Can back pain be a symptom of a mental disorder?

Doctors say that a number of times back pain or body pain can be a result of a mental illness or stress. In the medical terminology, it is known as ‘somatic symptoms disorder’

Can back pain be a symptom of a mental disorder?

Reshma Shinde, a 35-year-old Mumbai resident who was suffering from severe back pain, had visited Mumbai’s civic-run Sion hospital to seek treatment. But, after the thorough medical evaluation, doctors treating her did not find any particular cause of her back pain.

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Sagar Karia, a psychiatrist, from Mumbai’s civic-run Sion hospital said, “A backache resulting from the mental stress is called as ‘somatic symptoms disorder.’ As compared to the men, women are much more prone to this disorder. Relatives, who accompany the patient, feel that the person is lying. But, this is one kind of mental disorder. During the day, 2 to 3 patients who come to our OPD suffer from somatic symptoms disorder.”

Dr Rahul Bharambre, a brain psychologist, from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai said, “There are many factors which contribute to a backache. But, nowadays one more factor contributes to a backache is mental stress. A number of patient who come to us, have no backache signs during the clinical investigations. Family stress, work load are the major issues which are responsible for a backache in women.”

Dr Bhatambre further says, “20 per cent of the patients who come to see an orthopaedic doctor, with a complaint of a headache and backache suffer from mental stress. Lack of sleep and exercise are the two major factors for this.”