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Living with Chronic Back Pain

According to the Gallup-Healthways a recent study shows that 31 percent of U.S. adults have a back condition that causes them chronic pain. Chronic back pain doesn’t just hurt sufferers physically it can hurt emotionally too. From physical ailments, to impacting mood, memory and relationships, chronic pain can have a huge impact on one’s life. Here are some of the ways chronic back pain can affect your quality of life and what you should do about it:

Chronic Pain and fatigue 

Pain is exhausting. A sore back can prevent you from sleeping, send your stress levels skyrocketing, and drain your motivation to exercise. Reduce fatigue by integrating the right self-care measures into your pain management plan. Eat a healthy diet; get more sleep and exercise every day. You’ll feel more energized and cope better with your pain.

Chronic Pain and Work

It’s hard to stay on your game at work when you’re in constant pain. Chronic pain can diminish concentration, memory, critical thinking abilities and productivity. Talk to your doctor about daytime pain medications that won’t sedate you, and get the sleep and exercise that you need. Taking short daytime naps may also help. Don’t overcompensate by becoming a workaholic. Taking time off can reduce stress and help with pain management. Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 3.13.30 PM

Depression and Mood Swings

Over time, chronic back pain can take an emotional toll on sufferers. Constantly dealing with pain and the stress of not knowing if the pain will improve can cause serious emotional issues. Depression, anger, anxiety and mood swings are just some of the emotional side effects of chronic pain. While a little emotional pain is normal, if the issues persist, it’s time to do something about it. Try to distract yourself by doing activities you love if you can do so without pain. Exploring stress-relieving activities can be a big help too. If the pain persists, consider joining a support group, many sufferers find relief by talking about their pain with others who can relate.

Low Self-Esteem

Chronic back pain can disrupt your life and make it harder to complete daily tasks and do the things you love. As a result of these limitations, sufferers often have diminished self-esteem. If you are dealing with lowered self-esteem from chronic back pain, it’s important to try and change your mindset right away. While it may seem like an uphill battle, understanding your worth is important. Chronic back pain doesn’t define who you are as a person. If self-esteem is a continual issue, therapy and support groups can help.


Many people underestimate how much chronic pain can affect relationships. As a result of pain and the other emotional side effects that come with chronic back pain, sufferers tend to become reclusive and shy away from social gatherings. Friends may not understand the physical and emotional turmoil those with chronic pain go through, and in turn, become distant. Family dynamics can change as well. If chronic back pain is beginning to affect your relationships, it’s time to talk to a professional about pain-management or surgical options.

Living with chronic back pain can feel extremely defeating, but you don’t have to suffer. If your chronic back pain is affecting your quality of life, contact Dr. Kushwaha. He’s a board certified Spine Surgeon. To learn more about his procedures or to schedule an appointment please call, (713) 587-6263 or visit

About Vivek Kushwaha

Vivek P. Kushwaha attended the University of Texas at Austin where he earned his B.A. from the College of Natural Sciences. He then earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio, Texas.

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