Are you having back pain with any of the following?
We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.
We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.
Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.
Stress can appear in different forms. Some stressors are things that many of us encounter every day, like conflicts, disagreements or tension in our personal or professional lives. Whatever the cause, learning to manage the stress you feel is important to your health and well being.
Life can be challenging at times. Some challenges are good for you – they keep you on your toes and make life exciting. For some people, however, challenges can be a source of stress, which can even lead to health problems.
It's often hard for people and their doctors to figure out if stress might be causing a physical symptom, such as a headache or an upset stomach. Even if 2 people have the same symptom, 1 person might have a physical illness, while the other person's illness is caused by stress.
Awareness of stress and its effects on your health can be an important first step to reducing or eliminating your stress and improving your health.
Scientists have identified many sections in the human brain. The largest section is called the cerebral cortex. We might call this part the "thinking brain." It is the part of your brain that makes it possible for you to recognize your favorite color or be able to get into your car and start the engine.
If you were to cut the brain in half, down the center, you'd find another part of the brain (the limbic system) that contains the amygdala. The amygdala could be called the "reacting brain" or the "stress center." This is an unconscious part of your brain that responds to fear or stress from your environment.
When this "stress center" gets a message of danger or fear, it triggers a sequence of changes in your body that are intended to protect you. This has been called the "fight or flight" response because it is designed to make you stronger and ready for action.
As an example, imagine you step off the curb and a car speeding through a red light just misses you. You would experience some or all of the following:
This is a positive, helpful response if there really is an immediate danger because it prepares you for action. This response gave primitive humans the strength needed to get away from a charging hungry lion.
Today, our bodies often have this same intense physical response to fear or stressful situations even when we don't have a need to "gear up" or run away. This response, triggered when we don't need to act on it physically, causes stress.
To counteract the body's natural response to stress, we also have a system in the body called the relaxation response. The relaxation response takes place in the amygdala, or the stress center of your brain. It causes reactions that counteract the stress response:
The relaxation response doesn't act as rapidly as the stress response, and it is not as automatic. For many people, it needs to be learned and practiced.
Stress may have many different causes. Some stressors are things that many of us encounter every day, like conflicts, disagreements or tension in the workplace, within our families or in our personal lives. Sources of stress can also be financial worries or just not having enough personal time to relax and decompress. Other, less-common stressors can also lead to a chronic stress response:
A traumatic event. One or multiple events may make you fear for your physical safety or emotional well-being. These may have occurred recently or some time ago. Your stress may have started on the date of the event, on an anniversary of the event, or with an experience that was a reminder of the event. Examples of a traumatic event include:
Depression. Depression can have many causes, and it interferes with your ability to cope with stress. It is most often caused by a chemical or hormonal imbalance, though it could also be inherited or caused by a medical condition like Parkinson's disease, thyroid conditions, strokes, or chronic pain. Some medications can also cause depression, such as steroids or medications you take to control high blood pressure. Symptoms may include:
Childhood stress. Research has shown that severe stresses or trauma in childhood can lead to chronic stress during childhood or symptoms that occur many years later. This seems to be especially true in situations if the stress lowers a child's self-esteem.
When you experience stress, it can take its toll on your health and well-being. You can experience physical or emotional symptoms of stress, or notice changes in your behavior. If you find that you are experiencing stress over long periods of time, it could weaken your immune system and make it difficult for your body to fight illness.
Stress-related illnesses are physical or mental conditions that may be brought on or made worse by stress. These illnesses can include headaches, stomachaches, sleeplessness, depression, anxiety, and other conditions. Being aware of the signals is half the battle:
Lifestyle and behavior
If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder.
This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.
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