BPS #025: Why Depression Could Be The Reason You Have Back Pain…


Hey guys, this is Robin Wakeham from the Back Pain Secrets podcast. And today I’m going to talk about how depression might be the reason you’re experiencing back pain.


So it’s all about depression today guys. It’s a big, problem all around the world. There’s billions of people that, suffer from depression and it’s not an easy diagnosis.


So if you have it, you definitely need to take it serious and try to get some help for it. That’s like the quick fix. You need to go and get some help. It’s very hard to beat depression by herself.


So to give you a bit of backstory before we start here, and about 23, 24 years back, I had a big serious ice hockey injury from my back. I was for three years, I was struggling with it daily with my back pain. I was on pain medication.


I went through depression and it was, all kinds of shit, you know, and I couldn’t find a solution. So I started to study and I read a lot, went to physiotherapy university and eventually reduced my back pain quite a bit.


I started a clinic back pain clinic and for the last 20 years I’ve been been treating people with back pain and all the average, I see like eight to 10 people a day during these years, five days, weeks. I’ve seen quite a few people with back pain and a lot of them are struggling with depression.


And when you visit someone, when you come into to a therapist, most patients they want want, want the problem to be pure to physical. Like they’d pulled a muscle or they have a disc that is irritated. You know, people get quite offended if you even hint that it could, could be their mind, you know, that they’re thinking negative thoughts, that they’re depressed, that they’re negative.


And so whenever you, you, you see this in a patient, it’s very important that you don’t assume that you tell them this information in the correct manner or else most of them would just storm out. You don’t think you’re a prick.


Anyway, for a few weeks back I had this patient called the Tin Man. He was around 45 to 50 years old. He had three or four kids. His wife had some kind of medical problem. He was working in the factory and he was the sole provider for the family. He had a lot of stress just providing stuff and he was taking care of it, he, his wife and his kids and he had been struggling with depression for quite, for many years I think like 10, 12 years, something like that.


And he had been on pain medications sometimes and he was trying to do some exercise and was trying to fix it, but he was just giving me the excuse that he didn’t have time. He had all kinds of other stuff on the goal.


But just recently, three, four months back, he started to experience back pain, located, in the lower back, in his buttocks,with pain radiating down his legs, but he had a hard time sitting down and also waking up in the morning, was very stiff. He felt a bit better when he starts to move around, but he was in constant pain more or less. And he was stressed because this was affecting the way that he could perform at work.


He needed his body in order to perform his work. So he visited me and we had a chat about this and he said very clearly, well it was very clear to me that he was suffering from depression and the way he was telling his story.It also seemed like he was getting worse.


So, we went through some exercises that he could do, freeze back and everything, but I told him, that 50% of this problem was that you needed to beat this depression. I told him you need to tackle that as well. And so we put up some guiding lines, some, very easy things he could do to reduce his depression.


There’s no quick fixes when it comes to depression. First off, I was telling him, you need to go out to him at least 20, 25 to 40 minutes outside in the daylight.


It’s very important to get daylight when you’re depressed. Get some sun on your face, get the air here or air in your hair or whatever. You need to get outside that. That’s very important. Also, when you’re out, you need to to walk, or even better, do some jogging.


That increases the hormones in the brain and you have a sense of it creates a nice feeling in the body and the mind. Then you can also consume Omega three fats and Omega three fats are fine. You can find that in fish. There’s some like spirited and not, you can ask for that in the store and there’s also tablets that you can, you can take. There’s other ways as well. But that’s three easy ways to get your Omega three fats in there. And that’s also too to help the body to attack the depression.


Get on a good sleeping schedule.


When you’re depressed, it’s very common that you want to lie in bed, sleep during the day, and then you have problems sleeping during the night. So don’t get in bed during the day. Keep it up, keep moving, keep active. There’s so many apps and stuff around now that can help you sleep. So if you have an iPhone or any iPhone or, or phone, there’s all kinds of stuff that can actually track how many hours you’re sleeping and between what times. So very, very important.


Get on a good sleeping schedule that you keep seven days a week. I wouldn’t even mess it up during the weekends. Okay. Because that messes it up then. It’s very important to spend time with people. When you are depressed, you don’t feel like you want to spend time with people.


You just want to be in bed all day. Watch, Netflix, eat pizza, and pull the covers over your head. That’s a feeling nice at the moment. But it’s destroying you long-term. So you need to get out and eat good friends, even if you don’t have too many friends, but most people have one or two friends that they feel they can be themselves with.


So you don’t need to be all,. Just give them a call and say, “Hey Andy, do you want to go to the movies?”


At least you’re out. You’re talking to someone, you’re watching a movie. You need to interact so much, but going to the movies was someone, and having that Le Chat is better than just being at home watching Netflix. So you need to get out.


We’re living in an age right now where everyone seems so, so freaking busy. Everyone’s on the phone, they’re on the Internet, they’re there, they’re checking everything. But the truth is that most people, the majority of people, feel very alone,that’s part of the depression thing. So, please go out and spend time with people where you can see face to face. Very rare, very important.


Then last thing, stop thinking negative thoughts. And that’s very easy to say, but it’s hard to deliver on. But a few weeks back I had this challenge where I challenge you guys not to be negative for 21 days and it’s hard, guys, it’s hard and I still slip, but an easy way is to get a rubber band and you put that on your right wrist? And the goal is to have that rubber band on for 21 days without saying something negative.

So every time, you say something negative, you need to change that rubber band over to the other wrist and then you need to start at at day zero again. So I challenge you again because this is a big one.


Guys get a rubber band, put it on your wrist and just give it a goal. Every time you, you say something negative, you need to change it and you go on, go down to day zero again. Give that a a goal. This is a big problem guys. A very big problem worldwide.


There’s many different factors in everyone’s obviously different. So the best thing you could do, especially if you’ve been trying to, to beat the this depression for many years or months or years, you need to find how.


Usually you definitely need help. So go to your doctor and go to physiotherapists and the other therapist, they can give you numbers. Go Online, find support groups, both unique to attack this with as much force as you would the back pain just with exercises if it’s, it’s definitely all intertwined.


So please go and get some help. That’s it for today. Take care. And guys, remember you’re just one step away from healing your back pain.

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Robin BackPainExpert

Physiotherapists & Back Pain Expert

Twenty years ago I was lucky to survive a serious hockey injury. In a sport where big men zoomaround on hard ice and solid wood sticks are slung furiously, a difficult back injury is what every player fears.
It took a long time for me to climb back to a normal life. But when I did, I was determined to spend the rest of his life helping back pain victims everywhere.
As a physiotherapist and back pain expert I have treated thousands of patients over 20 years, built a respected back pain clinic, created the site BackPainSecrets.Com and authored the book “Back Pain Secrets.”
Learn more about me here.