Let’s Take The Stress Off Your Back
Are your latest Google searches variations of ‘ back pain treatment’? You’re not alone. When it comes to back pain, the odds aren’t in your favour. As you’re reading this article, it’s estimated that half of Brits currently have some form of back pain. It affects society to such an extent that in 2016, 34 million work days were lost in the UK to back pain alone!
Back pain is so complex!
These statistics are huge! Has Back pain become an epidemic? One of the largest problems stems from the way modern medicine is coping with this growing symptom. As a physical pain, we widely assume that it is therefore the result of an underlying mechanical problem, which it can be! Lower back pain especially can stem from damage to the intervertebral discs or improper movement of the spinal joints leading to compressed, or pinched, nerves. Whereas upper back pain, which may encompass the neck and shoulders, can be even more complex or confusing than lower back pain, as often the cause isn’t obvious.
Pain is a common manifestation of stress.
Next on the list of conditions leading to absence at work comes ‘mental health issues’ and this isn’t surprising! Back pain and stress can be tightly connected. Life can sometimes be an emotional rollercoaster with direct implications on your physical health. Many of us draw a separation between our conscious and physical body, but this shouldn’t be the case. At Spinal Care Clinics in Brentwood, we believe the body to be an extension of the mind. It is the tool allowing us to physically express what is going on emotionally. Recently, it has even been discovered that the part of your brain that processes emotional pain, such as stress and anxiety, is actually the same part that processes physical pain. So there could be real overlap between the two!
Fight or flight
During physical or emotional trauma, your body will go into survival mode. This is part of an intrinsic and primitive response that raises your guard against dangers. Various stress hormones rush through the body to heighten awareness by increasing your heart rate, reducing blood flow and causing your muscles to tense-up.
This fight and flight response served its purpose well in the days when battling true enemies was part of your 9 to 5. Nowadays, enemies are more modern; stemming from professional or personal life. The problem is not the initial response to stress, but the sustained effects of daily worry. We’ve all woken up at least once with a stiff jaw from teeth clenching through the night because of subconscious worrying or even simply because of a nightmare! This is a good example of what happens when the nervous system is switched on, in constant semi-survival mode. Physically your muscles remain slightly contracted for extended periods of time. This leads to muscle spasms and knots linked to general back, shoulder and neck pain. The tightened muscles add pressure on your spine triggering subluxations and ultimately spinal misalignment. We covered these in our last blog, so if you missed it, do head on over there.
So stress is a powerful condition with true physical impact. Unfortunately this type of pain is persistent, it lingers in your sleep and won’t go away until you get to the core of the problem. Many techniques such as meditation and exercise can help with stress, but no amount of painkillers will solve this one long term. Chiropractors tackle back pain in a holistic way. Whether it is mechanical or stress induced, we want to understand what’s really flagging up those warning signals. Then, we’ll perform chiropractic adjustments to remove or correct subluxations, realigning the spine and removing any interference to the nervous system. That way, the canal between your conscious and physical body is once again clear and your overall health can be restored.
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