If you’ve been suffering with chronic back pain, you know how it can affect your ability—and desire—to be active, and can make it difficult to get through the day when the pain is at its worst. But you may not have given much thought to the other ways your life is being affected. Chronic back pain may be impacting your life in some surprising ways.
Your Overall Health
The most obvious health issue that can arise from long periods of inactivity associated with chronic back pain is weight gain. A prolonged lack of physical activity, especially in combination with poor eating habits, can have dangerous implications on your health, leading to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and also increasing the likelihood of cancer.
Not being able to comfortably sit through meetings may just be the beginning of your hardship when working through chronic back pain. Your condition can impact your job performance and even cost you your job in some cases.
“Work is a big challenge for people with chronic pain. Some keep working at all costs—even at the expense of their health and relationships,” said the American Chronic Pain Association. “Trying to find a balance between a job and taking care of yourself can be challenging. But the financial and emotional impact of losing a job because of chronic pain can be devastating.”
Making adaptations to job functions or your work environment, or changing jobs within the company if possible, may help. Addressing your condition with a specialist and seeking out minimally invasive surgical techniques that offer outpatient treatment for back injuries is often your best option for eliminating chronic back pain.
Just like any worthwhile pursuit, friendship takes work. Is your chronic back pain keeping you away from friends and social activities? Not seeing those you care about or having a social outlet for long periods of time can be difficult to deal with, for you and for them. Think of all the dinners, shopping trips, sporting events, and vacations you could be missing out on. Chronic back pain could even make it difficult to sit through a movie.
Often, the impact of chronic back pain can put stress on our family. Have you found that your pain makes you less likely to participate in family activities? Are other members of the family having to pick up the slack because you aren’t well? Do you find yourself retreating to bed instead of cooking and/or eating dinner together, sitting on the couch for family movies, going for walks, or enjoying other outings?
Being open and honest with your family and loved ones about your condition is an important step toward managing it together. But addressing the issue head on by investigating ways to improve or eliminate your chronic pain can help you to make a plan and move forward.
Your Mental State
One of the most dangerous potential impacts of chronic back pain is how it can affect your mental state.
“It can have a profound effect on your mood, and just about every other part of your life,” said WebMD. “The physical and emotional toll of living in constant pain leads nearly a third of people with chronic pain to become clinically depressed. Stress and pain can turn into an inescapable cycle. You’re in pain, so you feel stressed and anxious. Stress can cause your muscles to tense up, which ratchets up the pain even more.”
Trying to cope with the pain can “affect every aspect of a person’s life and cause conflict between what their mind wants to achieve and what their body allows them to do, according to research in the December issue of the Journal of Nursing and Healthcare of Chronic Illness,” said Science Daily.
Treating Chronic Back Pain
When you’re ready to look into getting rid of chronic back pain, there are new options to consider that can make it easier than ever. Today’s minimally invasive surgical techniques can mean outpatient treatments instead of a long hospital stay, in addition to small incisions and a quicker recovery time.