The Economic Crisis and Back Pain
The Market's Down and Stress is Up
We are not a society that deals well with stress. This is why there are entire industries devoted to making Americans calm down.
And we, as a country, are now officially stressed out because of the economic crisis. All 300 million of us (ok, it's less than that because the babies probably aren't stressed) tense up at the mere mention of the markets and the bailouts.
Unfortunately, our bodies don't do much better in dealing with stress. Or to put it more accurately: when we're stressed, we stop paying attention to our bodies and that can cause a world of hurt, especially for our spines.
The spine is already under a lot of stress. For Pete's sake, it has to cushion all your movements and distribute your weight and hold you upright and deal with all the crummy stuff you do to it (weekend warriors, I'm looking at you).
Then, when you become stressed out because of your 401(k), your mortgage, how your bank went under—just a few examples off the top of my head—your back and neck don't stand a chance. Stress is a contributing factor in many cases of back pain and neck pain.
Now that we've been in this "biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression" phase for over a year, I bet a lot of people are reaching for the Aleve.
However, I bet a lot more people are spending myriad hours hunched over a computer…because as I said, we're not a society that deals well with stress and stress-related pain. Our usual response is to ignore it and maybe even to work more, and that's a really bad response.
What to Do in the Current Economic Crisis
I hope you aren't looking here for answers about what to invest in to re-coup your retirement savings. Although maybe you should invest in things like Aleve and Tylenol because you know people are in pain. (Please don't actually take my advice. I'm a writer; what do I really know about stocks?)
No, I have some tips for you about how to deal with stress caused by the economic crisis:
- Don't cut out exercise. If you're cutting back on expenses, you may have to cancel your gym membership. However, you don't need a gym membership to take a brisk walk outside at lunchtime.
We all know the emotional benefits of exercise. For example, it releases endorphins, one of our body's natural good mood promoters. So after you exercise, you may actually feel more optimistic—or at least more Zen—about life's stressors.
A regular exercise program is also a vital part of taking care of your spine, as you can read in this exercise article. Therefore, if you're exercising, your spine is better able to handle stress.
- Take breaks at work. Walk away from your computer. Frequent breaks also prevent you from sitting in one position all day—a very bad habit that can lead to tense muscles and back and / or neck pain. Get more tips about how to take care of your spine at work.
- Read the article Tame Stress to Reduce Back and Neck Pain. It's full of tips that will help you relax and avoid back pain and neck pain.