It’s incredible the power of words. An encouraging word can see someone through the hardest experiences. Adversely, harsh or critical words can be harmful. We know negativity plays a role in our psyche. However, researchers are now finding that open hostility can harm us physically as well.
When you live in a hostile home under the constant weight of criticism and negativity, stress is bound to follow. And stress can manifest as back pain.
How Stress Can Cause Back Pain
Stress is that feeling you get when mental or emotional strain becomes too overwhelming. We can experience it in many ways: anxiety and other mood shifts, an inability to think clearly and physical pain. When we hold stress in our bodies, it causes our muscles to tense, which can manifest as aches and pains, most commonly back pain.
Sadly, stress-related pain is a vicious cycle. To relieve the pain, you need to de-stress. However, when you try to destress, the negativity of a hostile home causes the stress to recur over and over again.
Even if your back pain is not caused by stress, having a spouse who is critical or unsupportive can cause the pain to increase. Because back pain is an unseen malady, felt only by the sufferer, spouses don’t understand what’s going on. They may think it’s not a real problem or that you should be able to snap out of it. Because of that, all too often a spouse may respond in the following ways:
- Dismissing your experience
- Reacting with contempt
The psychological repercussions of this lack of support manifest as increased back pain. The horrible conundrum is that the spouse is reacting badly to the back pain, which only causes you to have more back pain. A recent research study confirmed this by studying 71 couples where one partner suffered from severe back pain. The study found that when the spouse acted negatively, either overtly or perceived, the back pain increased and lasted for several hours.
Breaking the Cycle
Unfortunately, marital difficulties are common among those who struggle with chronic pain, including back pain. Even if the spouse is loving and there are no obvious marriage problems, it’s important for a spouse to show support and help you on your road to wellness.
Because a hostile home is dangerous for those with chronic back pain, there are a few steps a couple can take to create an improved home life:
- Watch out for negativity, both in word and deed
- Maintain an environment free from yelling, arguing or name-calling
- Help those with back pain live the best life they can despite the pain
- Be sympathetic to the challenges those with chronic back pain face
- Look for ways to encourage
- If needed, attend support groups or couple’s therapy for added assistance
If your back pain has lasted more than three months, it’s time to find the cause. It all begins with some basic information. Where your back hurts and the type of pain you’re experiencing will help us determine the cause. We’ll also need to know when it started, how long you’ve been in pain, if you were injured and other symptoms that will help us treat you.
If you’re ready to schedule a consultation with Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery, use our online pain assessment tool and schedule a consultation with us today. Don’t live with back pain anymore.