One recently publicized approach, developed by Dr. John Sarno, a professor of clinical rehabilitation medicine at New York University School of Medicine and attending physician at the Howard A. Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, proposes a connection between back pain and repressed anger. According to Dr. Sarno, the anger causes the brain to reduce the blood supply to back tissues, resulting in pain. Treatment is based on education. Patients attend a series of sessions that focus on the anger hypothesis. Though the mechanisms by which anger may cause back pain are unknown and highly speculative, many people—including celebrities like radio personality Howard Stern and consumer reporter John Stossel—say they've been helped by Dr. Sarno's techniques.
"While such an approach may help, it's unlikely that any one psychological issue is relevant to all individuals with back pain or any other medical problem," Dr. Rabins says. Our recommendation: Look for a program offered by a multidisciplinary pain center or clinic that offers a variety of diagnostic and treatment services. Such facilities are sometimes accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (520-325-1044). While not required, accreditation offers some measure of assurance that the program is comprehensive.
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David Baxter said:I would agree with you, Daniel. I think the best therapists tend to take a wholistic approach to psychotherapy -- medication, psychotherapy, lifestyle, medical/physical health, nutrition -- everything interacts in the end and each of these factors makes an important contribution both to illness and to health/recovery.
The issue isn't usually with medications but with expecting medications to do everything... in many, perhaps most cases, medication is an important part of therapy.I agree with you, except I feel a strong caution needs to be used with medications. I think too many doctors are too quick to prescribe medications. Rather than finding the true cause, imho.
The pain is usually caused by many different factors working together at once, experts agree. Often, a physical factor, such as lifting or sitting for too long, combines with stress, and the result is a painful back. Where they don't agree, however, is about the degree to which psychological stress on its own can cause back pain.
"Stress can surface anywhere a person has a weak link, whether it be back pain, neck pain, headaches, or whatever," says Rick Delamarter, MD, medical director of the Spine Institute at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica and associate clinical professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of California at Los Angeles. "If a person has a propensity for back or neck problems, stress can easily bring them to the surface or exacerbate them."
For severe stress, you may need professional guidance. Both pain management experts and mental health professionals, such as psychologists or psychiatrists, can help.
Regular exercise is very important for maintaining back health not only because it keeps your muscles strong and your back well supported, but also because it's a great stress buster.
Is Your Job a Pain in the Back? - WebMD