Strictly speaking, stressors are defined as any internal or external factors that affect the function of an item. In the case of your body, that could be physical stress and/or psychological stress.
Dr. John S. Michels is a pain management specialist with a thriving practice in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. He’s an award-winning physician and former NFL champion with personal as well as professional experience in overcoming stress and its effects on your overall well-being.
Recognized as one of the best doctors in Dallas by patients and colleagues, Dr. Michels is passionate about delivering truly effective treatment solutions that eliminate pain while addressing the underlying cause of your discomfort.
Find out what he has to say about stress and how it’s linked to the most common pain complaint of all — back pain.
Physical stressors that affect your back
Your back is a complex system of tendons, ligaments, muscles, bones, and spinal nerves that play an integral part in every move you make. Even sitting perfectly still requires cooperation from your back.
Its structural complexity and significant contribution to your daily activities also makes your back vulnerable to a wide variety of conditions that cause pain. Some of the physical stressors linked to back pain include:
- Muscle, tendon, and/or ligament strain and injury
- Nerve irritation and inflammation
- Bone and joint-related abnormalities such as arthritis or osteoporosis
- Structural defects such as scoliosis
- Narrowing (stenosis) of the spinal canal
- Excess weight
- Physical inactivity and deconditioning
- Reduced strength and flexibility of your core muscle groups
- Poor posture
Overuse injuries sustained during work and/or sports injuries may also stress your back and lead to ongoing pain.
How does psychological stress cause back pain?
Your body tends to interpret stressful emotions as a physical emergency. This causes your heart to beat faster, your blood pressure to rise, and a release of various hormones that prepare you for flight or fight when faced with stressful situations.
Your muscles, especially those in your back, abdomen, arms, and legs, also respond to this bodywide alert by tensing in preparation for quick movement. Once the stress passes, these physical reactions level off and return to normal.
Unfortunately, many people experience ongoing stress related to work concerns, worry over the future, relationship issues, and other concerns.
Because your body reacts to anxiety over your bills in the same way it responds to fear linked to physical danger, chronic stress can keep your muscles persistently tense and tight. This eventually causes pain.
Tension-type headaches, for instance, are often linked to stress-related muscle strain in your neck and upper back. Lower back pain is often traced to psychological stress.
Sometimes even the anxiety over experiencing another bout of back pain after recovering from an injury can lead to muscle tightness that results in discomfort.
How do you treat back pain related to stress?
As part of his patient-first approach to medicine, Dr. Michels focuses on relieving your pain and addressing the underlying issue.
A successful treatment strategy, therefore, requires a thorough investigation of your symptoms and evaluation of your habits and medical conditions responsible for your discomfort. He then designs a comprehensive plan that’s tailored to fit your needs.
For outstanding care and relief from the stressors responsible for your back pain, schedule a visit with Dr. Michels today. Call our office or request your appointment online.