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Can Anxiety Cause Lower Back Pain

Can Stress Cause Back Pain

Anxiety Back Pain Explained & Relief!

01-29-21 – Back Pain, Health & Wellness

Short answer Yes! Although many sources of back pain are caused by mechanical stresses, or due to imbalances in muscles or alignment, excessive force on a shock-absorbing disc, or overuse and repetitive activity, each of these painful conditions are influenced by our emotional state.

What Structures Make Up The Back

The lower backwhere most back pain occursincludes the five vertebrae in the lumbar region, which supports much of the weight of the upper body. The spaces between the vertebrae are maintained by round, rubbery pads called intervertebral discs that act like shock absorbers throughout the spinal column to cushion the bones as the body moves. Bands of tissue known as ligaments hold the vertebrae in place, and tendons attach the muscles to the spinal column. Thirty-one pairs of nerves are rooted to the spinal cord and they control body movements and transmit signals from the body to the brain.

Other regions of vertebrate are cervical , thoracic , and sacral and coccygeal segments.

Low Back Pain Fact Sheet

If you have had lower back pain, you are not alone. Back pain is one of most common reasons people see a doctor or miss days at work. Even school-age children can have back pain.

Back pain can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp or shooting pain. It can begin suddenly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy, or it can develop over time as we age. Getting too little exercise followed by a strenuous workout also can cause back pain.

There are two types of back pain:

  • Acute, or short-term back pain lasts a few days to a few weeks. Most low back pain is acute. It tends to resolve on its own within a few days with self-care and there is no residual loss of function. In some cases a few months are required for the symptoms to disappear.
  • Chronic back pain is defined as pain that continues for 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of acute low back pain has been treated. About 20 percent of people affected by acute low back pain develop chronic low back pain with persistent symptoms at one year. Even if pain persists, it does not always mean there is a medically serious underlying cause or one that can be easily identified and treated. In some cases, treatment successfully relieves chronic low back pain, but in other cases pain continues despite medical and surgical treatment.

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Total Chiropractic Can Help Improve Your Overall Health

Dr. Todd Goldman of Total Chiropractic Care has the years of experience and tools at his disposal to improve your spinal health, and as a result, improve your overall health and well-being. Our Medford office includes state of the art equipment, an extensive list of offered services beyond spinal adjustments, and are dedicated to helping our patients beyond the confines of our offices. Reach out to us and start getting more out of your day, every day.

What Does Stress Do To A Womans Body

The link between stress and back pain

Pain in the back and neck, headaches, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, skin problems, drug and alcohol misuse, lack of energy, upset stomach, less interest in sex, and depression are some of the symptoms of headaches.

Feelings of guilt

    low self esteem feelings of worthlessness inability to cope with lifes challenges loss of confidence in ones ability to do the right thing fear of being rejected by a romantic partner worry about the future

  • Thoughts of suicide or harming oneself
  • Suicidal ideation
  • or thoughts about hurting or killing oneself.

  • Feeling that one is not good enough or worthy of love

These symptoms may be present at any time during the menstrual cycle, but they are more likely to occur at the end of the cycle when the body is most vulnerable to the effects of hormonal changes, such as the release of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone from the pituitary gland.

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Can Back Pain Be Prevented

Recurring back pain resulting from improper body mechanics may be prevented by avoiding movements that jolt or strain the back, maintaining correct posture, and lifting objects properly. Many work-related injuries are caused or aggravated by stressors such as heavy lifting, contact stress , vibration, repetitive motion, and awkward posture.Recommendations for keeping ones back healthy

What Does It Mean If Your Back Hurts Out Of Nowhere

How does this happen? And how can we experience different types of back pain when nothing is physically wrong? The answer lies in what we now know about the science of pain. Have you ever heard the expression its all in your head? Think again. All pain is REAL. The source of pain may not be something physical, like a muscle strain or a ligament sprain. How pain is felt is influenced by our past experiences, memories, and even our fears.

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Fractured Or Broken Bone

Despite pain, sometimes theres no outward sign that youve fractured or broken a bone in your arm or wrist.

A broken bone in your arm, wrist, or hand can cause pain that gets worse when you move. Other symptoms include swelling and numbness. Its possible to have a bone fracture or break in your arm or wrist even though your arm appears normal.

Can The Chiropractor Help With Anxiety

Emotional Stress and Back Pain

Yes, chiropractic care may help with anxiety, chronic worry and excessive thinking. Chiropractors have a long history of treating anxiety and other mental health conditions.

