Back Pain and Stress

We had a customer call about back pain which started just a few weeks after getting our mattress. He was doing fine, sleeping pretty well, but then began to feel tightness in his lower back. Since the mattress was fairly new to him, just two weeks, he assumed it was a comfort issue and called to find out if he needed something firmer or softer.

After a series of questions, we discovered that he was dealing with a lot of emotional distress (he broke down on the phone while talking). His wife had passed away within the past year, he was taking care of his eldery father, his son was diagnosed with a chronic illness, and more recently, was laid off from his job. Coincidentally, it was only a few days after he lost his job when he started to experience his back pain. Because he was dealing with so many different stress issues, the layoff was his “peak”, or rather when his “cup runneth over”, in a not so very good way.

Having a problem here and there is a part of everyday life, but when we have an avalanche of issues hit us all at once it can be quite overwhelming. The stress we tend to hold in our bodies during hard times usually manifests in our back because we unconsciously tense those muscles, which in turn causes pain. If you recently purchased a new mattress, like our customer, it’s only natural to assume that’s the cause. But before you make any major changes to the comfort of your sleep system, be sure to address any emotional stress you are experiencing, because no matter how comfortable your mattress is, you’ll still have the back pain until you deal with the stress. It’s a terrible cycle of tension that won’t be relieved until you are able to change the circumstances of your anxiety, or at least get it under manageable control.

Experts advise we should watch our posture when we have high anxiety since we tend to slouch, or torque our bodies in unnatural positions while sitting, which can contribute to back pain. Massage and stretching is also important to relieve muscle tension. However, those things only help with the physical discomforts, and you need to address the underlying cause of the anxiety and find what works for you to manage your emotional stress. Yoga, dance, music, support from family and friends, partaking in a hobby you enjoy, being pro-active and making a list to combat issues… these are just a few of the things that can assist you to focus on feeling better mentally, which in turn may help reduce your anxiety-related back pain.

Back to our customer… after he was able to “get things off his chest” while talking to us, he apologized and was embarrassed, but he also admitted to already feeling a little better. Since we’re in the sleep industry we were able to make him aware of how stress can deeply affect the quality of sleep, and greatly contribute to discomfort. He agreed it made sense, that he’d put off dealing with the problems which were affecting his life, and so he decided he would first try to manage his anxiety better then call us in a few weeks with an update.

After a month, he hadn’t called back, so we reached out to him to find out how the mattress was working out. We’re happy to report that within the time period of our first call, and the followup call, he was able to tackle a lot of his issues and get them under control. He hadn’t contacted us because he was sleeping so well, he didn’t even think about it anymore, and just simply forgot he was suppose to call us back!

Moral of the story: If you’re experiencing back pain when you’re sleeping, think about what’s going on in your life. If there’s additional anxiety, you should first look at ways to resolve your stress before making any major changes to your sleep system, which could very well be unnecessary.

Be happy…. sleep happy!