Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Back Pain Health Center

Font Size

Living With Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain management can have physical and emotional benefits. Chronic pain's emotional effects include depression, anger, anxiety, and fear of re-injury which may hinder the ability to return to work or once enjoyable activities.

The emotional toll of chronic pain also can make pain worse. Anxiety, stress, depression, anger, and fatigue interact in complex ways with chronic pain and may decrease the body's production of natural painkillers. Also, such negative feelings may increase the level of substances that amplify sensations of pain, causing a vicious cycle.

Recommended Related to Back Pain

Chiropractic Care for Back Pain

Among people seeking back pain relief alternatives, most choose chiropractic treatment. About 22 million Americans visit chiropractors annually. Of these, 7.7 million, or 35%, are seeking relief from back pain from various causes, including accidents, sports injuries, and muscle strains. Other complaints include pain in the neck, arms, and legs, and headaches.

Read the Chiropractic Care for Back Pain article > >

If you or someone you love suffers from chronic pain, it's important to get help. There are many effective treatments available to relieve pain so that you or your loved one can start living again.

Managing Chronic Pain

The ideal treatment for chronic pain is a comprehensive approach that addresses a person's physical, emotional, and cognitive needs. Successful treatment requires choosing a life-long plan of wellness that may include:

  • Physician services
  • Physical therapy
  • Psychological counseling
  • Occupational therapy

If you suffer from chronic pain, the first thing to do is see a doctor and get treated. Other steps that can make living with chronic pain more tolerable include the following:

  • Learn how to relax through deep breathing and other stress management techniques.
  • Set achievable goals and don't over do it on good days; learn to pace yourself.
  • Engage in positive self-talk (statements that reaffirm positive qualities).
  • Build in rest, exercise, and relaxation times in your daily schedule.
  • Join a chronic pain support group and/or find the nearest meeting for the American Pain Society.
  • Know your medications, including expected benefits and side effects. When the "cost" exceeds the benefit, ask your doctor if something else might work better.
  • Decrease or eliminate alcohol consumption. Pain often disrupts sleep and alcohol can further disrupt the sleep cycle.
  • Quit smoking. Cigarettes can impair healing and have been identified as a risk factor in the development of many diseases including degenerative disc disease, a leading cause of low back pain.

 

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on July 27, 2014

Today on WebMD

Woman holding lower back
Or is it another form of back pain?
Hand on back
Eight out of 10 us will have it. Here’s the myths vs. the facts.
 
Woman doing pilates
Good and bad exercises
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Use it to manage your pain.
 
Man with enhanced spinal column, rear view
Video
pain in brain and nerves
Slideshow
 
Chronic Pain Healtcheck
Health Check
break at desk
Article
 
Woman holding lower back
Slideshow
Weight Loss Surgery
Slideshow
 
lumbar spine
Slideshow
back pain
Article