6 Emotional Factors That Can Cause Back Pain—And What You Can Do About Them


If you suffer from back pain, you’re not alone. In fact, according to the American Chiropractic Association, 31 million Americans experience lower back pain at any given time. And while there are many physical causes of back pain—including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and osteoarthritis—there are also emotional factors that can contribute to your discomfort. Here are six of them—and what you can do to ease your back pain.


1. Worry

We all worry from time to time—it’s only human. But if you find yourself worrying excessively about things that are out of your control, it can take a toll on your body, causing muscle tension and headaches. If you find yourself worrying excessively about your back pain, try to distract yourself with positive thoughts or activities.

One helpful activity is to create a list of things that make you happy. This can be anything from your favorite foods and activities to memories of good times with friends and family. Every time you start feeling anxious about your back pain, take a few minutes to read through your list and remember all the wonderful things in your life. (And of course, schedule time to enjoy them!) 


2. Stress

Stress can manifest itself in many ways, including tightness in the shoulders and neck, which can lead to headaches and migraines. If you’re feeling stressed, take some time for yourself to relax and de-stress. Try taking a hot bath, reading a book, or taking a yoga class.

Another thing you can do is focus on your breathing. Take slow, deep breaths and try to clear your mind of all other thoughts. Focus on the sensation of the air moving in and out of your lungs. 

This will help you relax both physically and mentally. By taking some time for yourself each day to focus on your breathing, you can help reduce your stress levels and ease your back pain.


3. Grief

Grieving the loss of a loved one can make you feel sadness, anger, and fear. These emotions are entirely normal in such a situation, but they can cause physical symptoms such as chest pain and difficulty breathing that make it more difficult to deal with the days ahead. If you’re grieving, it’s important to allow yourself to feel these emotions and talk about them with friends or family members who can offer support. While you’re at it, schedule some time with a chiropractor who understands the physical manifestations that often accompany these emotions.


4. Anger

Anger is a normal emotion, but it’s important to find healthy ways to express it. Holding in anger can cause physical symptoms such as high blood pressure and chest pain. If you’re feeling angry, try to take some deep breaths and visualization exercises to calm down. Go somewhere away from the source of your anger, and try some of the other techniques we’ve mentioned above. (Breathing exercises are very helpful for this, as is taking a long walk.) 


5. Depression

Depression is a serious mental illness that can cause physical symptoms such as fatigue and chronic pain. If you’re feeling depressed, it’s important to seek professional help so that you can get the treatment you need. That may come in the form of therapy, medication, or both. Additionally, you should consider chiropractic care because it focuses on many of the same areas of the body that depression triggers.


6. Anxiety 

Anxiety is another mental health issue that can cause physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat and sweating. Anxiety benefits from relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation (and yes, chiropractic care). 


The Body and Mind Are Often Linked With Back Pain 

Back pain is often caused by physical factors such as herniated discs or osteoarthritis—but did you know that emotional factors can also play a role? From worry to grief, here are six emotional factors that can cause back pain—and what you can do about them. If you’re suffering from back pain, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about possible treatment options.

For three decades and counting, Dr. Thomas Ferrigno of Bay Area Disc Centers has helped patients work through the issues in their lives that are contributing greatly to their back and neck pains. He provides a listening ear, a firm but soothing touch, and a treasure trove of knowledge from his time in practice. There is little he hasn’t seen or experienced when it comes to chiropractic care, and he’s ready to listen to your issues and get you on the right path. Contact Dr. Ferrigno today to set your first appointment or plan your free consultation.