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Is Most Back Pain Caused by Repressed Emotions?

back pain

Story at-a-glance -

  • Worldwide, 1 in 10 people suffers from lower back pain and it’s the No. 1 cause of job disability. In the U.S., $90 billion is spent on back pain each year
  • Few people want to be told that their pain is psychological or emotional in origin, but there’s quite a bit of evidence that backs this up. Studies suggest that, to be effective, pain needs to be addressed from a biopsychosocial perspective
  • The late Dr. John Sarno used mind-body techniques to treat patients with severe low back pain. He believed you unconsciously cause your own pain, and that pain is your brain’s response to unaddressed stress, anger or fear
  • Pain acts as a distraction from the anger, fear or rage you don’t want to feel or think about, acting as a lid to keep unwanted emotions from erupting. Sarno believed most pain can be overcome by acknowledging its psychological roots
  • Recent research supports Sarno’s ideas. In one recent study, emotion awareness and expression therapy reduced chronic musculoskeletal pain by 30 percent in two-thirds of patients; one-third of patients improved by 70 percent

By Dr. Mercola

Back pain is perhaps one of the most common health complaints across the globe. Worldwide, 1 in 10 people suffers from lower back pain, and it's the No. 1 cause of job disability. In the U.S., a whopping $90 billion is spent on back pain each year. Tragically, back pain is also a leading cause of opioid use, which now kills more Americans than car crashes.


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