Facebook Pixel

Mental Health and Conditions of the Spine

When we think of spine conditions (ruptured discs, sciatica, pinched nerve in the neck, etc) we often think of the physical pain and discomfort. However, there is also a mental component to these conditions which is sometimes overlooked.

mental health and spine conditions

Spine Conditions

There are many problems that can arise in and around the spine. Degenerative conditions, physical trauma, and mechanical wear and tear, are just some of the reasons people see a spine doctor. Regardless of the diagnosis, most individuals seeking medical treatment for a spine condition are experiencing pain and/or having difficulty moving their body.

Chronic Pain and Depression

Studies have shown a link between chronic pain and depression. How they are related may depend on the individual and their condition but it’s important to be aware that they’re related. Chronic back or neck pain can lead to (or worsen) depression and the actions (or inaction) that result from depression can worsen spine pain. Understanding this can be a helpful step in reversing the cycle.

See Also:  Negativity Hurts / Positivity Heals

Mental Health Risks Associated with Disability

When back and/or neck conditions become severe, they can lead to temporary (or permanent) disability. If the disability prevents the individual from working this can lead to stress and anxiety.  Inability to perform everyday functions and/or the need to rely on others for daily tasks can be difficult emotionally. It’s not difficult to imagine that a physical disability can have a severe impact emotionally. Research has even shown this relationship can put disabled individuals at higher risk for substance abuse.

Treatment Anxiety and/or Depression

For someone living with chronic pain, surgery may be a path toward recovery. So, it’s surprising to discover that surgical treatment, such as a disc fusion or discectomy, can lead to anxiety and/or depression. A research study published earlier this year attempted to learn more about patients’ mental health after spine surgery. Females, chronic opioid users, individuals who had to be re-admitted within 6 months, and individuals who had longer stays in the hospital were all at greater risk for developing anxiety and/or depression post-operatively.

Mental Health and Spine Conditions – Where Do We Go From Here?

As we can see, spine conditions can have a significant impact on our mental health because of the resulting pain, impact on our daily lives, or even treatment methods. It’s important for us to understand the connection between the physical and emotional symptoms of these conditions. Only then can we ensure we are treating both the body and the mind effectively.



*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery