themighty logo

The Surprising Reason Behind My Chronic Back Pain


I thought it was “normal” to worry every day. I thought everyone worries throughout the day and that it was OK. I thought everyone had pain, so why should I be concerned about mine?

Now, I’m at a point in time where I know the above statements are not all the way factual, nor should they be taken lightly.

I have social anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Anxiety has me worrying on a consistent basis and I have chronic pain throughout my body. My doctor appointments have all been fine, except this last one.

I went because of horrible back pain. I’ve had it for about three years and finally decided to see about it now because I just couldn’t take the pain anymore. My doctor talked to me and from some simple checks, it turns out my muscles are just super tense. We talked some more and I told her about my situation.

Previously, I had been a young worker-bee at a big company in a fancy office downtown. I was filled with anxiety from when I got up in the morning to when I would get home. Meetings were terrifying, walking past the kitchen area was a landfill for chit-chat (where I always got stopped), emailing and checking up on others was scary and my lunch break was a crowded restaurant every day. All that daily anxiety had me with an upset tummy, headaches and back pain.

I thought it was “normal” to feel that way and it was a part of growing up. I thought all young adults were anxious and in pain all the time. I was not correct at all. I neglected my health. I neglected the signs I was burnt out. I also neglected the signs that the job position I had was just not great for anyone. So after getting laid off a couple of months ago, I had a lot of time to work on me, starting with my health and finding a type of career that actually fits my needs.

After my last doctor’s appointment, it is no surprise why anxiety was still in my system. I had been neglecting myself and putting the job first for so long that I was used to the pain. Being used to pain is a huge no-no, and I finally know that now. I have another doctor appointment scheduled to look at more treatment options. I’m also starting back on my daily meditation and yoga to help with the pain.

In writing this, I just want people to know that pain not just always in our heads. Mental illnesses affect the whole body and if something hurts for that long, see a doctor. I am glad I am on the road to feeling better and I want to encourage others to do the same.

Getty Images photo via LightFieldStudios