How can I tell if I am worrying too much about my back pain? I've had it for six months and it doesn't seem to be going away. That worries me.

Worrying is a problem if it interrupts your thoughts, your sleep, or your relationships with others. Worry that is intense and uncontrollable is too much. This type of worry makes matters worse not better. It adds another problem when you're already dealing with the problem of chronic pain.

Worry of this type may keep you from finding acceptable solutions to the problem at hand. In fact you may not be able to see answers that are right in front of your face if worry gets in the way.

There are some short-term solutions that can help you break the pain-worry cycle. Sometimes medications are helpful. In other cases distractions work well enough. Various methods can be used such as exercising, calling a friend and talking about anything except your worries, listening to calming music, or reading a book.

If after trying these distractions you still can't get a thought out of your mind, seek help in finding some effective solutions. Learning to live without obsessive worrying is a good life skill to have.

Petra De Vlieger, et al. Worrying About Chronic Pain. An Examination of Worry and Problem Solving in Adults Who Identify as Chronic Pain Sufferers. In Pain. January 2006. Vol. 120. No. 1-2. Pp. 138-144.

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