Can Anxiety Cause Back Pain?

Can Anxiety Cause Back Pain?

Sometimes, anxiety and stress can be a pain – literally – in your back. In fact, physical discomfort in your back is a common side effect of anxiety, but sensations of both mental and physical pain can often be treated. Pain has multiple causes, but the symptoms can often be treated.


Everyone experiences anxiety as part of everyday life. You’re worried about a big presentation at work. You’re not sure you rented enough tables and chairs for a family event. But these and other symptoms of anxiety often resolve themselves. But when they don’t, and begin interfering with your quality of life, you may be experiencing the first signs of something far worse – an anxiety disorder. Fortunately, many symptoms can be treated with therapy, including ketamine.


  • Feeling restless, on-edge, or wound-up 
  • Being easily tired
  • Having trouble thinking or your mind goes blank
  • Being easily irritable
  • Experiencing muscle tension
  • Sweating
  • Experiencing heart palpitations, a fast heartbeat, or a quickened heart rate
  • Trembling or quivering
  • Experiencing sensations of smothering, shortness of breath, or choking
  • Having feelings of imminent doom
  • Having feelings of loss of control
  • In the case of a phobia, you could experience irrational or unnecessary worry about confronting the dreaded situation or object 
  • Having a dry mouth
  • Experiencing heart palpitations
  • Feeling nauseous 


  • Generalized anxiety disorder affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment.
  • If you suffer from panic disorder, you’re unfortunately a member of a club of six million U.S. adults.
  • Social anxiety disorder is thought to affect 15 million U.S. adults.
  • Specific phobias – like the fear of spiders, heights, or crowded rooms – have been diagnosed in about 19 million U.S. adults.
  • About two million U.S. adults suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder, long thought of as the soldier’s disease, affects far more people than just military veterans. It’s believed to affect nearly 15 million U.S. adults.
  • The World Health Organization estimates that almost 300 million people suffer from depression, including about 16 million U.S. adults.

If you experience the symptoms of anxiety or a more serious anxiety disorder, talk to your healthcare provider about treatment options, like psychotherapy or ketamine infusion therapy.


Stress can affect your body in many ways, from headaches and mood swings to your weight. However, people sometimes overlook a much-maligned side effect of stress – and that’s neck and back pain. Over the course of years, recurring episodes of stress can result in musculoskeletal problems in these areas of your body.

What are other common causes of back pain?

  • Lifting boxes, intense physical activity, or even poor sleeping habits can give you a sore back. Any of these activities could mean you sprained or strained one or more of countless tendons and muscles in your back, leading to tightness and spasms.
  • Inflammation is an element of your body’s organic immune reaction but can still trigger feelings of discomfort, heat, and soreness. Lingering inflammation due to an injury or disease can lead to chronic soreness in your spine and back. 
  • Arthritis is a kind of long-term inflammation that can harm joints all over your body, including your back. We often equate arthritis with stiffness and swelling. 
  • Osteoporosis, resulting in loss of bone mass, particularly in the hip, spine, and wrist. It can sometimes trigger painful fractures. 
  • Problems with the discs in your back, which are tissues acting as natural cushions and separating the bony backbones of your spine. If these discs shift out of place, swell, or are injured, they can become uncomfortable and even incapacitating. 
  • Fibromyalgia. We’re still working to comprehend the aches and discomforts of fibromyalgia, but most agree that it’s triggered by malformations in the nervous system.


Symptoms of anxiety and more serious anxiety disorders are normally diagnosed by a medical doctor or mental healthcare specialist. An examination may include checking for an underlying medical problem that is triggering your symptoms or delving into your personal and family history of anxiety and mental illness. In some cases, your symptoms will be measured against criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders before the final diagnosis.

Once a diagnosis has been made, you and your healthcare provider can talk about treatment options. Depending on your health, the severity of symptoms, and other factors, your doctor may recommend different therapies.


Anxiety affects millions of people; while the symptoms may naturally fade for most, that isn’t always the case for others as warning signs morph into a far more serious anxiety disorder. But the facts of your illness shouldn’t control your life. Contact us today to learn more about treatment options.