The psychology of back pain is the driving force behind my never ending quest to help fellow patients find some solstice from their torturous dorsopathy conditions.
Back pain, as every patient knows, is a very serious condition which imparts misery to the physical body and anxiety to the emotional mind. Back pain is truly a mindbody disorder if ever there was one.
Chronic pain has been studied exhaustively and has been decisively proven to enact terrible effects on the mental state of the patient and those around them. Being that back ache is one of the most physically affective of all chronic disorders; the burden of these added emotional factors, on top of the already tiresome anatomical issues, is simply overkill.
People who do not have back ache which haunts them daily simply can not understand the horror of waking every morning in pain and going to bed each night with the last conscious thought being one of suffering. It is a fate unimaginable, yet it is reality for countless millions on this Earth.
One of the least often considered psychological effects of back pain is certainly the fear it produces. Patients wonder what will become of them and how they will function into the future, as their pain worsens and their physical abilities diminish.
Patients fear that those who they love will abandon them or that they will not be able to properly provide for their families.
Patients also dread the next acute attack and live each day
with a long and often complicated list of conditioned and prohibited
behaviors, positions and activities.
This is literal slavery to the pain.
Below are listed several guides that teach patients and caregivers to always remember the psychoemotional effects of pain:
The psychology of low back pain affects every aspect of life, since the lumbar zone is one of the most important regions for physical functionality.
The psychology of chronic pain might be more important than the physical effects. Most patients cite that the emotional consequences of persistent pain are much worse than the pain itself.
The psychology of disc disease begins with the name of the condition itself and entails fear that is often projected towards future spinal deterioration.
The psychology of herniated discs plays into our collective experience with intervertebral pathologies. We have all heard horror stories about unrelenting disc pain.
The psychology of osteoarthritis is made worse by the ignorance that OA is a completely normal part of aging.
The psychology of pinched nerves can magnify symptoms and worsen suffering for any patient.
The psychology of sciatica involves terrible functional restrictions and the emotional traumas that follow.
The psychology of scoliosis stands a good chance of causing more pain than the condition itself, especially in young patients.
The psychology of spinal stenosis entails acceptance that the pain is unlikely to resolve without drastic intervention.
The psychology of fibromyalgia is one of the most damaging factors in the FMS diagnosis. Patients do not know why they are sick, nor do they have much hope of finding relief.
Back pain depression can be linked to psychoemotional consequences of any lasting pain syndrome in the dorsal region.
Back pain frustration is the natural consequence of not being able to find a cure.
When I speak of back pain in this article, I am not referring to:
Opps, I hurt my back, but it felt better in a couple of weeks.
I am talking about chronic agony which pillages at will. I am speaking of the type of pain which is life altering. I am referring to the symptoms which will not go away, despite multiple attempts at treatment. In essence, I am describing not only my own experience with chronic lumbar back pain, but judging from your letters and emails, your experiences as well.
In fact, when talking with so many of you, I completely understand that the psychoemotional effects of your chronic symptoms are often more affective to your lives than the pain itself. I completely understand how you feel.
Chronic back pain is a devastating trial to endure and can destroy careers, families and actual lives, without care or compassion.
Despite the brutality of most unrelenting back ache syndromes, it is the wonder of human nature to hold on to hope. Back pain patients are always dreaming and praying that the next treatment they try will finally alleviate their suffering. Sometimes, they enjoy short term or partial relief, but rarely achieve a full cure for all their painful symptoms.
I understand how this takes a huge toll on your body, mind and soul. The constant ups and downs of hope and disappointment are like an unfair roller coaster. I rode this path for most of my adult life, while I struggled to cure my own domineering pain. At this point, I hope for a cure, but still go about living to the best of my ability with the pain. Daily suffering has made me come to appreciate the true scale of the psychology of back pain and how it must be considered more in the medical community. Hence, my patient advocacy efforts continue.
To this day, I have never recovered from the emotional effects of my pain. I am not ashamed to say it, but this type of chronic agony is still my greatest fear. Now, as age wears onwards, the multitude of injuries I have suffered in my life are once again rearing their ugly and symptom-producing heads. This has profoundly affected the person I am, both for the better and for the worse.
I try to stay positive about the best things in life which helps a lot. However, when the misery comes on strong, it is easy to get lost in the desperation of suffering and the utter feeling of loneliness it creates. Trust me, I understand what you are going through and you are not alone.
Finding a cure is rarely easy when it comes to any form of chronic pain, regardless of where the physical symptoms are experienced. Medical science has proven itself to be impotent in dealing with ongoing symptoms, whether they be the perceived result of back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia or a host of other PIPS conditions.
Worse still, many doctors actually seem to blame the patient for not getting better. Like, as if we had a choice! Hey doc, time to take that refresher course on bedside manner. Remember, your patients are human beings. Come on doctor, it is time to consider the psychology of back pain, not just the anatomical effects.
It is the responsibility of every affected patient to help discover why their pain will not get better and become proactive about their own healthcare. Taking a passive role is simply giving up and giving in, agreeing to suffer endlessly.
This is my advice to all back pain sufferers:
Learn all you can about your diagnosis and do not leave your fate exclusively up to your care providers.
Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to back pain. It is a life sentence.
If things go badly for you, the pain will continue to make you suffer while your doctors and therapists get rich and fat off your misery. Take charge of your life and become involved. You might just discover, like I did, that your diagnosis is incorrect and use this new found information to lead you to an effective cure.
Think it does not happen? Think again.
Interested in reading more? Learn all about the proven connections between emotional sensitivity and chronic pain.