Harrison Ford, Usain Bolt and Peyton Manning have all had to deal with back pain. And they're just some of the 31 million Americans who, on any given day, contend with that agony.
What causes all this discomfort? Sometimes it's a slipped disc, muscle spasm or congenital spine problem like scoliosis. Other times, however, the source of pain is harder to diagnose, and conventional medical treatments don't provide relief.
A study in the journal PAIN suggests that in such cases, stress and emotional/ psychological factors may be the cause. After all, stress can cause vasodilation, which makes a person blush. So, say the researchers, stress/repressed emotions can trigger physiological changes (in your nervous system and muscles) that cause nonspecific back pain.
To treat such cases, the researchers used a 12-week, psychophysiologic symptom relief therapy (PSRT) program. It educates patients about the links between stressors, emotions and pain, and helps reverse ingrained associations of certain activities (bending, sitting) with pain. In addition, it teaches a mindfulness-based stress-reduction technique.
Low and behold, after four weeks researchers saw an 83% decrease in reported pain disability in PSRT participants. After six months, 64% of patients in the PSRT group were pain-free.
PSRT, developed at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, isn't yet available to the public. However, if you can't find a solution to your lower back pain, ask your doctor about pain-related psychological therapy, and check out "Mindfulness: 17 Simple Ways to Ease Stress" at health.clevelandclinic.org. Omm, my! That'll feel so good!
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.
(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.