Living with chronic back pain is not only physically draining, but it can have a significant negative impact on people’s psychological wellbeing. Patients who see themselves facing futures filled with pain and decreased mobility often suffer from depression. Also, individuals who have difficulty managing daily stress often somaticize their anxiety into back discomfort. Researchers in the United Kingdom have recently discovered that integrating talk therapy with a regular physical therapy program is effective in helping some patients who are struggling with persistent pain but aren’t ready to turn to back surgery.
During a recent study, people who suffer with ongoing back pain were separated into two groups. In order to qualify as a test subject, an individual had to have been suffering with back pain for at least three months. In addition, the person had to show evidence of severe psychological distress.
During the trial, one segment participated in regular physical therapy and the other portion underwent counseling sessions with trained psychologists. Both sets of practitioners who took part in the experiment agreed that the best approach to care was treating people with both physical conditioning and mental health care. Patients who took part in the program reported that they preferred one-on-one counseling sessions with a therapist rather than participating in group settings.
The innovative treatment is called contextual cognitive behavioral therapy (CCBT), and it is fast becoming a preferred non-surgical spine therapy. Its primary purpose is to help patients gain a healthy acceptance of pain as a part of their everyday lives. Its focus is also geared toward helping people learn to live more fully amidst the presence of chronic discomfort.
Back pain is one of the most often reported problems to physicians and other health care professionals, and the staggering costs of treating the ailment increase every year. Proponents of the psychological and physical approach to tackling chronic back problems are hopeful that the potentially effective combination of therapies will be cost-effective in the long run. The new method may offer hope for patients whose levels of anxiety are so high that traditional pain relieving remedies are ineffective. Researchers believe that if the psychological element of pain can be handled properly, more effective physical management will ensue.
If chronic back pain is impacting your quality of life, schedule an in-person consultation with Dr. Hyun Bae of The Spine Institute Center in Santa Monica. Dr. Bae specializes in non-fusion treatments like Mobi-C disc replacement and coflex implants. For more information, call us today at (310) 828-7757.