Low Back Pain, Your Emotions and Pain

Did you know, your emotions and pain could be related? This article discusses how anger and emotional expression may affect your back pain in particular. For years, many medical doctors thought back pain was more of an issue in the brain than the spine. Research has shown this to be the case in many who are disabled from work. But mechanical sprain injuries of the spine are also critical to body function and how much pain you may experience. You just cannot separate the brain from the body and expect to tackle a difficult problem like low back pain.


Researchers at Duke University looked at this complex problem by measuring the amount of emotional expression, anger, and back pain in a group of 61 persons with chronic low back pain. The results were quite interesting, with patients who reported greater conflict regarding expressing emotions may be experiencing higher pain and anger.

Have you ever considered that how you express your emotions could affect how much the back hurts? Do you hold on to angry thoughts and feelings? Ignoring these issues does not make the problem go away. Covering-up your emotions with a cocktail of medications doesn’t seem like a good long-term solution, especially with the unhealthy side effects that can sometimes occur. Your emotions and pain can be related.

Express Yourself

Of course, there is a difference between “blowing up” at someone and expressing emotions appropriately. Have you tried opening up to someone? A friend or counselor can help show how your emotions can be dealt with constructively. Some patients have severe emotional conflicts and may require psychological support. Others can become more “in tune” with the emotional side of life through simple awareness. Does your back flare up around emotional periods of your life? Your doctor of chiropractic can help with the mechanical stresses of the spine, but to maximize your potential, you have to consider emotions and the brain. By integrating a mind-body approach to health, the complexity of back pain is addressed more fully—which may help you improve your outlook on life and become more active and engaged.


Being in chronic pain is no fun for the patient or their friends, co-workers, and family. So if you think your emotions (or lack of emotions) may have something to do with your back pain, consult a competent healthcare provider who addresses the whole person. When patients can confront these issues in a calm and supportive environment, the need for medications is often reduced. Therefore, it is important to consider how emotions and pain can affect a person.

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