The Surprising Link Between Back Pain and Mental Health Issues

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mental health
Author Name: Beth Rush
Date: Friday November 11, 2022

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Dealing with mental illness is difficult in itself. Unfortunately, there is a link between back pain and mental health. Many people suffering from various mental health issues like anxiety, depression, sleep problems, psychosis and more tend to have a relationship with emotional back pain. Below is the link between mind and spine and why back pain and psychiatric illness sometimes go hand in hand. 

Link Between Mind and Spine

Sometimes your lower back pain has an emotional meaning behind it. Psychological distress is a common reaction to acute and chronic low back pain. Psychiatric illnesses such as anxiety and depression can produce feelings of worry, stress, sadness and discouragement. The distress these emotions put on your body can lead to aspects of back pain. 

The presence of depression and anxiety symptoms can increase back pain. There is a coexistence between mental health conditions and back pain since it can impair your quality of life. This is why taking care of your mind is essential, so it does not make its way into the physical body.  

Not only can mental health cause back pain but it can also show up as other symptoms. There is actually a long list of physical symptoms you can experience along with back pain when dealing with psychological distress. Here are other symptoms that could be linked with mental illness.

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Insomnia 
  • Stomach problems
  • Low libido

Emotional Lower Back Pain

Back pain can come from ignored emotional distress and not managing stress. Tension from internalized pressure can lead to oxygen deprivation of the muscles. This is how pain shows up in the body from psychiatric issues. There is a possibility that unexpressed emotions can find expression in our bodies. It can generate pain to force changes in poorly managed mental health and stress. The pain can continue if you do not take action to heal your stored emotions. 

Back pain can come from an array of issues, but it is possible to consider that it is an emotional response. Stress and anxiety are linked, which can put a strain on your mind and body if not dealt with correctly. Problem-focused coping strategies can stop the pain coming from the source, which could be your mental health.  

Practices for Mental Health

Practicing mindfulness is a skill that helps you feel present. In the context of mental health and pain, it includes being fully aware of pain sensations and without judgment about them. This mindfulness approach can help improve pain and improve quality of life. You can pair this with other mental health practices, such as:

  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Practicing gratitude
  • Moving your body
  • Talk with friends
  • Joining a support group

Mental health can cause serious health concerns that manifest their way into your physical self. Taking measures to nourish your mind is essential to improve back pain. Ensuring your mental health effects are managed can also help heal the pain you feel in your body as well.

The Bottom Line

The mind and body tend to be in sync in many ways. Taking care of your mental health is also taking care of your physical health. Take control of your emotional back pain to restore how you feel mentally and physically. 

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