Can’t explain your back pain? It could be psychosomatic

Stress, anxiety and conflicts at work can all trigger back pain, a group of back specialists says.
People who have non-specific back pain – that is, pain without a specific physical cause, such as inflammation – should keep this in mind, advises the German Society for Orthopaedics and Orthopaedic Surgery (DGOOC). Successful therapy, it says, then depends on relieving tension and stress.
This can often be achieved by relaxation techniques. Dr Bernd Kladny, general secretary of the DGOOC, recommends autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) as developed by the American physician Edmund Jacobson.
“Some people have no idea of what to do when you tell them to relax,” he observes. PMR can teach them how to relax their muscles by distinguishing the difference in feeling between tensed and relaxed muscles.
Relaxation techniques don’t work for everyone, though. “Some people relax much better by jogging or cycling,” says Kladny, pointing out that everyone must determine what works best for them. “It’s important that the patient treats him or herself.”
People who are unable to solve their psychological problems themselves should seek the help of a psychiatrist or psychotherapist. — dpa