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In the West, most people are what philosophers call “implicit dualists.” They believe that the body and the mind are made of different types of “stuff.” Thoughts, they tell themselves, are different from the chemical messages that carry them – and the rest of the body.

The reality, though, is quite different. Mind and body – whether separate or not – are part of the same system, and impact one another enormously. 

Take back pain for instance – a popular topic in these parts. Most people just assume that it happens because of an injury to the body or an error on the cellular level. But intriguing evidence suggests that a lot of it, if not most of it, is the product of our minds.

Backaches Are A Common Symptom Of Depression

Nobody is suggesting that all back pain is the result of mental activity. However, there is a lot of research that shows that people with severe depression regularly develop body aches, including back pain, because of their condition. What’s more, they also tend to feel the pain more intensely than people who aren’t depressed.

But why would this be? 

Researchers think that the culprit is inflammatory markers. Thoughts themselves can’t change the exterior world. But they can change the chemistry of the brain, causing it to secrete more of some factors and less of others. 

The evidence seems to show that people with depression release more inflammatory chemical messengers into their bodies. And these then interact with their tissues causing inflammation and, therefore, pain. 

When you test the blood of people in chronic pain, you find that inflammatory compound levels are higher than in the rest of the population, suggesting that they play a crucial role.

Treating Depression-Induced Chronic Backpain Requires A Holistic Approach

So what can people do about chronic back pain? Is there any way to get rid of it? 

The best approach at the moment seems to be holistic therapy. This is where the patient themselves begins to understand that their back pain isn’t just in the body, but in the mind as well.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

CBD can help with depression, so that might be a good place to start. But people with symptoms also need to go through counselling.

Counselling is critical because it helps to eliminate the mind as a possible driver of pain. So many individuals go through their lives, believing that they need back surgery when the real answer lies in feeling healthier and happier in themselves. 

Other talk therapies may be beneficial too. For instance, some patients can benefit tremendously from relaxation therapy. Others respond positively to CBT. 

Again, when we say that back pain is in the mind, we’re not saying it isn’t real. The experiences of the mind are the most real anything ever gets!

However, it’s worth exploring whether you have depression first before you opt for significant spinal intervention. Once you treat the depression, the pain may become more manageable. Or it could disappear altogether. 

So, do you think that there’s a link between depression and back pain?

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This month I have covered quite a bit on Hand Reflexology, Auricular Therapy, Acupuncture and Acupressure. All the treatments are based on tapping into particular points on our body to help with pain relief and for other medical conditions. There are also a number of products to help you treat yourself with these therapies which you can do in the comfort of your own home.

There are different types of Acu-pens that you can buy and use on your hands (Hand Reflexology) and other parts of your body.

The Migaven Acupuncture Pen is an Electronic Acupuncture Meridian Therapy Machine Energy Pen with 5 Massage Heads 9 Levels. It has no side-effects compared to using painkillers or other medications to treat chronic pain. It is effective to arthritis, sciatica, sports injuries, joint and back pains, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis and tight muscles in other parts of body, and one you could easily use for Hand Reflexology.

You can use this product as often as you want and this electronic acupuncture massager will not only relieve pain, but also boost your mood by relaxing mind, and improve skin condition, even prevent premature aging. The pros of this product is the ease of use and it is compact and lightweight, just about 7.28 inches long, so can easily be put it in your pocket, handbag, I think the only cons with this product is that it is battery only and would have been great as a rechargeable pen. This #ad was on Amazon for £20.99

Please remember – Do not to use the Pen when you’re wearing a Pacemaker or when you’re suffering from other serious heart conditions. During pregnancy, I always recommend you consult your GP before using any therapy product.

Another Acupuncture Pen / Massage Pen is available from PodoBrace for £17.95 and they point out is excellent for –

  • Perfect when suffering from Migraine or other forms of headache
  • Perfect when suffering from a tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow
  • Perfect for complaints caused by Plantar Fascitiis
  • Perfect for the reduction of chronic pain complaints caused by, for example, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis or Fibromyalgia.
  • Perfect for tired muscles
  • Perfect for stiff and/or tense muscles
  • Perfect to reduce stress and fatigue

The Acupuncture Pen / Massage Pen stimulates your acupuncture points through impulses. The pen works very effectively in combating (sports) injuries, reducing headaches and acute / chronic pain. 

By means of low voltage current, impulses are delivered to acupuncture points or muscles. The Acupuncture Pen / Massage Pen can be used as a portable ”Tens” unit. This pen activates rapid muscle contraction and can be used to relax muscles or to activate immobilized muscles and prevent atropia. The impulses also travel through the nervous system to the brain which causes the signals to trigger pain relief. The impulses also have a relaxing effect on tense muscles through the massage effect.

