Seeing a Chiropractor: Finding Ways to Keep Your Pain Away

Psychological Factors & Back Pain: What You Should Know

by Carlos Butler

Sometimes people become aggravated when they hear that back pain often has a psychological component. It's as though they feel their discomfort is being casually dismissed as "all in the mind." Back pain can have both physical and psychological factors, so it's smart to address both. 

Psychological Factors Associated With Back Pain

Job Dissatisfaction

Research has found that people who like or love their jobs experience less back pain than those who dislike their work. Even when a relatively high percentage of a specific occupation -- such as truck drivers -- reports back pain, they miss substantially less work than individuals who generally have lower job satisfaction, such as bus drivers. 


Stress not only can worsen existing back pain, it can actually cause pain. Tension in your body may lead you to have improper posture while sitting or standing, for example. That can lead to issues with spinal alignment. 

Mental Health Issues

Several mental health problems are associated with back pain. Some examples include:

  • ongoing low-level or major depression
  • generalized or social anxiety disorder or panic disorder
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • inner turmoil
  • a sense that life has no meaning
  • substance abuse
  • an anxious or fearful tendency to view matters as worse than they are 

It's not entirely clear whether back pain precedes mental health issues, or whether people who experience these psychological problems have a greater tendency to develop chronic back pain or to experience worse pain. One study indicates that anxiety disorders and substance abuse tend to occur before the back pain develops, while depression generally occurs afterward. 

What Can You Do Now?

You might feel there's not much you can do about these psychological issues. Nevertheless, you have many options available. Consider:

  • changing to a different occupation or figuring out ways to gain more satisfaction with your current position
  • seeking counseling for emotional issues and stress you're dealing with
  • getting help if you're abusing alcohol or other drugs
  • using stress-relief strategies such as meditation and moderate regular exercise 
  • participating in spiritual or religious pursuits that will help you connect with a positive meaning in life
  • asking your doctor for help if you experience chronic depression

In addition, don't ignore the physical component of your discomfort. You might want to begin seeing a chiropractor so you can receive treatments such as spinal adjustments and deep-heat ultrasound therapy. With attention to both your physical and mental health, you should begin experiencing significant relief of your back pain. For more information, contact Dorchester Chiropractic Inc. or a similar company.