Emotional distress and your bad back

September 22, 2011 Back Pain

According to the International Association for the Study of Pain, the definition of pain is “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential damage, or described in terms of such damage.”


Pain is a complex experience that includes both physical and psychological factors. When experiencing an episode of acute back pain, it is quite normal to have emotional reactions such as fear, worry, and anxiety. Worrying about what the pain means and how long you will have to endure it, is enough to send most people into a depression.

One of the ways we can tackle pain is to deal with it and take an active role in managing it. It is normal to try to avoid activity that causes pain, however complete inactivity is now not recommended, there are accepted guidelines for the management of acute back pain (acute means within the first ten weeks)…

  • Your GP/Specialist should be able to address your fears and any misconceptions you may have about back pain
  • Provide a reasonable explanation for the pain as well as the expected outcome
  • Empower you to resume/restore normal activities of daily living through simple prescribed exercises and activities
  • Prescription drugs where necessary to help alleviate symptoms, physical therapy, and complimentary therapies if required for symptomatic relief.


Understanding pain will help decrease anxiety. Ask your doctor, or specialist to explain about your back pain, be prepared to ask questions. You should be able to express any concerns you have about your back pain symptoms, it is normal for patients to fear serious disease or disability…To become depressed over your pain will make treating you that much harder..

Back to blog list