It’s well-known that the mind and body are closely connected, and taking a holistic approach to well-being is at the heart of “Top Doc” Dr. Nikesh Seth’s practice at Integrated Pain Consultants. Most adults will experience some form of back pain in their life, and it’s the leading cause for missing work every year. There are many causes of back pain (and different types of pain), including both depression and anxiety.
Many people are surprised to learn that there’s a link between back pain, depression, and anxiety. This has been supported by numerous studies, including one in 2017, which utilized Canadian college students as participants. This study discovered that back pain from depression is most common for those aged 18 – 26, but of course can occur at any point in one’s life. This age range is not surprising, considering it’s a time when young adults have significant life changes from starting families to beginning careers. Statistically, this is also an age range when depression rates can be very high.
A study at the University of Sydney found that the more depressed a person is, the more severe their back pain. Treating back pain from depression or anxiety can be challenging because the cause is different than other types of pain. There isn’t a physical trauma to treat. It’s thought that depression causes back pain because you have less serotonin when you’re depressed. This affects your body as well as your sleep, social ability, and overall activity levels.
When not caused by an identified trauma, chronic back pain often has a mind-body overlap. It’s not “in your head” because back pain from depression does result in an actual physical problem. Rather, the problem persists or is worse because of emotions. Ultimately, depression and anxiety can make the pain a lot worse than it should be.
Anxiety exacerbates lower back pain because it kickstarts the body’s inflammatory process. The lower back gets inflamed to protect against attacks, even if that attack is anxiety. Constant anxiety and stress can lead to “muscle memory tension” in the lower back. Whether your back pain is caused from an injury, depression, anxiety, or any other source, relief is possible. Schedule a detailed evaluation at Integrated Pain Consultants in Scottsdale by booking your appointment online or calling 480-626-2552.