Right now we are all dealing with a global pandemic, but stress is with us all the time, and that is especially true when pressure or anxiety are combined with chronic pain. Many of our patients have indicated that when they are in pain, challenges that would normally evoke a sigh and a measured response are much more likely to provoke anger and frustration — and sometimes even depression.
Managing pain in combination with pressure is a very challenging emotional task. Combining it all with the type of uncertainty we’re all currently living with makes it even more difficult.
The good news is that you do not need to go through it alone. Even in times of social distancing, it is possible to reach out to a friend, a family member, a member of the clergy, or a mental health professional. You can even reach out to your physician via telemedicine if you feel the need to address chronic pain.
Nobody needs to suffer in silence with the availability of modern technology, support services, and the wealth of mindfulness and other stress-free apps and exercises all designed to help.
If you are suffering from stress – whether from the current situation, from working from home, from trying to homeschool children or from being by yourself for too long – it can exacerbate already-existing back pain. If, on the other hand, your back pain is new, you may feel like there are no answers available to bring you relief.
In addition to reaching out to our lumbar spine specialty practice for guidance, there are also things that you can do for yourself to improve the way that you feel and to minimize the impact of stress and pain on your emotional wellbeing.
Eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep are powerful medicines, and failing to do any of those three can make you feel a lot worse, and even exacerbate your experience of pain. Take the time to treat yourself well. Spend time online with friends or family, cuddle with a pet, do something creative.
All of these things will make you feel more in control, and that in and of itself may minimize any pain that you’re feeling.
Here are some helpful hints for getting through the pandemic with back pain.
- Start by assessing your own experience. How are you feeling, and does your pain tend to get worse when you are tired, frustrated, short on sleep?
- Create a routine and stick to it. We know you may not feel like doing much of anything, but if you create a routine and stick to it you will find that it clears your mind and helps you to set priorities and manage frustrations. Make sure that you include breaks in the day during which you can stretch and do some deep breathing exercises. Both will alleviate tension or pain in your back.
Whatever you do, remember that you are not alone. We are all trying to make our way through this stressful time together. If there is anything that our lumbar spine specialty practice in New Jersey can do to help, contact us and let us know.