Pain and the Brain: Lower Back Pain




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Chronic lower back pain is a common and frequently disabling problem, but an organic cause cannot always be identified. Pain often co-occurs with mood and anxiety disorders, but when patients present with somatic symptoms in the primary care setting, clinicians often overlook mood and anxiety symptoms. Because appropriate treatment includes both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic strategies, a team approach that includes both mental health and primary care professionals is warranted to alleviate the patient’s pain, manage psychiatric comorbidities, and improve the patient’s functioning and quality of life. Additionally, when prescribing pain medication, clinicians should monitor patients for substance misuse.

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J Clin Psychiatry 2009;70(2):e41