Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Back Pain

Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Back Pain

Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Back Pain

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So often we see patients who suffer from anxiety, depression or have extremely stressful lives. These patients often complain of neck and back pain, usually more severe than their testing would indicate. They are not malingering, nor are they exaggerating. They really feel this pain.

Let’s talk……

The body’s reaction to stress varies with each individual, but is generally a variation of the “fight or flight” response we all have to any threat. This includes an increased heart rate and a tightening of all muscles as the body prepares for a reaction. This tightening of muscles is frequently the cause of back and neck pain, causing tension, pain and stiffness.

Anxiety often causes the same reaction though there is only a perceived threat. Worry, fretting or fearfulness can lead to muscle tension but also the feeling that if you move the pain will get worse. Therefore the patient will unnecessarily limit activities of daily life including exercising and leisure activities. This will weaken the muscular support of the spine and also lead to depression as their world gets smaller due to a fear of activity.

Depression is often the cause, or the result, of back or neck pain. Even a very minor back problem can become debilitating for someone who is unable, or unwilling, to exercise and who is given strong medications and told to “rest “after an injury. We all know that pain is increased with inactivity and definitely becomes the center of your existence if you have nothing else to do, or think about.

What a patient does about the stress, anxiety or depression will have a direct effect on their recovery or their pain level. Once any chance of a neurological injury is ruled out, the patient needs to move. Exercise will loosen tight muscles, increase endorphins and add to a feeling of well-being. Controlling the stress and anxiety will immediately improve the patient’s outlook and therefore, their discomfort.

A good night’s sleep is key. Consistent sleep and wake times, avoidance of caffeine and a temperate room with no distractions, like a TV or telephone, will all work toward getting proper rest.

Proper nutrition is also important. Again caffeine can be a culprit along with alcohol and sugar in causing anxiety, mood swings and periods of exhaustion.

Talk to your physician and see what lifestyle changes would make a difference in your pain level. As you can see, a happy, well-rounded individual is much more likely to be painfree, or to tolerate and recover more quickly from an injury.

Citations

  • Pereira MG, Roios E, Pereira M. Functional disability in patients with low back pain: the mediator role of suffering and beliefs about pain control in patients receiving physical and chiropractic treatment. Braz J Phys Ther. 2017 Jul 3; PubMed PMID: 28716365
  • Marshall PWM, Schabrun S, Knox MF. Physical activity and the mediating effect of fear, depression, anxiety, and catastrophizing on pain related disability in people with chronic low back pain. PLoS One. 2017;12(7):e0180788. PubMed PMID: 28686644

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Author and Contributor to www.Spine-Health.com – July, 2015

www.Spine-Health.com/author/john-h-shim-md-facs

Chief of Surgery, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin Hospitals, Safety Harbor and Dunedin, Florida. 2014-2016.

Orthopaedic Section Chief Mease Countryside Hospital; Safety Harbor, Florida Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.2008-2013

Board Member Morton Plant Mease Research Council

Co-Director of Mease Neuro-Ortho Spine Center Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.

One of “6 Spine Physicians Ranked #1 on Google” – December 2016

Top Ten Most Liked Spine Surgeons on the Internet – July 2016

2016 Spine Surgeons to Know list – January 2016

2014 Spine Specialists to know list – September 2014

One of Ten Leaders of Certified Spine Programs – December 2011

 

The Best Orthopedics in Tampa

The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.
Outpatient Spine Surgery Considerations. www.Spine-Health.com. January 2016.

What is Spinal Stenosis? www.Spine-Health.com. October 2015.

Surgeon insights on the Changing Landscape of Orthopedic Care. OrthopedicToday. June 2014

Chapter 33: Interspinous Spacers. Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

Chapter 35: Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion Technique.Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

March 2010 Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana February 2010

February 2010 A Review of Dynamic Stabilization in the Lumbar Spine Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

November 2009 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Community Based Lecture; Tampa, Florida

September 2009 Instructor/Proctor Minimally Invasive Lumbar Cadaver Lab; Tampa, Florida

February 2009 New Spinal Technology: Cervical Disc Replacement and Interspinous Spacers. Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

February 2008 The Degenerative Spine: The Role of Dynamic Lumbar Stablization and Interspinous Spacers Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

October 2008 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

September 2007 Emerging Technology in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

October 2006 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

May 2005 The Role of Kyphoplasty in the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures Mease Neurosciences Symposium; Clearwater, Florida
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