The Acupuncture Pen / Massage Pen can also be used to locate and stimulate acupuncture points. The impulses run through the body along the meridian or can be concentrated at an acupuncture point associated with a weak or damaged internal organ. The electrical impulses work in the same way as acupuncture needles. 

Like the Migaven it is a great product for you to try using for hand reflexology and easy for you to use on yourself. The pros and cons are similar to the Migaven and again it’s just a shame it’s not a rechargeable pen rather than a battery one. The Acupuncture Pen / Massage Pen is available in 1 size and comes with 2 attachments. A flat head and a normal head. It also comes with 2 jars of gel. The pen does not come with a battery (AA). It is a few pounds cheaper than the Migaven and both have a great feedback online. They are identical to look at but I cannot find if they are made by the same company.

Please remember – Do not to use the Pen when you’re wearing a Pacemaker or when you’re suffering from other serious heart conditions. During pregnancy, I always recommend you consult your GP before using any therapy product.

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When the skies are grey and it’s damp and cold outside we can feel down in the dumps even without any pain but for people who suffer chronic pain the dull outside can reflect on the inside and make pain feel worse.

So, to stop the pain from getting the better of you, you need to think of some reasons why the pain you are in is actually an acceptable pain because you will benefit from it in some way. Pain is actually a necessary part of happiness and research has actually shown that it can in fact lead to pleasure in several ways.

A few easy reasons why pain can actually help you recognise pleasure, are that it can form social bonds, it can give you permission to treat or reward yourself, it shows that experiencing relief from pain not only increases our feelings of happiness, but also reduces our feelings of sadness.

Stress and pain can also stimulate the serotonin and melatonin production in the brain, which transforms painful experiences into pleasure. Common sense tells us that people seek pleasure and avoid pain. But that’s not always the case – various activities involve pain, including running, hot massages, tattoos, piercings etc.

We need the sensation of pain to let us know when our bodies need extra care. It’s an important signal. When we sense pain, we pay attention to our bodies and can take steps to fix what hurts. Pain also may prevent us from injuring a body part even more.

Science News explains that “Pain protects us. When you touch a hot stove, you recoil in pain. That sensation helps you avoid getting a burn that could be dangerous — even deadly. The throbbing of a broken foot tells you to stay off it until it heals, so you don’t do more damage. Without those signals, we’d all be in trouble. Big trouble.”

However, does pain serve a purpose? Well, according to ABC News, To be sure, individuals can gain confidence and pride by pushing themselves to complete marathons or other demanding physical challenges. But enduring pain or stress injuries on a regular basis serves no good purpose for the body or soul, researchers say. But good pain is the body’s warning system, it’s the pain that warns you that you are definitely going to have a bad day today or something is seriously wrong with you.

ABC News goes on to say that “When treating pain, patients and their primary care doctors too often overlook the distinction between good pain and bad pain, many specialists say. Patients want to know exactly what’s causing their pain, and physicians often go looking for an underlying physical cause. But this is often the wrong approach. “In many cases, the pain itself is the disease,” Covington said.”

People with fibromyalgia have precious little to show for their suffering. They have no swelling, inflammation, limp or deformity. Blood tests, X-rays, scans and biopsies are normal. Theirs is a subjective illness. They find that family and friends eventually tire of hearing about their intractable pain and its impacts. Little wonder that depression and anxiety are common complications as the pain is most definitely real.

The NHS has a list of ten good ways to help get rid of your pain.

  1. Get some gentle exercise
  2. Breathe right to ease pain
  3. Read books and leaflets on pain
  4. Counselling can help
  5. Distract yourself
  6. Relax to beat pain
  7. Get lots of sleep
  8. Take a course
  9. Keep in touch with family and friends
  10. Share your story about pain

Reading through the NHS list I realised that I had tried every single one of them and most I practice all the time. If it’s not raining or too cold I will always try and get a walk outside as my exercise every day. I use breathing exercises if my pain wakes me up in the night and I read lots of books on the subject (obviously) which helps my posts on this blog. I had counselling once after a near death experience and the GP gave me hypnosis which worked amazing. I have trouble sleeping so always try and get an afternoon rest. I have done lots of courses and definitely think hobbies are a great way to help pain. I always keep in touch with my family and friends. They are what I get up for in a morning. I also like relaxing to help my pain and seem to have that as part of my day.

The final one on the list is sharing your story about pain. Well, I can vouch for this in a big way, it was writing about my pain that got me started on this blog and I have never looked back since. What I would love is to hear from others with their story or maybe a day in their life while coping with pain. If you know someone who might like to share this with me please get them to get in touch.

Source: NHS, Science News, ABC News