According to leading spine surgeons in Los Angeles, psychological and emotional factors like anger, stress, and tension make back pain highly subjective and personal. Therefore, it’s not such a stretch of the imagination to believe that back pain can be influenced one way or another by your emotional state.
Biochemist and author Rupert Sheldrake, who spent several years working at a medical rehab clinic, asserts that most back pain is caused by preexisting tension within the body. Someone who is consistently angry, for instance, may have a higher degree of internal tension, which can extend to muscles supporting the spine.
Anger and the Pain Cycle
The concept of anger and back pain fits within the cycle of pain theory that suggests even when emotions initially trigger back pain, the resulting discomfort can cause even more emotional stress. It becomes a never-ending cycle where you become increasingly frustrated and angry from the resulting pain.
Physical Effects of Anger
When you become angry, the left hemisphere of your brain is more stimulated. As a result, hormonal and chemical activity changes. Back pain linked to anger may result from:
- Decreased blood flow to muscles while angry
- Increased overall anxiety causing muscle tension
- Lack of sleep, which reduces natural soft tissue healing, and changes in eating habits, especially if anger remains bottled up
Back pain, even when caused by psychological factors like anger, is a very real type of pain. When treatments aren’t producing the desired results, however, it may be time to consider taking steps to control anger and learn how to deal with situations in a more productive manner, which can include:
- Talking things out with a trusted friend or counselor
- Finding productive ways to vent built-up frustrations
- Developing a new perspective on things likely to trigger your anger
- Avoiding the tendency to let anger triggers build up
Being open and honest with your doctor during your initial examination is one way to identify possible emotional factors that may be contributing to your back pain. While anger may not be the main cause of your back pain, keeping it in check can certainly improve your overall health.
Learn more about managing back pain or find a board-certified spine specialist in Los Angeles you can speak with by calling (310) 828-7757. At The Spine Institute Center, we take the time to get to know each patient’s individual story to best assess their condition and offer them viable options for pain relief. Reach out today. The path to a pain free life starts here.