Back pain isn’t just physical. If it persists for 4–6 months or more and becomes chronic, it can also have a detrimental impact on your mental health in a way that prevents you from fully benefiting from the treatment your doctor or Los Angeles spine surgeon has recommended. One way to reduce the negative thoughts that can make your perception of spine-related discomfort worse is to explore your options with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Below you’ll learn more about CBT and the potential impact of thinking negatively about back pain.
It’s perfectly understandable to have some negative thoughts now and then as you live with back pain. A problem develops if you have increasingly negative thoughts and fewer moments of optimism. Over time, thinking negatively can change the way your brain perceives pain. You may also have related issues with stress, anxiety, or depression. Negative thoughts can also keep you from being fully committed to your recovery.
CBT is a way of managing negative thoughts by changing unhealthy thinking patterns so you’re better able to handle unexpected difficulties, such as ongoing or recurring back pain. You may not consider yourself to be a person who focuses on negative thoughts. Even so, living with back pain for a long time can take a toll on anybody’s mental and physical wellbeing.
As mentioned above, occasionally feeling frustrated with recovery is normal. Examples of negative thoughts and behaviors that tend to occur with back pain include:
• The desire to stay in bed or sleep for long periods
• A constant poor or negative mood
• Doubts about the effectiveness of your treatment plan
• The tendency to choose more passive treatments, such as rest and pain meds, over more active options, such as therapeutic exercises and active physical therapy
• A lack of interest in normal daily activities
• The failure to attend therapy sessions or doctor’s appointments
If you believe negative thoughts are affecting your ability to recover or respond well to treatment, you may be referred to a cognitive behavioral therapist. CBT is a complementary therapy that normally occurs in conjunction with the treatments addressing the physical aspects of spine pain.
The purpose of CBT is to identify and change irrational beliefs or thinking patterns that aren’t serving you well mentally and physically. There are many forms of cognitive behavioral therapy that could work well for you. Some of the more common ones include:
• Mindfulness training
• CBT involving deep, controlled breathing
• Meditation in a quiet space
Because of the many physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of back pain, it’s important to be proactive and involved with all aspects of your care. Let your doctor know how you’re responding to treatment and what concerns you may have. Also, be open to a well-rounded approach to treatment that includes cognitive behavioral therapy methods and similar mind–body techniques if negative thoughts are affecting your back pain.
Whether their back pain is due to chronic conditions, muscle strains, injuries, or medical procedures such as Coflex surgery, Los Angeles patients need to pay attention to their emotional and mental health to ensure optimal wellbeing. If you’re experiencing sudden, severe, or long-lasting spinal pain of any kind, make sure to consult a specialist for accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment. The pioneering physicians at The Spine Institute have experience with every aspect of neck and back health, so give us a call today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a consultation.