Stress and chronic back pain

Chronic back pain is pain in the lower part of the back associated with tight muscles and or strains in the joints that make up the lower back. If leg pain is associated with the back pain then it can come from irritation of the nerves or trigger points that present in tight muscles. Chronic back pain will present when the cause of the problem is not removed. The pain can vary from day to day depending on what stressors the back has experienced that day.   

Stress and back pain –

During times of stress or emotional pressure, our bodies go into a fight or flight response, this leads to an elevation of cortisol (stress hormone). Blood pressure can be increased and heart rate can also increase. The higher the stress levels, the higher the level of cortisol released. During times of stress the elevated cortisol causes muscles in your body to become tightened. If it is a short term stress, for example a shop robbery and you need to get out of there, this is good. The increase in muscle tone and increased heart rate will aid you to remove yourself from the stressful situation. If the stressor is more long term, relationship, sick family member or money etc, then the elevation in muscle tone and heart rate over a longer term is detrimental to your health. Tight muscles can lead to stiffness and pain in itself. It also makes them more prone to “pulling”.

Self help measures to reduce the effects of stress on your body –

  • Deep relaxation methods such as meditation and gentle forms of yoga
  • Making time for your body to rest during the day and at night
  • Regular moderate exercise
  • Heat, taking a bath or using hot water bottles
  • Massage
  • Chiropractic Treatment
  • Reduce coffee and any other stimulants
  • Gentle stretching
  • Taking time out
  • Eating healthily throughout the day and not skipping meals

If you would like to talk to our chiropractor about any of the above at the Johns Green chiropractic clinic, Kilkenny, then please email us at or phone us on 056 771 5775