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Back Pain Treatment: Mind

Chronic back pain and depression

Most backache starts from a physical source. However, for many people who have been suffering from chronic pain, the problem may not be limited to their muscles, nerves and bones. Medical professionals have long been aware that people who have been living with chronic pain especially of the back are at risk of depression. Among all the mental conditions, it's depression that frequently occurs with chronic back pain.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Back pain can disrupt one's sleeping pattern. The lack of sleep causes daytime fatigue, it also affects the mood significantly.
  • Back pain can result in reduction in mobility, because of this, one's normal day to day routine as well as employment may be affected. Some tend to withdraw from normal society, and this can worsen their symptoms.
  • Change in appetite is also observed in people who are depressed. If a patient with back injury fails to receive adequate nutrition, this may slow the recovery or healing.

Effects of Back Pain and Depression

  • Chronic back pain can affect one's ability to work and this can lead to financial worries which can trigger or exacerbate symptoms of depression.
  • Back pain may affect sexual ability and function, this could cause tension in relationships as well as failure to participate in everyday family activities.
  • Studies have shown a link between delayed healing after back surgery in those who are suffering with depression. It is recommended that the depression is treated before surgery.


If you're suffering from chronic back pain, your doctor may consider tests to determine the underlying problem. At the same time, your doctor will evaluate your mental state.

You may be prescribed an antidepressant that also produces pain relief. Other helpful methods that for both chronic back pain and depression can include massage, hypnotherapy and some exercises. Massage can promote relaxation and may reduce stress, thereby lowering a risk factor of developing depression, and also help ease the tension in muscles that contribute to pain levels. Hypnotherapy may help you gain some control over your feelings and pain levels. It can also improve concentration and memory. Exercise may reduce the discomfort caused by certain types of back problems. Going out to exercise with a group allows social interaction. In addition, when you engage in outdoor exercises, the sunshine and fresh air may also lift your mood.

You can manage mobility issues by breaking down your tasks into more manageable jobs that should be completed in a sensible time frame. By doing this, you're able to maintain your independence.

Your treatment for back pain may include psychological treatments which can help you cope with depression.

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