Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Back Pain

The problem of back pain will be experienced by many people during their lifetime. In some cases, back pain may be due to natural aging, in others, diseases or injuries may be responsible. Whatever the cause of back pain, it can adversely affect one’s quality of life. Back pain has resulted in early retirement for some as sever pain can limit the ability to perform certain tasks.

Since back pain affects so many people, there are many treatment options dedicated to bringing relief. One such method is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Over the years, cognitive behavioral therapy has been used successfully to treat many ailments.

One may well wonder how cognitive behavioral therapy can help with back pain. After all, CBT uses thoughts and emotions to help patients with issues such as depression, anxiety and substance abuse. When it comes to back pain, CBT is a relatively new therapy.

How CBT Works

Cognitive behavioral therapy aids back pain sufferers by helping them rethink their pain and pain management techniques. Those who use cognitive behavioral therapy for pain management believes that having negative thoughts about pain results in treatment options that are not optimal. By going to therapy sessions, back pain sufferers are able to face the problem and what they may be doing wrong.

CBT works in three main ways to help back pain sufferers, namely:

1. Enabling the patient to come to grips with the possibility that their behavior and thoughts play a role in how they handle pain.
2. Learning exercises and techniques to help manage pain, such as stretches and yoga.
3. Enabling the person with back pain to be consistent in using what was learned to improve their quality of life despite the pain.

The therapy sessions used with cognitive behavioral therapy for pain management can be individual or group based. In essence, through the sessions pain sufferers are made to see that they can lead normal lives. In so doing, they can see beyond the back pain and start doing things they had stopped doing for fear of pain.

It is important to stress that cognitive behavioral therapy for back pain is not meant to stop the pain. It is meant to enable through therapy a return to activities previously avoided. Persons with back pain make the situation worse by refraining from many physical activities such as exercise. This results in the back muscles becoming increasingly stiff and sore resulting in even greater pain and discomfort.

A study on the impact of CBT on back pain revealed that the aim is to change the thinking that back pain signifies increased damage. Through therapy the affected person should realize that this is not true and so return to many normal activities free of fear. Some of the benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy for back pain include:

– Unlike other treatments, there are no side affects
– Leads to an improvement in quality of life
– It can be less expensive than some other treatment options

The ability to return to normal function after dealing with physical problems is important to anyone’s emotional wellbeing. CBT is meant to provide one avenue where back pain sufferers can do exactly that.

Filed Under: Back Pain
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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