Dealing With the Mental Side of Back Pain

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Dealing with the mental side of back pain is really hard, I wrote a post recently about this.  I have been living with back problems for about 20 years now and this toys with my emotions, sometimes on a daily basis.  My back pain can be a mental roller coaster of ups and downs.

Photo by Raj Eiamworakul on Unsplash

I am a big advocate of working out, building a strong core as well as overall fitness level to combat back problems.  So, the other day, I tried to challenge myself physically, and I think more importantly, mentally, by doing some new core exercises.

I went to bed that night with a somewhat sore lower back and woke up with a really sore lower back.  I tossed and turned most of the night trying to find a comfortable position, but it just wasn’t to be.  The next morning, I gingerly got out of bed and hobbled around the house.

Honestly this episode kind of scared me.  This is one of the hardest parts of back pain, for me is dealing with the mental part of it.  I had back surgery about 20 years ago, and I have been working through problems ever since.  Surgery was definitely not a fix, validating what I have heard from so many people over the years.

Laying low

Right away when I got out of bed I knew I would need to take it easy for the day.  My wife and I went for a morning walk and that was good for me.  I took it slow and tried to really focus on proper mechanics.  No gym for me, just a day of trying not to do anything to aggravate the pain.

Just to give you an idea, I was really struggling to put socks on, and that scared me.  I have been through a lot in my life with back problems, and struggling to put socks on brought back bad memories.

So, I decided it would be best to just lay low and allow my body some time to recover, no gym.  Pretty much all day, I walked carefully around the house, making sure I didn’t do anything to hurt myself.  This is a crappy way to go about your day, but I have a lot of these days.  Constantly thinking about my activities and whether or not my back can handle it.

I know a lot of people deal with back problems, some are minor and some are a lot worse than mine.  I don’t know if other people have difficulty with the mental side of it or not.  I am an active person, and am in pretty good shape for my age and condition, but back pain is constantly on my mind.

I am continually battling the ups and downs of feeling good and not so good.  My worst fear is doing something that requires another back surgery, since I am convinced the first one was a mistake.  That is the catastrophic thinking part of my brain kicking in.

How to deal with fear?

This is a tough one for me. I don’t know how to wrap my head around this, or get over having these thoughts on my mind all the time.  I am sure it’s not healthy for me and I wish I could move on.  The one positive I suppose is that I am always aware of my body mechanics and I really try to make sure I don’t put myself in positions that will exacerbate the pain.

Anyway, getting past the mental part of all this has been a big obstacle for me and I am not sure how to do it.  I continue to exercise and work on building a stronger body (that would be a great website name LOL).

If you are a new visitor to my site, I typically post articles about products or exercises that can help with back pain. I post about core exercises that have helped me, or things I am trying.  Product reviews are about items I have tried with some successes and some failures.

Back pain does not have a one size fits all solution, every single person is different and so is their pain.  Some people have acute pain that goes away and never comes back. I am so envious of these folks.  Then there are people like me, who deal with some sort of pain almost daily.

I don’t take pills and have tried other treatments.  Chiropractic care, inversion tables, seat cushions and a back brace have had some beneficial effects for me in the past.

Anyway, what I wanted to accomplish today was to update the previous article I wrote about my crappy day with a bad back.  Today I woke up feeling much better and I will continue to add more variety to my core workout routine.  Even though I am feeling better today, back pain is still on my mind.

I think this is something I will forever have to deal with, but hope that I won’t let it consume me.  Learning to live with my back problems has been a help and a hinder for me.  I want badly to do many of the things I used to do, but realize that some of those same activities put me in my current situation.

See, I am a person who does not want to be limited in what I can do physically, I never had to be when I was younger and that same mentality has been an obstacle moving forward.

If you suffer from back problems, how do you deal with the mental part of it?

Do you have any advice for myself or my readers on the mental side of chronic pain?

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