In fact, the first chiropractor in the U.S. was a German immigrant named Dr. Hermann Ziegler, who opened his first clinic in New York City in 1884. is the largest and most influential organization dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of the profession and its members.

For more information, visit

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Select Your Sleep Position Wisely

Weve just shown you how to tame back tension when youre awake. What about while you sleep? Often times, the back pain you wake up with is due to a poor sleep position during the night.

For most people with problematic backs, sleeping on your back is the healthiest sleep position. When you sleep on your back, your weight is evenly distributed and your spine is properly aligned, so you can rest easy and wake up to a pain-free morning. For extra relief, place a pillow underneath your knees. This trick will take the stress off of your spine.

If youre a diehard side sleeper, you can help your back relax by putting a pillow between your knees. The pillow works to keep your hips, pelvis, and spine in better alignment. If theres a gap between your waist and the mattress, place a small pillow or rolled-up towel there for added support.

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What Can Cause Lower Back Pain

Most acute low back pain is mechanical in nature, meaning that there is a disruption in the way the components of the back fit together and move. Some examples of mechanical causes of low back pain include:


  • Skeletal irregularities such as scoliosis , lordosis , kyphosis , and other congenital anomalies of the spine.
  • Spina bifida which involves the incomplete development of the spinal cord and/or its protective covering and can cause problems involving malformation of vertebrae and abnormal sensations and even paralysis.


  • Sprains , strains , and spasms
  • Traumatic Injury such as from playing sports, car accidents, or a fall that can injure tendons, ligaments, or muscle causing the pain, as well as compress the spine and cause discs to rupture or herniate.

Degenerative problems

  • Intervertebral disc degeneration which occurs when the usually rubbery discs wear down as a normal process of aging and lose their cushioning ability.
  • Spondylosis the general degeneration of the spine associated with normal wear and tear that occurs in the joints, discs, and bones of the spine as people get older.
  • Arthritis or other inflammatory disease in the spine, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as spondylitis, an inflammation of the vertebrae.

Nerve and spinal cord problems

Non-spine sources

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Is Stress Causing Your Back Pain

For those familiar with the trappings of stress and anxiety, emotional strain and mental tension can be all too consuming. Before we know it, physical symptoms present themselves too and manifest in a multitude of ways. Be it compromised immune health, poor digestion or neck and back pain, we often pay a painful price for prolonged stress. I am here to talk about stress, how it can influence physical symptoms like back pain, and what you can do to ease any discomfort.

The Psychology Of Low Back Pain

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ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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Low back pain is the second most common cause of disability in the U.S. Over 80% of people will experience an episode of this pain at some point in their lives. The most common reasons for low back pain are disc injuries, sciatica, lifting heavy objects, or some other non-specific back injury.

Yet even though back pain is incredibly common, not all people respond in the same way to this often-disabling condition. In fact, even if two people have the same level of pain, their responses to that pain can be very different. These differing responses are due in part to different peoples psychological attitudes and outlooks.

Even when you have low back pain that is being medically treated, it helps to understand the psychological factors that impact your pain and your brain. It also helps to know what you can do about this.

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Managing Pain From Stress And Anxiety

Everyone reading this has likely experienced one stressful situation already today. If left unchecked, these little daily stressors our human affinity for anxiety, and harboring past emotional traumas can cause deep hip pain and even lower back pain from stress.

We often associate anxiety pain with chest pain, which also occurs, but the diaphragm muscles connect to the iliopsoas. All of our muscles tightening to protect us is a natural reaction, but our daily life will become much harder if we try to muscle through with unresolved tension.

Finding time to slow down, take a few deep abdominal breaths, and work other stress management techniques into your daily routine can help give your muscles a much-needed break, and help you relieve some stress.

Maximize Outlets For Frustration And Aggression

What exactly is an outlet for frustration? Literally the same activity can be a stress or an outlet, in much the same way that something be exciting or terrifying, depending on your perspective.

Let a rat run voluntarily in a running wheel, and it makes it feel great. Force a rat to do the same amount of exercise and it gets a massive stress-response.

Robert M Sapolsky, Why Zebras Dont Get Ulcers, 2004, p. 261

Maximizing frustration outlets is one of the basics of anxiety control, along with maximizing control and predictability. But while maximizing control and predictability are in the easier-said-than-done category for the people who would benefit the most, finding outlets for frustration is almost easy.

