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Can Stress Cause Back Pain?

Can Stress Cause Back Pain?
Shot of a young businessman suffering from backache while working at his desk during a late night at work

Can Stress Cause Back Pain?

Your body’s response to changes is stress. However, a lot of health problems might arise when your body is under too much stress or frequently. Common side effects of prolonged stress include feeling overwhelmed, lacking in energy, and having trouble sleeping Can Stress Cause Back Pain?

This article explains back pain, its signs and symptoms, how stress affects your back’s health, and offers some advice on how to lessen back pain brought on by stress.


Too much stress has negative effects beyond just your mental and emotional health. Back discomfort is one example of a physical health problem that stress can cause Can Stress Cause Back Pain?

What Is Back Pain?

Back pain is a widespread medical condition. At least 75% of Americans are predicted to experience back discomfort at some point in their life. Back pain can range in intensity from a subtle ache to a sharp shooting pain to acute spasms.

Two types of back discomfort exist:

  • Back pain that is acute usually goes away within a few days to a few weeks. The typical form of treatment is self-care, and you can resume your normal activities without experiencing any symptoms.
  • Back discomfort that lasts longer than 12 weeks is referred to as chronic. Even when the back pain’s underlying source has been addressed, symptoms still linger.

Low-back and mid-back pain are the most common areas for stress-related back pain. Both can alter your posture and have an impact on how your body operates. Back pain can eventually influence and lead to problems with the hips, neck, knees, and feet.

The muscles: between your belly button and your tailbone are involved in low back discomfort. Generally speaking, stress makes it more likely that you will sit down and be less active. Sedentary lifestyles for extended periods of time can strain the low back muscles and strain the spine.
Mid-back pain: This affects the muscles in your chest and shoulders. How you regularly breathe is influenced by your amount of stress. Your breathing patterns alter as your level of stress increases. Your rounded shoulders strain and tighten your upper and middle back.

Symptoms of Back Pain

Back pain can vary in intensity from person to person. Each person has a unique pain threshold, tolerance, and sensitivity. There are typical signs of back pain, though. Here are a few instances:

  • You experience back tightness, discomfort, stiffness, pressure, and/or soreness.
  • Back pain makes it difficult for you to move normally or engage in daily activities.
  • Your back can occasionally suddenly and sharply hurt for no apparent reason.
  • You back pains, making sleep difficult.
  • When you pivot, turn, or stoop at the waist, your back hurts.
  • When you’re at rest, you have tightness and/or soreness between your shoulders.

The Impact of Stress on Back Health

The body and the psyche are intertwined. The stress reaction is triggered by stress on your body. A physical stressor, such as getting ready to jump off a diving board, could be present. Or it might be psychological, such as anxiety over test results.

Flight or Fight Response

These stressors are perceived by our body as a danger to our security and wellbeing. The phrase “fight or flight” is another name for this reaction. Body will start a series of responses to defend itself.

Your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate rise as a result of the release of chemicals including norepinephrine, epinephrine, and cortisol during the stress reaction. Eyes enlarge, and your sweating increases. To repel foreign invaders is the immediate goal of these actions.

You’ve probably observed that your muscles tend to tense up when you’re anxious. Your body perceives danger and tightens because it is getting ready to take quick action. The muscles relax as you become more at ease.

Cortisol levels repeatedly rise when the stress response is frequently activated. Cortisol desensitisation occurs in your body, which is identical to the process at play in insulin-resistant diabetes. Inflammation brought on by stress is caused by cortisol dysregulation. Rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic low back pain, sciatica, and chronic pelvic pain have all been linked to stress-induced inflammation.

Stress Impacts Your Nervous System

The neurological system can go into overdrive as a result of ongoing stress. There are billions of neurons in your nervous system, which are specialised cells that communicate with the rest of your body by sending electrical and chemical impulses from the brain. For the purpose of regulating muscle action, neurons are to blame.

Neurons that have been overstimulated may fire inexplicably, resulting in discomfort, muscle twitching, spasms, and chronic muscle tension.

Last but not least, it has been demonstrated that the neurological system’s response to stress is linked to a lowered capacity to manage pain.

Tips to Prevent Stress-Related Back Pain

Because our minds and bodies are so tightly connected, it’s crucial to look after both of them. While it is impossible to completely avoid stress, there are things you can do to better your health and stop back pain brought on by stress.

To get you started, consider these suggestions:

  • Exercise frequently: Including physical activity in your everyday routine can help maintain healthy, strong muscles. To strengthen the core and lower back and avoid back discomfort, there are certain exercises that can be done. A doctor should be consulted before beginning a new workout regimen.
  • Take pauses throughout the day: If your job needs you to sit all day, plan regular stretching breaks. Walk meetings might help you relax your back muscles. To be reminded to stand up and change positions, set a timer.
  • Consume nutritious: foods to keep your body in the best possible condition to handle stress. Eat a balanced diet. Eat less high-fat and high-sugar food because these can make your blood sugar levels jump and increase your tension.
  • It has been demonstrated: that meditation can assist reduce stress and rumination. There are several techniques to attempt. One strategy is to pause what you’re doing and take a moment to deliberately concentrate on your senses, which include what you’re tasting, smelling, seeing, and touching.