Doctor: Back pain can be linked to emotional stress

Dr. Matt McClanahan is photographed in an exam room at Integrative Medicine & Associates on Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Dr. McClanahan approaches treating pain as both an psychological and physical issue.
photo Dr. Matt McClanahan is photographed in an exam room at Integrative Medicine & Associates on Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Dr. McClanahan approaches treating pain as both an psychological and physical issue.

Dr. Matt McClanahan believes the pain you feel in your back may all be in your head. But that doesn't make it any less real.

"It's in the nervous system, which does reside in the skull and spinal cord. But your personality, hopes and dreams, if you feel hungry or hot or angry, those are in your head, too," said McClanahan, a pain management specialist at CHI Memorial hospital. "The brain creates many experiences to keep us in balance, such as hunger or thirst.