The demand for holistic stress management practices is on the rise in the U.S. From yoga to cupping, these once ‘fringe’ practices are going mainstream. This comes as no surprise as the link between stress and poor health becomes clearer. So individuals are starting to look towards holistic care practices as a way of maintaining their health. This includes people dealing with chronic back pain and high levels of stress. These holistic solutions are not meant to fully replace other treatments or medications. Rather, they offer complementary benefits that make managing chronic back pain easier. So here are 10 holistic solutions that may help with chronic back pain.


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The combination of stretching, movement and mindful breathing in yoga makes it an effective stress management practice. It relieves tension in the body while also addressing mental stress. For people with chronic back pain that is being triggered by mental or physical strain, yoga is a one-stop solution.


Breathwork—also called pranayama in yoga—involves controlled breathing exercises. From deep breathing to breath retention, breathwork brings ‘take a few deep breaths’ to the next level. Breathwork provides easy access to a feeling of calm in day-to-day life. This is especially helpful for people with chronic back pain who experience unpredictable flare-ups.


Meditation is gaining traction as a mainstream wellness practice. From seated meditation classes to silent retreats to meditation apps, there are numerous ways to start meditating. One of the more researched alternative holistic practices, meditation is proven to reduce stress and increase productivity. For people with chronic back pain, this means not having to let pain get in the way of getting things done.


Smell is the oldest and most dominant human sense. As smell is linked to memory and mood, it is no wonder aromatherapy is becoming more popular. While there is not enough evidence to define just how effective aromatherapy is when in comes to stress management, it does seem to help reduce stress. Aromatherapy could be especially useful for people dealing with psychosomatic chronic back pain.


Hypnosis—or hypnotherapy—decreases an individual’s sensitivity to pain. This allows someone to experience temporary relief from the pain in their back. It also alleviates the mental stress that comes from having to deal with constant pain. In addition to chronic pain management, hypnosis has been proven effective in the treatment of acute pain as well.


Thai massage uses a combination of stretching and massage to help people experience deep relaxation. It emphasises compassionate touch as a way to reduce stress and increase feelings of wellbeing. Similar to yoga, Thai massage is an effective body/mind solution for people dealing with chronic back pain. 


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Acupressure uses pressure points on the body to release stress and promote relaxation. Unlike acupuncture, acupressure does not use needles. So practitioners simply use pressure to target specific nerves and areas of muscle tension in the body. For people with chronic back pain, acupressure can offer pain relief simply by stimulating certain nerve points in the back.


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Cupping uses suction to gently draw the skin away from the muscle. This is meant to promote circulation and relieve tension in those areas of the body. For people with chronic back pain, this means less tension in the areas of the back where the pain exists.


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More and more studies are proving that exercise of any kind is useful when it comes to stress management. From running to weight lifting to Zumba, breaking a sweat releases feel good hormones in the body. Fortunately, there are many ‘low impact’ exercise options for people living with chronic back pain. So get sweating to stop stressing.


Cannabis—or medical marijuana—is becoming an increasingly popular stress management tool. Preliminary studies are also being done on the effectiveness of cannabis use when treating chronic pain. For people with chronic back pain and high levels of stress, cannabis may offer relief when used in combination with their current treatments.


In conclusion, none of these holistic stress management practices are standalone solutions for people living with chronic back pain. However, when used in combination with other medications and treatments, they may help to reduce stress levels. So less stress means reduced mental and physical tension. Which can only be a good thing when someone is trying to live a healthier, happier life.