12 Jan The Relationship Between Chronic Pain and Depression
Chronic pain also prevents a good night’s sleep, and it often causes a person to awaken during the night. Lack of sleep then causes daytime fatigue. Many people with chronic pain report suicidal feelings. Depression is one of the most common emotional issues that people with chronic pain face.
Problems related to the Depression-Pain Cycle
Pain causes an emotional response. When a person experiences pain, he/she also has high anxiety, agitation, and irritability. These feelings are normal for someone in pain. With chronic pain, a person is constantly feeling stressed and tense. Over time, this causes serious emotional problems. Problems associated with the depression-pain cycle include:
- Chronic anxiety
- Mood changes
- Low self-esteem
- Family stress
- Legal issues
- Fear of injury
- Work issues
- Weight changes
- Social isolation
- Sleep disturbances
How Pain causes Clinical Depression
The overlap between chronic pain and depression can be explained with biology. The feelings associated with chronic pain and depression come from the same brain neurotransmitters, which are brain chemicals that serve as messengers between nerves. Chronic pain and depression also have the many of the same nerve pathways in the spinal cord and brain.
Chronic pain leads to many losses, which contribute to depression. These include loss of sleep, relationships, social network, job, income, and exercise. In addition, depression reduces a person’s coping skills. People with both chronic pain and depression report no control in their lives and use of unhealthy coping strategies.
Combatting Chronic Pain and Depression
Certain antidepressants work to treat both depression and chronic pain. To reduce the patient’s perception to pain, antidepressants help regulate serotonin and norepinephrine, which are involved in regulating mood. When a person has pain, the brain should divert signals of discomfort so the person can concentrate on normal life.
If this mechanism is shut off, as with chronic pain, physical sensations become the center of attention and is perceived as more severe. Tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline and nortriptyline) are proven effective for treating people with both pain and depression.
Treatment for Chronic Pain with Associated Depression
Studies show that 50% of people with chronic pain also have depression, and depression contributes to disability in life. When the depression is treated, pain often fades away, and as pain decreases, so does the feelings of sadness. Treatment options include:
- Psychological interventions – Includes music therapy, relaxation, distraction, and psychological interventions.
- Antidepressants – When combined with counseling, medications are quite effective.
- Exercise – Regular exercise will help both pain and depression.
Sorrento Valley Pain Relief offers comprehensive pain management options for relief in San Diego. This includes chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, physical therapy and physical medicine. Most insurance is accepted, call today!