Can Stress Contribute to Your Back and Neck Pain?

30 Jul

In a study that looked at stress and how people who seek chiropractic care perceive it, researchers wrote that psychosocial stress, “…pervades modern life and is known to have an impact on health. Pain, especially chronic back pain, is influenced by stress.” Here, ten different chiropractic clinics reported results tallied from 138 patients who were given questionnaires about stress and its association with their current condition.

Of interest, more than 30% categorized themselves as being “moderately to severely stressed,” and over 50% felt that stress had a moderate or greater effect on their presenting complaint. Further, about 71% of the patients felt that a stress management approach would be useful to help them cope and 44% were interested in taking a “self-development program to enhance their stress management skills.”

The study concluded that: 1) patient perceptions are known to be important in management approaches and treatment outcomes; 2) in this study, about 1/3 of patients presenting perceived themselves as being moderately or severely stressed; and 3) interventions that reduce stress or the patient’s perception of being stressed may be an important and valid “intervention” in patient management.

So, how do doctors of chiropractic do this? First is pain management, which is often at the core of a current heightened stress level, as it can push the stress level “over the edge.” But just managing pain doesn’t always work by itself, and doctors of chiropractic will often intervene with nutritional recommendations such as educating the patient about an “anti-inflammatory diet,” and the use of vitamin and/or herbal approaches specific to stress management, including specific nutritional approaches to balancing neurotransmitter levels. Other approaches may include the use of various calming techniques that can be employed at times when patients are “stressed” and can be used during the day during these “stressful moments.”

There are even “calming apps” to help de-stress and clear the mind available for your smartphone! Just as there are apps to measure your steps, calories, or METS burned during the day, these apps are specific for calming and reducing stress! Here are the names of a few that are FREE for you to investigate and consider (Web, Android, or iOS): MindMeister, Breath2Relax, White Noise Lite, Calm, Diaro, Headspace, Relax, Guided Meditations, and more. Give one of these a try as it is clear we all focus far too little on stress management!

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend, or family member requires care, we would be honored to render our services.

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