A comprehensive study in Biomed Public Health demonstrated the relationship between the growing incidence of neck and back pain with mental health issues in youth. The authors noted that the primary reason was due to shared neurobiological pathways. The hypothalamus receives nervous system input from the body and then works to create hormones, which play a large role in mood and mental well-being. Spinal stress and postural imbalances can negatively affect this process and be a primary cause or significant contributing factor in mental health issues.

Digital image of brain and spine.

“Depression and anxiety are highly and significantly linked with increasing levels of neck pain.” 1

“Recent studies have demonstrated that chronic pain harms areas of the brain unrelated to pain.” 2

“Today, neuroscientists know that in many cases, psychopathology (depression) arises because of dysfunctions in particular brain structures or particular brain chemicals.” 3

“Increased stresses of the cervical spine may lead to cervical
degeneration along with psychological complications.” 4

A teen sits and looks at a smartphone.

“An average person spends up to 4 hours a day with their heads tilted forward reading and texting on their smart phones and hand held devices amassing up to 1400 hours of excessive abnormal cervical spine stress per year. A typical high school student may spend an extra 5,000 hours in poor posture per year due to cell phones and mobile devices.” 5


1) Fushui, L. Ting, F. Fanyuan,. Pain Resolution Management. Association of Depression Anxiety Symptoms with Neck Pain, (Sep 25).
2) Baliki, M. Geha, P. Apkarian V. (2008). Beyond Feeling: Chronic Pain Hurts the Brain. Journal Of Neuroscience, (6 February 2008, 28 (6) 1398-1403).
3) Jacobs, B. (2000). Depression and the and death of brain cells. American Scientist, (August).
4) Fares, J. (2017). Neck Pain in Adolescents. Surgical Neurol INT., 8:72.
5) KENNETH K. HANSRAJ, M.D. (2014).Assessment of Stresses in the Cervical Spine Caused by Posture and Position of the Head. Neuro and Spine Surgery, (November) p. 277-279