Psychological Factors and Spine Pain

Many people do not think about the process that takes place in the body when they feel pain. In fact, it’s commonly thought that the pain sensation is an automatic response that is relative to the intensity of an injury. However, much more comes into play when pain is experienced. Today, the Los Angeles spine surgeons and specialists at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration are going to share some of the other factors that contribute to pain in the back, neck and spine.

Exacerbating Factors

People who suffer with chronic neck and back pain may have an increase in discomfort when psychological factors are involved. A recent study showed that patients who were experiencing distress, anxiety, negative moods and emotional upheaval perceived pain at higher levels than patients who were more emotionally balanced.

Stress and Pain

Research has shown that people who are exposed to excessive amounts of stress at work or in other areas of their lives tend to report neck and back pain more than the general population. People who have demanding occupations and who have little control over their work environments were found to be at higher risk. The most dominant occupational factors that contributed to reports of back and neck pain in particular were high pressure on the job and the amount of hours that individuals had to work to meet a deadline.

Two-Way Street

Conversely, other instances in people’s lives can make them experience less discomfort than normal after suffering from a neck or back injury. Nerves in the body serve as messengers to the brain and alert it when an injury occurs by producing a pain response. A pathway of nerves also leads from the brain to all of the parts of the body and can make a difference on how people perceive pain. For instance, if an individual is involved in a serious accident, and he or she suffers a neck injury and more serious bodily injuries, the more serious injuries will be felt and the brain may ignore the neck injury. Neck pain may not be felt until later when the more intense pain has resolved.

Pain is different for each individual and thus treatment options will vary. Some people with back and neck pain will find effective relief through a combination of medications and physical therapy while others may need to resort to other treatment options such as decompression spine surgery or another minimally invasive approach.

If you or a loved one is living with chronic pain that is making daily activities difficult to complete, it may be time to schedule an in-person consultation with a spinal specialist. Call 310-828-7757 and schedule your consultation at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration.