The Psychological Effects of Spine Pain

Category: Spine Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: May 3, 2016

psychological effects of spine pain

Anyone who has experienced chronic back or neck pain knows that the daily battle isn’t just physical. Sure, the physical pain is the most obvious hurdle, but there are many other issues at play. There’s a whole psychological aspect to pain that often gets overlooked or missed entirely. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the psychological effects of problematic back pain.

Back Pain and Your Brain

Physical pain can cause some serious psychological distress. Unfortunately, the relationship between physical and psychological pain is cyclical, meaning that a deteriorating mental state can lead to more physical pain, and vice versa.

Your psyche can be affected in numerous ways after a back injury. It can come in the form of anxiety, fear of being unable to work, depression from inability to perform pain-free functions, mental anguish over your conditions/recovery, etc. These mental issues can also work to sabotage your rehab. For example, if you are depressed or anxious about your current state, you may be more likely to skip your daily rehab session or eat unhealthy foods that inhibit healing.

Steps To Take

If you’re suffering from back pain or any chronic condition that leaves you unable to perform daily functions, don’t just focus on your physical pain. Here are some tips to stay in a healthy state of mind:

  • Accept Your Injury – It may not be ideal, but you need to come to terms with your injury. Odds are there’s a treatment that can get you back on your feet, so try not to dwell on the injury. Accept that it happened and focus on what you can do to help yourself recover.
  • Movement and Exercise – Rest is a great way to help your spine recover in the short term, but eventually you’re going to want to get back to strengthening the painful area. Talk with your doctor about rehab exercises and stretches that will help with your condition. You’ll find that strength training to treat your physical body also has positive effects on your mental health.
  • Unload Your Plate – Trying to balance family life, a job, friends, errands and recreational activities into your daily schedule is difficult enough without a back injury, but you need to realize it will be impossible if you are inhibited by back pain. Try to unload some of the stress and duties if at all possible. Have a friend shuttle your kids to soccer practice, or see if you can work remote for a few days. Odds are your friends, family and co-workers will be more than willing to lend a hand.
  • Track Your Recovery – People like seeing tangible results, so stick to your rehab and chart the results. If you stay true to your rehab and listen to your doctor’s instructions, odds are you’ll see progress in no time. When you see the fruits of your labor, you’ll find yourself in a better mood and mindset.

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