Workers' Compensation Blog

chronic back pain

The Psychological Effects of Chronic Back Pain

Texas DOL and Workman’s Comp Doctors Serving Workers with Chronic Back Pain

Those who have suffered from chronic back pain understand that persistent, long-term pain can color every part of your day:

  • You may not be able to sleep at night
  • You may not be able to engage in your regular hobbies and activities
  • You may not be able to work (or to be as productive)
  • You  may have problems concentrating or remembering
  • You have have problems engaging in your normal relationships
  • You may lose your appetite or begin eating for stress relief

These consequences of chronic back pain have even more consequences themselves: They can deeply affect your mood and your mental health.

Back Pain, Depression, and Anxiety

Studies have found that those with chronic back pain are more than four times more likely to suffer from major depression than those who do not have a long-term back injury – and it is easy to see why. Back pain can:

  • Take enjoyment from everyday activities
  • Prevent you from doing the things you love
  • Make you worry constantly about a spasm or flare
  • Make you feel hopeless about the future
  • Keep you from work
  • Cause financial stress
  • Create stressed or strained family relationships
  • Prevent you from getting exercise
  • Make you feel out of control of your life

Some studies have even suggested that depression can then cause more back pain. This means that depression and back pain can work together to make a downward spiral of physical and mental pain.

Keeping Mentally Healthy While Fighting Back Pain

Obviously, the very best thing that you can do to fight off the psychological effects of back pain is to fight the back pain itself. However, if you are already being treated for back pain, or if you still struggle with emotional trauma related to your back pain (or the incident that caused your back pain), you may need the following tools and activities to help keep you mentally healthy:

  • Therapy. Counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy are two useful approaches to getting patients to separate their mental health from their physical struggles.
  • Medication. Some patients benefit significantly from being placed on a mood stabilizer that helps combat depression and anxiety during their treatment and recovery from a back injury.
  • Lifestyle changes. Eating right and getting enough sleep can help to combat mental health issues just as much as medications and counseling in some cases.
  • Exercise and staying active. Getting outside, finding hobbies, and having fun activities to distract you from the challenges you face can lift you out of poor moods and negative thinking.
  • Support from friends and family. Having a great support system can help you to feel important and loved during times of difficult health. Make sure your friends and family know what you are going through, and don’t be afraid to ask for their help.

At Our Dallas Clinic, We are Dedicated to Fighting Back Pain

Specializing in workers who have suffered injury while on the job, Work Injury MD is committed to helping workers with back and spine injuries get on the path to wellness and return to their jobs. To find out how our physician and the rest of our team can help, please contact us today.