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The Connection Between Emotional Stress and Back Pain

Posted Jun 02 2009 4:35pm

It is a known fact that emotional stress which causes muscle tension  can result in abnormal forces on vertebrae. These abnormal forces can slowly break the disc (the shock absorber in between the bones) down over time contributing to degenerative conditions such as disc bulges, disc herniations, spinal degeneration, and stenosis. This is a pretty basic explanation of how stress and pain are connected. There are much more complicated mechanisms involving psychosis, mental disorders, and pain syndromes from trauma that actually end up causing emotional stress (it goes both ways).  The point I am trying to make today is that  emotional stress is a variable along with physical and chemical stress (primarily nutrition) as it relates to the underlying cause of disease. Once we are in agreement with this, we can actually apply this knowledge to the healing process. In fact, this is the wave of the future.   Any treatment plan that a patient undergoes for a chronic, degenerative condition should address physical, chemical, and emotional stresses. I have noticed in my practice that the patients that understand this and make the necessary adjustments to their lifestyle, seem to get the most out of the treatment process. Often times, all it really takes is some quiet time each day to relax, meditate, and maybe do some breathing exercises or visualizations. Dr. Dean Ornish, a Harvard trained medical doctor  who is also  the founder, president, and director of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California,  incorporates a plant based diet, exercise, and meditation into his treatment for reversal of heart disease. Clearly this approach is not main stream (yet), but, the thing is, it is truth and it works. Doctors should stop telling patients what they want to hear and start teaching them about health, how it is lost, and how to regain it.   

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