10 Tips To Help Decrease Stress That Might Be Causing Spine Pain
By L. Anita Cone-Sullivan, MD
We live in a world where stress affects each one of us. While some stressors can be good, too much stress in our daily lives can cause health issues, including spine pain. If you are already experiencing spine pain, stress can make it feel worse. Here are a few tips to help decrease stress that may be causing or contributing to spine pain.
Physical activity is one of the first things I share with my patients to assist in relieving stress. It can release endorphins that help reduce stress and pain. Here are a few activities that may help:
• If your job requires sitting most of the day, make an effort to take short breaks. Walk around the office (or simply stand and move for 15 seconds) several times a day.
• Take 30 minutes for yourself each day to walk, ride an exercise bike, etc. Short activities can help reduce your stress level.
• Yoga and pilates are both great ways to stretch and improve your flexibility and, in turn, help you relax.
• Get into the water: Water aerobics, swimming or walking in a pool can help you get moving again.
Allow Yourself to Relax:
I know that telling my patients to find time to relax is easier said than done! Many of us live very busy lives; however, if we can start small and work up to finding some time each day to relax, that can help decrease stress-related spine pain. Here are some tips:
• Find 5-10 minutes a day just for you. Try sitting outside and enjoying the quiet of nature or kicking your feet up and closing your eyes for a few minutes.
• Try hot or cold therapy. Using it for 20 minutes at a time (with a barrier between the skin) can help relax
those tense muscles.
• Aromatherapy is becoming very popular to help reduce stress. Find a diffuser and try one of the scents, such as lavender, that assist with decreasing stress.
• Massage therapy is a treatment you can do at home with a family member or at a spa with a licensed
therapist. Gentle massage can help to relax those tight muscles. It helps to follow the massage up with a few gentle neck and back stretches.
• Meditation can also help to relieve stress. There are many phone apps or online programs that walk you through meditations to help decrease your stress.
Nutrition and Hydration:
Lastly, nutrition and hydration play a big part in staying healthy and relieving stress. Eating a healthy diet can assist in our overall well-being. Drinking water each day and limiting the amount of caffeine and alcohol can assist in lowering your stress levels by promoting a good night’s rest.
I hope you find these tips helpful and you can slowly implement some of them into your day. Stress can increase spine pain, and I see it every day in my practice. However, if your pain persists, the physicians and team at Resurgens Spine Center are here to help diagnose and provide a treatment plan to get you moving again.
L. Anita Cone-Sullivan, MD, received her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C. She completed her residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.Dr. Cone-Sullivan completed a spine and sports medicine fellowship at Portner Orthopaedic Rehabilitation, Inc., in Honolulu, Hawaii and a fellowship in selective spine injections and non-operative spine care at Georgia Pain Physicians, P.C. in Marietta, Georgia. Dr. Cone-Sullivan practices at Resurgens Orthopaedics’ Lawrenceville office.
Resurgens Spine Center • Non-surgical & Surgical Spine Care
24 Convenient Atlanta Locations • www.ResurgensSpine.com