In my background as a yoga therapist, I can vouch for the fact that very often, physical pain is the result of emotional stress. Once the emotions are felt and released, the physical body responds and someone with years of chronic pain may suddenly find themselves pain-free once and for all.
The same mind-body theory applies to back pain, a common malady suffered by 55 million Americans. Dr. John Sarno, author of Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection, suggests that 75% of back pain is emotionally related, particularly linked with repressed anger. This anger results in diminished blood and oxygen flow, causing muscle spasms and nerve dysfunction, i.e., pain. By admitting to the anger and working through it, the back pain will be relieved. Keep in mind that anger and stress amplify pain anyway, so there’s a lot to be gained by relaxing.
Of course, it’s important to maintain proper posture and strengthen your core muscles; these are the best preventions for back pain. Accidents and injuries may contribute to slipped disks and pinched nerves, causing pain, and these should not be ignored. But if you’ve been checked out physically and the pain won’t go away no matter how much stretching or massage you do, you’ve got nothing to lose by digging a little deeper into your psyche and smoothing the emotional kinks that may be showing up as pain in your back.