Question: Can an anxiety disorder worsen chronic pain, and can chronic pain cause an anxiety disorder?
Answer: Chronic pain and anxiety disorders are very related. A recent study that was done across 17 countries showed that people with chronic neck and back pain are two times more likely to develop an anxiety disorder than people without chronic neck and back pain. In addition, pain disorder may also be associated with anxiety disorder.
Anxiety and pain are connected in a number of different ways. Anxiety may lead to pain, or pain may lead to anxiety. In fact, studies have shown that preoperative anxiety may increase the sensation of post-operative pain, so that people now seek to decrease preoperative anxiety so that postoperative pain can be less debilitating.