The majority of people have back pain at some point in their lives and most are cured without any intervention. However, some patients develop chronic back pain and persistent disability. There is strong evidence that psychological factors significantly correlate with the development of chronic back pain. Back pain has also emerged as the strongest predictor of major depression. Assessing and treating patients in a manner that integrates psychosocial and biological aspects of care is the essence of excellent family medicine. This case illustrates the importance for primary care physicians of screening for depression and other psychosocial factors in assessing patients with persistent back pain.