The Link between Depression and Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can be associated to many conditions, and one of the most common ones is: Depression. When someone is depressed, they will not only express how sad they feel or how hopeless their life seems to be. Someone who is depressed will complain of chronic pain often.

“Pain frequently accompanies depression,” says Joshua Wootton, PhD, a psychologist and Director of Pain Psychology at the Arnold-Warfield Pain Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “There is a highly intertwined and overlapping relationship between depression and chronic pain,” he says.

To get more specific, we can actually say that there are conditions such as certain pain conditions, or fibromyalgia don’t usually stand alone without depression.  Chronic pain can also be the main culprit of depression. A person who is constantly in pain is more prone to fall into depression due to the limitations the condition may impose upon the body.

However, depression can also be the main event that leads to chronic pain.  Someone who is depressed may suffer from insomnia, CFS, loss of appetite, decreases sexual drive along with the inability to enjoy what you used to enjoy before. “Any of these things can lead to pain,” he says. “Being sleep deprived can lead to a number of painful conditions.”

There is a particular phenomenon called somatization disorder.  The person suffering from any type of pain yet the cause of the pain seems to be unknown to them or even doctors. Considered a psychological issue as well, so the pain could be a trigger the mind generates to avoid thinking about the mental problem the patient has.  Many people who have lost their loved ones for example and can’t let go of their grief, begin showing symptoms of this disorder. When confronted with the situation it is very common to hear them say things like “How can you say this is due to unresolved grief over the loss of my father? My pain is real”. Well, it is a reality.

“Pain may not be psychological in origin, but how we respond to it always is,” says Wootton, “Depression and somatization can complicate and worsen a patient’s pain picture, even when there is physical injury.”

Besides antidepressants and a proper physiological evaluation there are many ways to battle the pain in depression. They have to go hand in hand. As every beginning in fitness an exercise, it will not be easy, but perseverance is the key. In progressive way, the patient needs to get physical and moving.

To deal with the pain, pain management products such as tens units or gels can also provide a much needed comfort at any time of the day. Avoid drinking medication for the pain. The pain can be treated naturally to avoid affecting your digestive health.

It is possible to get back on track when you are depressed, but you have to accept your situation and want to fix it.  It will all start with you and your attitude and will power to bounce back to a healthy life.