How Stress Causes Pain & What To Do About It

Disease back. Portrait of a businessman with a beard while working in his office, holding behind his back

I have heard this numerous times from others, and you have probably heard this too, “I am too stressed to “fill in the blank.” I write this because I worked with a gal the other day on how she was sitting at her desk, as she has a lot of neck and back pain. She said she was too stressed to think of how she was sitting at her desk. Little did she know that stress and pain come as a package.

The truth is that when we are stressed it is the time to do something about it- immediately. We often feel it coming on and ignore it and then it accelerates. What happens is that our stress is dumped into the central nervous system, which gets overloaded and dumps it into the muscular-skeletal system. This results in pain and discomfort, and eventually more serious conditions can evolve. Many of my clients wait until they are in chronic pain before they seek help. It is best to nip it in the bud.

If we want to continue enjoying the activities of our life, including our livelihood, we must know how to stop responding to the stimuli of our day with stress. There are proven strategies that can teach us how to do that. Read Stress and pain is a force we can overcome.

Here is what to do about stress and pain. STOP AND CHOOSE.  In any moment we can choose to stay stressed or stop for a moment and take stock of our situation, our feelings, our posturing at our work station. We can take a deep breath and calmly look at the cause of the stress, and determine if we want to wallow in it or do something about it. The stress may be right in the moment, or it may be an underlying, deeper anxiety or belief that needs to be addressed-a situation or way of thinking we must change or get help to overcome.

I am proposing the action of stopping, or inhibiting, automatic reaction to the reason or cause of stress, so we can see a way out of it- no matter our situation. We can make a positive choice to not go into stress- preventing tension in the body and anxiety in the emotions. We may be in the situation where we can’t run around the block to get unstressed, but we can always take a few minutes here and there to get up and move around. We can turn our chairs away from the computer, relax, breathe, hang over and stretch, and get in touch with ourselves- and most importantly, refresh our approach/attitude to our work.  

There are ways to sit that increase breathe in the body and balance in the torso-like finding our sit-bones at bottom of our pelvis and make sure we are sitting on them instead of our lower back. This gives our backs and arms more support and also helps us access our hip joints for moving forward in our chair to see the screen, or reach for the phone. We can catch ourselves leaning over to one side, or thrusting our heads forward to see the screen.

The ability to consciously STOP and take stock of a situation causing stress goes a long way in coming back to peace. Isn’t it peace and harmony we want to feel in our bodies, emotions and thoughts? We would all become a better asset to our companies, fellow employees, our families and world while improving our health and downtime at work.