Does Back Pain Affect Mental Health?

Sep 30 2022

Back pain is one of the leading causes of people taking time off of work not only across the country, but across the globe.

Despite this, many people underestimate the true impact of back pain. Not only does it seriously interfere with a person’s physical capabilities, but it can also impact their mental health.

Anxiety and chronic pain

The International Association for the Study of Pain discusses the impact of back pain on psychology. This pain can often become a chronic pain issue in individuals, and chronic pain has a long and well-studied relationship with mental health issues.

Anxiety and depression are two of the biggest mental health disorders that have a high rate of co-morbidity with chronic pain of all sort, and back pain in specific.

Regarding anxiety, chronic pain can make a person more focused on their physical health. They may start to catastrophize any small pain they feel elsewhere, comparing it to the difficulties they have with their back.

They can also develop social anxiety. Many may withdraw from activities they used to enjoy simply because they are afraid of having a painful flare-up or other difficulties.

Depression and chronic pain

For depression, being in constant physical pain is a major influence on a person’s mood and mental well-being. Many people develop depressive symptoms, including losing sensations of joy and struggling to find happiness or comfort in life.

These issues can seriously impact a person’s quality of life in many ways, making it difficult or even impossible for them to live in the way they used to.

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