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Treating Emotions, Psychological Factors Eases Back Pain

Your emotions have a major impact on your physical health, and while positive emotions can help you deal with stress, negative emotions can have the opposite effect, even manifesting into intense physical pain in your body.

This may explain why a new study found that psychological interventions are extremely effective at reducing back pain (along with depression and health-related quality of life).

Researchers evaluated 22 trials of patients with low back pain that had persisted for three months or more. Psychological interventions, including biofeedback, relaxation, hypnosis and behavioral techniques were reviewed, along with 12 pain-related outcomes such as pain intensity, depression, disability and pain interference.

They found that psychological interventions were superior to standard treatments for the entire range of pain-related outcomes. What’s more, the psychological techniques had the greatest and most consistent effect on reduction in pain intensity.

Not only are psychological treatments cost-effective (treatment-related costs for back pain in the United States range from $20 billion to $80 billion a year), but they also don’t carry the potential side effects that many pain medications do. Among my favorite psychological interventions is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which borrows from the principles of acupuncture and helps you to balance your subtle energy system, resolving negative emotions and even relieving intense pain.

Science Daily December 22, 2006