All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced debilitating anxiety. But we’ve also overcome it and returned to normal and lasting health. Because we know the hardship anxiety unwellness can cause, we are committed to helping others, with over 27 years of service.” - Jim Folk, President, anxietycentre.com

Back pain, stiffness, soreness, spasms, immobility anxiety symptoms

Back pain, stiffness, soreness, spasms, immobility anxiety symptoms description:

These back pain, stiffness, soreness, spasms, and immobility anxiety symptoms can persistently affect one area of the back only, can shift and affect another area or areas in the back, and can migrate all over and affect many areas of the back over and over again.

These back pain, stiffness, soreness, spasms, and immobility anxiety symptoms can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may feel back pain once and a while and not that often, feel it off and on, or feel it all the time.

These back pain, stiffness, soreness, spasms, and immobility anxiety symptoms may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.

These back pain, stiffness, soreness, spasms, and immobility anxiety symptoms can precede, accompany, or follow an episode of nervousness, anxiety, fear, and elevated stress, or occur ‘out of the blue’ and for no apparent reason.

These back pain, stiffness, soreness, spasms, and immobility anxiety symptoms can range in intensity from slight, to moderate, to severe. It can also come in waves, where it’s strong one moment and eases off the next.

These back pain, stiffness, soreness, spasms, and immobility anxiety symptoms can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.

All of the above combinations and variations are common.

These back pain, stiffness, soreness, spasms, and immobility anxiety symptoms often seem more disconcerting when undistracted or when trying to rest or go to sleep.

What causes back pain, stiffness, soreness, spasms, and immobility anxiety symptoms?

Stress, including the stress that being overly anxious can cause, can cause back problems, including the symptoms we listed above.

When we’re stressed, the body secretes stress hormones, which are stimulants, into the bloodstream where they travel to targeted spots in the body to bring about specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that enhance the body’s ability to deal with a threat—to either fight with or flee from it—which is the reason the stress response is often referred to as the fight or flight response.

One of the tasks stress hormones perform is to cause muscles in the body to contract (tighten). Tight muscles make the body more resilient to attack when in dangerous situations.

Unfortunately, when stress is caused by anxiety (worry, fretting, fearful thinking) and not by a real physical threat where tight muscles may be beneficial for survival, the body still prepares against danger the same way, by causing muscles to tense and tighten, including the muscles in the back. Back pain, tension, and stiffness are all common symptoms of stress- and anxiety-caused muscle tension.

As long as stress and anxiety persist, so will their symptoms, including this one.

Tight back muscles can cause a wide variety of aches and pains. Many doctors who specialize in back problems are now seeing a direct correlation between stress (including stress caused by psychological and emotional problems) and back problems. Dr. Sarno is one of the most noteworthy.

If you are experiencing persistent back problems, you may want to seek out a doctor or physiotherapist who is familiar with how the negative effects of stress can affect the back. His or her insight may help you more appropriately address your back issues.

How to get rid of back pain, stiffness, soreness, spasms, and immobility anxiety symptoms?

Fortunately, there are some relatively quick ways to alleviate muscle tension symptoms, including the muscles in the back.

Short-term solutions include:

ANY activity that helps you relax can help alleviate tight muscles.

Certainly, the best way to diminish and eliminate muscle tension symptoms is to faithfully practice the recovery strategies we mention in Chapter 4 in the Recovery Support area and address the underlying factors of your anxiety so that your body’s stress can be sufficiently reduced. This combination provides long-term relief from these types of symptoms (as well as ALL symptoms of stress and anxiety).

While this symptom in and of it self is not harmful or serious, sustained muscle tension can lead to high blood pressure and increased stress over time. Therefore you should take action to address your higher than normal level of stress so that you can keep your stress low and within a healthy range, which can prevent stress related health problems down the road.

Nevertheless, as with all symptoms of stress, this symptom will disappear when you’ve done the right work. Therefore this symptom needn’t be a cause for concern.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - we call these core causes the underlying factors of anxiety - a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.


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Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated January 10, 2017.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and coaching/counseling/therapy for problematic anxiety and its sensations and symptoms, including the anxiety symptom back pain.