Anxiety & Depression and Back Pain

Mood disorders such as anxiety and depression are common mental illnesses that can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. These disorders are often accompanied by physical symptoms, such as back and neck pain. Studies have shown that there is a strong link between mood disorders and back and neck pain, and that treating one condition can often improve the other. 

Anxiety and depression 

Anxiety and depression are both characterised by feelings of worry, fear, and sadness that can last for weeks or even months. These conditions can also cause physical symptoms such as muscle tension, headaches, and fatigue. Back and neck pain are common complaints in people with anxiety and depression, and research has shown that these conditions are often linked.

What Causes Neck and Back Pain? 

Neck and back pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor posture, muscle strain, sudden injury, or arthritis. It is also thought that anxiety or depression may increase the risk of neck and back pain. People who are exposed to higher levels of stress tend to be more physically tense, leading to physical discomfort in their neck or back. 


If you are experiencing back and neck pain, as well as the symptoms associated with anxiety and depression – stress, worry, sadness – schedule an appointment with a Physiotherapist or Biokineticist from The Back Clinic.

Why Does Anxiety and Depression Lead to Neck and Back Pain? 

Anxiety and depression can lead to neck and back pain for a variety of reasons. When people feel stressed, they tend to feel more physically tense due to the fight-or-flight response. If you are in a state of anxiety or depression, you may also not engage in activities that help reduce stress, such as regular exercise, yoga, or mindfulness. This can lead to increased muscle tension and soreness, which in turn can cause neck and back pain. 

How are Anxiety, Depression, and Neck/Back Pain Connected? 

Anxiety and depression are known to increase cortisol levels, which can lead to physical symptoms such as aches, pains and fatigue. In the long term, elevated cortisol levels can have chronic effects on the body, including neck or back pain. In addition, if someone is struggling with mental health issues, they may not engage in activities that could lower their stress levels or manage their own physical well-being as best they can, leading to increased muscle tension. 

What Are the Treatments for People Experiencing Anxiety, Depression and Physical Pain? 

Treatment of neck and back pain caused by anxiety or depression should focus on treating both the psychological and physical problem. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you identify and manage the underlying thoughts, feelings or behaviors that contribute to anxiety or depression, as well as improve the way you handle stress in your daily life. Physical therapies such as physiotherapy and biokinetics can help relieve symptoms and improve back and neck mobility. 

There are many coping mechanisms and treatments to help you manage the physical and mental symptoms of neck/back pain associated with anxiety or depression. These include deep breathing exercises, mindfulness practices, relaxation techniques, and other forms of therapy such as CBT or psychotherapy. In addition, adequate sleep, physical activity, healthy eating, managing stress by setting boundaries for responsibilities, and spending time with supportive friends or family members can help reduce anxious or depressive thoughts associated with pain.





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