Back pain may raise risk of mental health problems

Posted at 5:39 PM, Dec 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-05 17:39:49-05

This is the largest study to examine the link between back pain and mental health. 

A research team out of the United Kingdom examined data from 43 countries that included over 190,000 people. They found those with back pain were more than twice as likely to experience one of five mental health conditions, compared to those who didn’t have back pain.

The mental health conditions were anxiety, depression, psychosis, stress, and sleep deprivation. Researchers also found those suffering with chronic back pain, meaning pain that lasted longer than six months were three times more likely to suffer depressive episodes. Having any of these conditions can really affect the quality of your life.

There are numerous causes like improper lifting of heavy objects, sleeping on a poor mattress, or years of poor posture.  You may experience nerve damage or suffer an injury that doesn’t heal properly. Even wearing high heels can cause back pain. 

Here in the United States, back pain is one the most common reasons why people miss work. Aim to keep your back healthy and strong:

Partha’s RX:
1. Take part in regular low-impact aerobic activities like walking or swimming
These don’t strain your back and can increase strength and endurance.

2. Do core-strengthening exercises
They build muscle strength and flexibility for your abdominal and back muscles.

3. Maintain a healthy weight
Extra weight, especially around the middle can strain your back muscles.

4. If you suffer with back pain, talk with your doctor
They can explain what activities and exercises are right for you.

Yes, if you have to stand for long periods, rest one foot on a low footstool as this can help take pressure off your back. And when sitting, choose a chair with lower back support and armrests. And change your position often, about every half an hour.