The word “psychosocial” is a fancy word that some people use to describe various factors that can relate to a person’s physical health. For instance, depression, hopelessness, stress, anger/hostility, and feeling out of control are examples of psychosocial factors… and some of these things may influence how a person feels, specifically related to their aches and pains.
Take, for instance, depression. Is a depressed person more likely to feel pain? Perhaps. Depression might cause pain, and pain might cause depression– it can become a vicious cycle. Though it’s not clearly understood “why,” research has shown that people with depression often suffer with physical problems such as back pain and/or headaches. Over time, a person feels worse– they get “worn down” and “moody.” If they’re bothered by chronic pain, that can lead to more problems, like trouble sleeping and a more stressful life. If the pain is “so bad,” a person might not exercise like they used to/wanted to, and they might give up doing the social activities or hobbies they liked. Furthermore, this mix of problems can lower a person’s self-esteem to the point where they lose friends, lose interest in work, and suffer financial setbacks, too.
When a person is stressed, they manifest that stress in their body– usually they experience tension, stiffness, and, yes, back pain. If and when a person is stressed out to the point where they’re keeping their back muscles tighter than they should be, they’ll experience a variety of aches and pains.
Did you know that some people think back pain is a somatic symptom created by the unconscious to distract a person from emotional issues they want to repress? Think about it this way– if you’re an angry person but you’re not allowing yourself to express that anger (through something healthy like a kickboxing class or swimming), your back pain could be the direct result of the rage within you having nowhere to release!
Psychosocial factors can definitely play a role in back pain. If you think you might be going through some tough things like depression or stress, consider meeting with a chiropractor. Dr. Jason Gerard of Lakewoods Chiropractic in Forest Lake, MN, can help you find solutions to such problems with the intent to relieve your pain naturally.