Back pain is a common ailment that is experienced by almost everyone. A person can have back aches due to several reasons like stress, strenuous physical activities or bone problem. And it's definitely uncomfortable.
A study published in General Hospital Psychiatry
, says there's a close connection between back pain and mental illness such as anxiety, depression, stress sensitivity, sleep problems, and psychosis.
The new study was gathered by the World Health Survey (WHS), which organized a cross-sectional, community-based initiative, involving data from 190,593 adults from different parts of the world. The survey focused on 43 low-middle-income countries (LMIC) such as India, China, Russia, Brazil, Pakistan, Ghana, Vietnam, Tunisia, Philippines, and Kenya.
Participants answered a series of questionnaires from the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, where they elaborated symptoms of mental disorders within the past 12 months. Subjects mentioned different symptoms of anxiety, sleep problems, sensitivity to stress, as well as cases of back pain (BP) or chronic BP (CBP).
Overall results showed that most participants with mental health issues are experiencing back pain. More than 35% are affected by back pain, while seven percent has CBP.
"Our data establish that BP is associated with elevated mental health comorbidity in LMICs. Integrated interventions that address back pain and metal health comorbidities might be an important next step to tackle this considerable burden," researchers said in the study.
According to researchers, people who experience pain are at risk for developing psychiatric disorders. Back pain may not be a direct symptom of mental disorder, however, BP is closely tied to such illness.
“This study extends our understanding of what we already know about the relationships between pain syndromes such as BP/CBP and depression,” Dr. Clark told Practical Pain Management
. “These relationships are important at many levels. From a public health standpoint, we need to design more aggressive early interventions for patients with pain to identify and treat these psychiatric disorders to prevent long-term disability and high utilization of healthcare resources.
Whether our back aches are due to undiagnosed mental problems or just because of our hectic sched, one good back massage would certainly make us feel better. If not for long, at least for a while.