Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ

Question:

If psychological factors play a role in pain, like back pain or neck pain, will going to see a psychiatrist help?

Answer:

When researchers and doctors say that there may be some psychological factors associated with some types of pain, they usually mean that the intensity of the pain may be affected by psychological factors, such as stress or depression.

When stress, anxiety, depression, or any similar feeling strikes, people can feel physical sensations more acutely, causing an increase in pain. Often, the approach to treatment is helping relieve the psychological distress. This could be through counseling, biofeedback, relaxation exercises, or perhaps medications.

Seeing someone for the psychological aspect of pain will not likely make the pain go away, but it may help someone learn how to manage it more effectively. Michele Sterling, PhD, et al. Psychological Factors Are Related to Some Sensory Pain Threshold but Not Nociceptive Flexion Reflex Threshold in Chronic Whiplash. In The Clinical Journal of Pain. February 2008. Vol. 24. No. 2. Pp. 124-129.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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