Sore back and depression/stress

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  • Sore back and depression/stress
  • Premier Icon Clover

    Friend of mine is doing a post grad in osteopathy (can’t remember whether it’s an m phil , phd or what) but her dissertation topic is the relationship between back pain and stress/depression. She’s only just starting but I am very interested in reading it when she’s done.

    Anecdotally from treating people she is expecting there to be a relationship but this will give her time to look at it more rigourously.

    Premier Icon SaxonRider

    If she needs a subject to interview, sign me up!


    while you’ve undoubtedly got musculoskeletal issues from what you’ve said if you put back pain stress/anxiety/depression into the googlemachine it’ll return a ton of stuff. if you think about posture in people who are stressed, what they look like, how they hold themselves, it all starts to make sense. mostly people might not believe you until you poke them and make them yelp!

    when I was into such things I rather favoured a combo of alexander technique and frequent stretching – obviously you need to be well careful if you’ve got pre-existing conditions. in a nutshell tho head and body aren’t separate – take care of one and you look after the other


    I have a bad back (essentially a disc bulge that deteriorated over the years to the point where the disc has totally disappeared), and it’s amazing how many different places I can feel pain from muscle spasms in my back. It’s been getting me down a bit, but I recently started a Pilates/core conditioning class and have noticed quite a bit of improvement already.

    Premier Icon SaxonRider

    As some of you may know, I have suffered incredibly in the last three years – first from a double prolapse, and since from a back that gets sore, then keeps me on edge for weeks before letting up.

    One of the most confounding things about whatever my ‘condition’ is, is how random the muscle soreness can be. It can start in one part of my back, and gradually shift around (over the course of a number of days), sort of the like the Northern Lights in the way it moves. Then, if it decides to stay, it will settle in my lower back, and make movement very difficult.

    But the other day, I had a thought:

    Is it possible that my back muscles are just responding to stress/anxiety/depression? No doctor has ever suggested it, but I’ve always been a bit in the anxious side, and my work these last number of years has been incredibly stressful. It would all make sense, but seeing as I have been told nothing about it from a medical point of view, am wondering what those of you on here with experience of back pain, depression, stress, or medicine think.

    I anticipate your wisdom.


    There are many people who consider The way we think, our attitudes and beliefs to and of our life and how we choose to experience it, do indeed manifest as physical illness. Or in other words, our own sense of dis-ease.

    The back is known to represent how we believe we are supported by life. Lower back issues specifically about financial support. Middle back identifies us with guilt and getting stuck with stuff of life. Upper back is connected with our emotional support, feelings of being unloved, or unloveable and holding our own back as a result.

    In terms of overcoming issues, we will each choose our own way. For a start, exercise and build up your core muscles, they will help provide support for your back and you may well find you feeling more comfortable with life. If you are looking at some coping mechanisms while you work on your core, there are plenty of options, ranging from the metaphysical affirmations, to getting some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, acupuncture, reiki, humanist counselling etc. choose whichever you feel most connected with and don’t knock one until you try it.

    I hope this short reply to a vast subject area can be of some help for you, I can relate to your discomfort and wish you well.

    Premier Icon boxelder

    My back pain (prolapse + sciatica) comes and goes, but is always worse when stressed/hacked off at work. The discomfort then feeds the depression and so on. The movement of your pain sounds like the effects of slight disc bulging, on your nerves. As the pain settles into your lower back, that’s good. The MacKenzie technique aims to centralise the psain like that.
    Stress and depression = lowered coping threshold = more pain = depression.
    Act positively and know that things will get better.

    Premier Icon Mal-ec

    Stress / depression / anxiety are intimately linked. Lots of research on this. There was a big prospective study in the states that looked at a whole load of risk factors (Disc bulges, OA in the facet joints e.t.c. observable on scans) and the only thing that showed a good correlation with ongoing pain was depression.

    Managing this side of things and how stress e.t.c manifests itself physically as well as its cognitive and emotional impacts can have a really positive impact.


    It is a possibility that stress also involves mechanical stress by bad posture etc.

    So yes.

    A good massage helps the upper centre of the back.

    Hope you all better!

    stress can cause sore neck / back etc/ somehow.Think it’s just tension in the body and also bad posture while stressed. Have a look into the benefits of taking a high capacity vitamin C supplement. Reduces the stress hormone in the blood IIRC. Think something like 600% rda can be purchased. Check if it’s ok online though if you have medications already etc.IIRC vitamin C isn’t stored in the kidneys and doesn’t build some vitamins.Excess passes through your body although there’s an upper recommended limit. There’s a site that highlights all interactions etc.. although I take no responsibility for your actions and am not a doctor. Good luck

    Not sure about depression as such but there’s information online about how certain everyday supermarket spices can have a positive health effect. Tumeric is good as well as others. Cayenne too.


    I could see why it would. Also if you focus on it it would make it appear work.

    Have you given either yoga or pilates a go? You might find as well as helping physically with your back, an hour of “focussed” relaxation may help with your stress as well.


    In a word YES. Absolutely. To take an example that is not related to backs – the relationship between pain from arthritis in knees is almost completely unrelated to the severity of bony changes to the knee itself.

    But if you look at anxiety levels and compare them to pain there is a very strong relationship.

    So yes your anxiety is probably leading to more pain. However, your anxiety is probably leading to avoidance of certain activities, which is in turn making both your mental and physical states worsen.

    My advice, bearing in mind that i’ve not examined you and have had a few pints is that you need to keep yourself moving and exercising. That will help both your mental and physical wellbeing.

    There is nothing to stop you from becoming pain free, but you will need to work at it.

    If you want any more specific advice my email is in my profile.


    I have a collegue in exactly the same situation; stress,high blood pressure, back pain. I’m pretty sure they are linked.

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