Sometimes back pain can bring tears to your eyes. And sometimes it’s the background reasons for low back pain that can make you cry – the back pain is just a symptom of a deeper upset. Let me explain…
According to the research, low back pain in particular is more likely if the following are present
- emotional upset
- work related stress
Recently I had a patient who first developed low back pain a few years ago. The patient could see no obvious reason for the back pain coming on, and no obvious reason for it coming and going over the following years. The patient had had some chiropractic, osteopathy and physiotherapy with mixed but brief results – so it was difficult to know whether it was the treatment or time that resolved each episode (but it certainly didn’t prevent recurrence).
When discussing the difficulties of dealing with chronic (long lasting) pain and the factors associated with chronic low back pain in particular, I touched on the influence of anxiety and emotion. Very quickly the patient’s eyes started brimming with tears. In the same year that the low back pain had started the patient’s spouse had died suddenly and unexpectedly. I went on to talk about the other factors that can influence pain (after offering a tissue!), the first on my list being work-related stress – again the patient’s tears started flowing. Turns out work was particularly difficult last year when the pain had been very difficult to deal with. The patient had not made the connections between these significant life events and the increases in pain – but now feels it likely they are clearly connected.
So take note – pain is strongly influenced by what you are going through mentally as well as physically. If you’d like to explore this concept further, I’d recommend Dr John Sarno’s book “Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection“.
I’m not saying your pain is “all in your head”, but all the research indicates that long term pain is influenced by many factors and your emotions and stress levels are very important amongst these.