the tension in your body caused by stress and anxiety. The water supports the joints and spine, allowing you to move more easily, even if you feel stiffness in your back.
Other simple exercises can be undertaken at home that will provide relief from a sore back, too. Knee rolls are particularly effective: lie on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent, and then slowly roll your knees to the right and hold for two seconds. Return to center, and then do the same on the other side before returning to the center once more.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Although many practical things can be done to help with back pain caused by stress, tackling the source of the problem – the stress itself – is vital for the wellness of the body and mind.
Mindfulness is an effective, holistic solution that can be, with a little practice, easily incorporated into your day-to-day lives. You may wish to find out more about mindfulness online or join an online or in-person course to learn about the practice and to help you get started.
Mindfulness is, basically, about being present in and appreciating the moment, rather than allowing racing thoughts to distract us and perpetually generate anxiety; linked to this, it’s concerned with being grounded in our world and open to the experiences and wonders available to us every day.
If you would like to begin a mindful practice, you may like to start with a simple exercise. Find somewhere quiet to sit where you won’t be disturbed for five minutes or so. Seat yourself comfortably, close your eyes, and focus on how your body feels and the movement of your breath. If your mind wanders, notice that this has happened, and then bring it back to the present moment; it’s very important not to be self-critical when this happens, even if it does so frequently. With practice, you will get used to sitting quietly with yourself like this and, over time, find that your mind will be still for longer periods without you needing to redirect it.
Mindfulness can be incorporated into virtually every element of your life; when you’re eating, do so without the distraction of the tv or while scrolling on your phone. Appreciate the taste and textures of the food, chew slowly, and appreciate the meal; this will also help you to recognize your tummy’s ‘full’ signals in good time. When you’re out on a walk, try to resist letting your mind worry about all the jobs you need to do when you get home; instead, focus on the smell of Autumn leaves hanging in the air or notice the shape of the clouds in the sky.
5. Seeking Help
If you’re finding that stress is impinging on your daily life or that your quality of life is being adversely affected by stress and anxiety, then it’s important to speak with a healthcare professional to get the support you need. Your doctor will be able to provide advice and guidance about the next steps needed to get you back on track.