An outlet for frustration is basically anything that constitutes voluntary intensity. Its about choosing to do something challenging rather than having no choice. Its about breaking free of the constraints that prevent expression of frustration like screaming into a pillow, or violently beating an old mattress with a bat. Anyone can do this kind of thing at almost any time.

But almost anyone can still go in a bathroom and scream into a jacket for 10 seconds.

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Understanding Hip Pain From Stress And Anxiety

The bodily reaction to stress is a very primal one: it goes back to our instinctual response when we are in danger our fight or flight response.

Stress and anxiety both evoke a very similar reaction to primal physical danger, especially in the hip flexors, which are designed to help us flee from a predator or dangerous situation.

When our brains are introduced to even minor stress, like running a few minutes behind in the morning, our body still causes pain and tightness within our muscles to keep us safe. Whether our stress is related to the hip or not, it could contribute to tension in the iliopsoas or hip flexor muscles.

How Do You Treat Back Pain Related To Stress

Health Anxiety & Back Pain

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 thats 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.

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Treating Anxiety And Back Pain

Some of the treatment recommendations for anxiety overlap with whats often suggested for people with back pain, such as getting regular exercise and focusing on better eating and sleeping habits. Effectively treating anxiety often eases back pain. Treatments for anxiety that may also be effective for spine-related issues include:

  • Relaxation techniques

Can Stress Be Stored In Your Back

Our lower backs store most of our unexpressed anger. Pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, and other symptoms can be caused by chronic stress, which puts pressure on the sympathetic nervous system. In addition, chronic stress causes the body to produce more cortisol, a stress hormone.

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, which are located at the base of your spine. When cortisol levels are high you are more likely to experience symptoms of stress such as anxiety

Lumbosacral pain refers to the pain that is felt in your lower back and pelvis.

This pain can be caused by a variety of causes, including: a back injury, an injury to your pelvic floor muscles , a spinal stenosis , or a degenerative disc disease .

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Take Stock Of The Situation

Accept your feelings of anxiety, recognize them, and then work through putting them in perspective.

Are you worried about something you cant control? Are you fearful of an outcome thats unlikely? Are you dreading a situation you cant control the outcome of? Talk your way through your feelings to find the source, and then work to put them into perspective.

Can Stress Cause Back Pains

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While its normal to experience some discomfort in your back as a result of stress, its not normal for that pain to last for extended periods of time. If you experience back pain as a result of stress, its likely that the pain will subside after a few days of getting some rest and taking some time to de-stress.

If the pain lasts for more than a few days , you should consider looking into treatment options.

Lower back pain due to stress

If you have lower back pain and anxiety, its likely that the stress and anxiety is contributing to your existing lower back pain. The muscles that are in the lower back are responsible for holding up your spinal column, along with the weight of your upper body.

If those muscles are already strained or are experiencing chronic pain, the stress and anxiety thats causing your upper back pain is likely adding to your lower back pain, making it worse.

Upper back pain due to stress

If you have upper back pain and anxiety, its likely that the stress is causing your muscles to tighten up and causing you pain. The muscles in the upper back are responsible for lifting your shoulders and holding your arms above your head.

If those muscles are already strained or are experiencing chronic pain, they will tighten as a reaction to your anxiety and stress. That tightening will cause pain in your upper back.

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Why Does Anxiety Cause Back Pain

Anxiety causes back pain by increasing muscle tension. This muscle tension can lead to pain and stiffness in the low back and upper back. Additionally, acute and chronic stress can change the way the body functions.

Anxiety can cause changes in the physical and chemical processes that occur in the body including the way the body heals. This can cause issues like muscle tension and a slower healing process after an injury.

Stress and anxiety can also lead to other problems that can cause back pain. For example, anxiety can increase blood flow and cause blood vessels to become more inflamed, leading to problems with blood flow and swelling.

Swelling in the legs, for example, can cause fluid to travel upwards and cause swelling in the back and upper back.

How Does Stress Cause Stomach Pain

Your brain may get most of the credit for overall control of your body, but the intestines have their own nervous system that is so powerful, its sometimes known as a second brain. This system is called the enteric nervous system.

With the largest collection of nerve cells in the body outside of the brain, the enteric nervous system not only controls gastrointestinal functions separately from the brain, but it also produces and responds to the same stress hormones and neurotransmitters that our brains do.

The link between your gut and your brain stems from this system. Even though these two systems function independently, this connection allows your brain to monitor your digestive tract and modify activity within your gut.

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