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How to Relieve Back Pain Caused by Anxiety

Dear Insight,

I wanted to tell you about something that’s been worrying me a lot lately. I've been dealing with stress lately and started therapy to work through it. But now, I've got this intense back pain that just popped up, adding to the stress. I'm wondering, can stress really cause physical pain in specific parts of the body, or is this a whole different thing I need to tackle separately? Looking forward to your insights.


Dear Michael,

Back pain is something a lot of us deal with these days, and although it is often attributed to physical problems, anxiety may be an underlying factor contributing to this discomfort. Our minds and bodies are totally connected, and figuring out how anxiety can show up as physical pain is key to tackling that achy back.

Anxiety and stress can trigger physical responses in the body, such as muscle tension. The back, being one of the areas most likely to accumulate tension, can become stiff and sore.

Additionally, chronic anxiety can contribute to postural problems and unhealthy habits, aggravating back pain over time.

Fortunately, there are strategies to relieve anxiety-related back pain:

  • Relaxation Practices: Incorporating relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga, can help reduce anxiety and muscle tension. These practices promote general relaxation, relieving the load on the back.
  • Moderate Physical Exercise: Regular physical activity not only benefits mental health by releasing endorphins but also improves muscle strength and flexibility. Exercises such as swimming, pilates, or walking are effective options to relieve back pain.
  • Mindful Posture: Maintaining proper posture is essential to preventing and relieving back pain. Anxiety often contributes to slouched and tense postures. Being aware of posture and making regular adjustments can make a difference.
  • Stress Management: Addressing the source of anxiety is key. Cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and stress management are effective approaches to reducing anxiety and, therefore, associated back pain.
  • Massage and Physical Therapy: Therapeutic massage and physical therapy can relieve muscle tension and improve back mobility. A therapist can offer specific techniques to release built-up tension.
  • Healthy Sleep Habits: Anxiety often affects sleep, and lack of adequate rest can contribute to back pain. Maintaining healthy sleeping habits can improve the quality of your rest and reduce tension.
  • Professional Consultation: If back pain persists, it is important to seek guidance from a health professional. A doctor or physical therapist can perform specific evaluations to determine the cause and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Sorting out back pain linked to anxiety means taking a real-deal approach that looks at both your body and your mind. Understanding how your thoughts connect with how your body feels is crucial.

Throw in some habits that chill out the anxiety, and you're on the right track. This isn't just about easing the back pain – it's about leveling up your whole quality of life.

Remember, therapy is a collaborative process, and your active involvement in finding solutions can make all the difference.

Here are some reputable sources that provide information and resources to help individuals dealing with Stress:

  • If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.
  • Disaster Distress Helpline: CALL or TEXT 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish)
  • The Samaritans for emotional support 24 hours a day - in full confidence. Call 116 123 - it's FREE.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
  • Crisis Text Line: Text "HOME" to 741741

Remember that while these resources can provide valuable information, it's essential to consult with a mental health professional, such as a therapist or psychiatrist, for a personalized assessment and treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. The resources you choose may depend on the severity of your stress and your personal preferences. It's important to find the support that works best for you, whether that's through professional therapy, self-help tools, or a combination of approaches. If your stress is overwhelming or persistent, consider reaching out to a mental health professional for personalized guidance and support.

Disclaimer: The content on this website is for educational purposes only. It should not be considered a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice. Please consult with a qualified mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment.

If you or someone you know is in need of talking to a professional, contact us now to schedule your initial virtual session. You can call us at 888-409-8976 or click HERE to schedule it online.

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