Effective ways to reduce stress for neck and back pain relief.

The terms stress and tension are often used together, and for good reason. Stress is a common side effect of a busy lifestyle that can cause you to tense your muscles and shorten your breath. You may have experienced this when you are pushed for a deadline at work or stuck in traffic on your way to a meeting. Your hands tense, the muscles in your shoulders and back tense and your breathing becomes less rhythmic and shallower.

While this type of continual stress can cause mental anxiety and depression, it can also cause physical pain and symptoms, including neck pain, back pain and tension headaches. By clenching the muscles in your neck or back for extended periods of time, you risk inflammation of the muscles. This is coupled by a reduced amount of oxygen reaching your body because stress causes you to have shallow breathing. Without proper oxygen, your tense muscles can potentially develop chronic issues. An inflamed muscle can irritate or compress a nerve in the neck or back, resulting in problems.

One of the most important things you can do for your mental and physical health is to learn to relax. In our fast-paced world, this is easier said than done, but if you put in a conscious effort every day to make time for mental wellness, you may notice a significant decrease in your daily stress level.

Ideas to reduce stress

While stress relief is ultimately a personal subject, there are a wide variety of different stress relief techniques and lifestyle changes that doctors and mental health professionals often recommend:

  • Athletics. With a physician’s permission, take up golf, kickball, jogging, walking or another sport that keeps you active and engaged.
  • Hobbies. Find a hobby that you enjoy, such as writing, doing puzzles or painting.
  • Family time. Spend some time with your family to take a break from the stresses of work.
  • Alone time. Sometimes a little time spent alone is necessary to gather your thoughts and take a deep breath.
  • Reading books. Reading a good book is extremely therapeutic and beneficial for the mind.
  • Taking a vacation. A much-needed vacation puts things into perspective and can be a great motivator when you return home.
  • Breathing exercises and mindfulness meditation. Closing your eyes and taking full, deep breaths lowers your heart rate and is an excellent way to relieve stress in the short term. You can practice deep breathing techniques through a meditation program, beginner and restorative yoga classes or by simply becoming aware of your breathing throughout the day.

Whatever you choose to make you less stressed, make sure you stick to it. Allowing yourself some alone time during the day, or at least some time for fun, can significantly reduce your stress level, which can consequently improve your mental and physical health.

Stress relief and spinal health

If you’re dealing with a spine condition like a herniated or bulging disc, stress relief can be a critical part of an effective treatment plan. For more information about the full range of treatment options for neck or back pain relief, including our minimally invasive spine surgery, please contact the caring team at Laser Spine Institute.

We’re happy to provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.