An increasing number of studies show that in most cases, pain in your back does not indicate something physically wrong. Research suggests that chronic back pain isn’t actually the result of injury or illness. Instead, it could surprisingly be caused by our thoughts, feelings, and resulting behaviors. Read on to discover what doctors say is the best way to combat pain caused by psychological factors.
The second leading cause of lost work time, chronic low back pain (CLBP) is one of the most common conditions in people worldwide. Being that it is often unyielding to medicinal treatments, it can become costly and disabling. It has become necessary to find alternative methods of safe and effective treatment for back pain. This article will discuss these alternative treatments and more importantly, the little-known psychological factors that can make back pain chronic.
We all experience pain and have probably felt some irritation or anger at our condition and the pain it causes. This is totally normal, but if those thoughts start to consume your mind, it can affect your body. Believe it or not, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the more you are bothered or troubled by pain, the longer it will take to recover.
Defined as “pain catastrophizing”, some of us tend to assume the worst about our experience with pain, magnifying its threat. It shows up as rumination (“I can’t stop thinking about how much this hurts.”), magnification (“I am worried that something serious is wrong.”), and helplessness (“It’s terrible and it’s never going to get better.”)
According to the International Association for the Study of Pain,
“People who lack confidence in their ability to do things despite pain, or their ability to manage their own pain, are typically more disabled by it and in more pain, than those who are confident they can do things despite their pain.”
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Believing that back pain is a sign of serious injury often causes people to avoid physical activity altogether out of fear that they will make it worse. Unless your back pain is caused by injury and in the process of healing, avoiding physical activity is counterproductive. This can be described as “fear-based avoidance” and as shown in the Fear Avoidance Beliefs Model, it can lead to cycles of increasing pain and disability.
Fear-based avoidance sounds like “It’s not really safe for a person with a condition like mine to be physically active”. It has been said that the fear of pain, injury, or reinjury can be more disabling than the pain itself.
Note: Just as avoidance behaviors can perpetuate chronic pain, so can the opposite habits. It has been said that