Cathy's Story: Dealing With Stress
It was a week to forget.
Cathy was working hard and training a new employee. She was enduring long meetings. She and her husband had just moved into a new house. And they were set for a trip to Italy in 2 weeks.
"I had too much to do and too little time," Cathy says. "That means stress. And when I start stressing, my back starts aching. Before I knew it, my back was screaming at me."
Cathy has lived with back pain for years and knows how to deal with it. She finds time for stretches or exercises. She takes breaks at work.
But this time, Cathy felt too busy to find time. And she paid for it.
"I knew it was time to do something," Cathy remembers. "And I had to deal with both my back pain and my stress. Otherwise, Italy would be a nightmare."
Cathy took some aspirin for her back. She iced her back in the morning and evening. She put reminders on her computer to change positions and get up and stretch.
And for stress, she got on her bike.
Cathy explains, "I've always used exercise to relieve stress, so getting out on my bike takes some of the pressure away. But cycling is also good for my back."
Road cycling keeps Cathy's back in a comfortable position and also makes muscles in her back stronger. Stronger muscles mean a stable spine. This can reduce and help prevent back problems.
Cathy broke the pattern. She knew that making time to deal with her stress and back pain would save her time in the long run. Her back pain began to melt away. She started to look forward to her upcoming Italian vacation. She was once again living la dolce vita—the sweet life.
This story is based on information gathered from many people living with low back pain.
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Current as of: March 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine