Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

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.

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Stress Management

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.

The Importance of Stress Assessment


A stress self-assessment will help you identify the things in your life that may be a source of stress. Some stressors come from work – too much work, boring work, a long commute, or not having enough free time. 

Other sources of stress include lifestyle factors and your relationships with others. 

Lifestyle stressors

  • Not enough sleep 
  • Not enough exercise 
  • Not eating well 
  • Money problems 
  • Poor health or long-term illness 

Relationship stressors

  • Lack of support 
  • Family problems 
  • Sexual problems 
  • Physical or verbal abuse
  • Loss of a partner

Start a Stress Diary

There's more to stress than the stressful situation itself. Observing how you react to stress is an important step. Try keeping a stress diary. For a few days or even a couple of weeks, write down your response to each stressful event that occurs. 

Some people find it helpful to keep a journal. Research shows that writing about stressful events and worries can bring relief. 

Manage the Stressors You Identify

Take a look at your stress diary or the results of your stress self-assessment. Consider how to address each significant source of stress: 

Develop healthy habits

Your body needs regular exercise, good nutrition, and enough sleep to help deal with the effects of stress. It's important to make healthy habits a part of your day. 

Exercise regularly to release chemicals in the brain that reduce depression and stress. Some examples are:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Dancing  
  • Yoga or tai chi

Eat well. Choose meals with lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. Avoid too much sugar, fat, caffeine, or alcohol. 

Get plenty of sleep. Sleep improves your mood and makes you feel less stressed and more relaxed.

Indulge in Healthy Pleasures

Encouraging positive thoughts and emotions can help reduce stress. Try to add an activity you enjoy to your daily schedule. Some examples: 

  • Listen to quiet music
  • Take a stroll
  • Play with pets
  • Draw or paint
  • Prepare a new or special food

Practice Positive Thinking

Your thoughts, especially habitual thought patterns, affect how you feel and how you respond to stress. Think about these things when you are experiencing a stressful event:

  • We often worry about things that will never happen.
  • When you have a problem, think about the advice you would give a friend in the same situation.
  • How important is this issue in your life? Will it still be important in a year or in a week?
  • Decide what is worth fighting about. Let go of things that are not worth it.
  • Practice gratitude. Write down something you are grateful for every day. Some people make a gratitude list and reread it often or share it with a friend.

Invest in a Support System

Everyone needs to give and receive support.  When you are under stress, it is important to reach out for extra support. Isolation can actually increase stress and depression. Here are some ideas for sources of support:

  • Family and friends
  • Clergy or spiritual advisers
  • Clubs or meet-ups
  • Support groups or 12-step groups
  • Being of service to others

We offer classes, including mindfulness meditation, to assist you in building your capacity to manage stress.

Related Health Tools:

Classes and Coaching

See more Health Tools »

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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