The relationship between chronic pain and stress

There’s no question that chronic pain can lead to stress, but an unfortunate truth is that stress can also worsen chronic pain — it’s a cruel cycle — which is why it is so important to take measures to reduce daily emotional and physical stress. Because this is often easier said than done, it can be beneficial for patients to visit with a medical professional to learn how they can manage their chronic pain syndrome and stress levels in an effective and healthy manner.

Obviously, if you have chronic neck or back pain that has persisted through months of conservative treatment, it is understandable that you feel a degree of stress. What’s worse is that, over time, this stress can build and contribute to the painful symptoms. Plus, prolonged stress can cause imbalances in the brain and lead to anxiety and even more stress.

Helpful tips

In order to ease your chronic pain and stress, a medical professional may recommend:

  • Reducing caffeine and tobacco intake — Nicotine accelerates the degradation of the discs in the spine, and too much caffeine can keep the patient on edge and hinder much needed rest.
  • Keeping active — By taking a walk around the block, playing a sport or spending some time at the gym, the patient can raise endorphins, lose weight and sleep better.
  • Not overdoing it in the office — Taking frequent breaks can avoid stress buildup. It’s important to keep things in perspective and take charge of the day.
  • Practicing breathing exercises — Deep breaths improve oxygenation in the brain and relax the mind and body.
  • Working with spine specialists to address chronic pain — Pain management experts, physical therapists, spine surgeons, acupuncturists and massage therapists may all be able to help treat chronic pain and alleviate stress.

Minimally invasive alternatives

Rather than living with chronic neck or back pain and continued stress, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how our minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from neck and back pain.

Our procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and are a safer and effective^ alternative to traditional open spine surgery. Call today to request a review of your MRI report or CT scan, and to schedule an initial consultation at one of our conveniently located centers nationwide.