Depression, lower back pain should be treated simultaneously: Study

Depression, lower back pain should be treated simultaneously: Study

Medical practitioners have been exploring the link between depression and pain for quite long. The vicious cycle of pain and depression is being looked into by doctors who often have their patients complaining of chronic pain which has only worsened their symptoms of depression, or the resulting depression only aggravating the existing excruciating pain. So, depression and lower back pain (LBP) should be treated simultaneously, a team of researchers from the University of Sydney have concluded based on a recent study.

The cycle of pain and depression

Many patients are seen complaining about back pain or headaches that doctors are unable to attribute to any specific cause. Clinical psychologists believe that this may be the first or at times the only symptom of depression. Constant headaches or unexplained pain in the body can lead to sleep disorders, which in turn leads to stress. The pain may not be only due to physical injury, but may find its roots in migraine or diabetes.

A study published in the Arthritis Care and Research in November 2015 concluded that patients with symptoms of depression have an increased risk of developing an episode of LBP in the future, with the risk being higher in patients with severe levels of depression. In reference to cases of LBP partially ascribed to depression, Dr. Paulo Ferreira from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Health Sciences opined, “When patients come to us with both back pain and depression their cases are much more complex. They don’t respond to treatment in the same way as patients who only experience back pain – they take much longer to recover and treatment can be expensive.”

Medical practitioners are unable to pinpoint the causal relationship between concurrent conditions of both pain and depression, but believe that lower self-esteem in depressed patients may trigger drastic changes in sleeping habits resulting in unaccounted back pain.

Treating pain and depression

The medical treatments for both pain and depression differ. While the patient undergoes separate treatments to get rid of each of these, there are also ways to help patients get rid of both pain and depression together. One may avail of the following treatments for relief from both the problems:

Use of antidepressant medications: Antidepressant medicines provide relief from both pain and dependence due to shared chemical messengers in the brain.

Psychotherapy: Talking to a patient helps in alleviating the level of depression and soothes the pain. Psychotherapy, also referred to as talk therapy, has been found effective in treating both the conditions.

Exercise: Physical activities like walking, exercising or resorting to meditation helps in de-stressing both the mind and the body. Jotting down emotions and feelings may give vent to unexpressed emotions or unspoken feelings.

A combination of these treatments instead of practicing each in isolation may yield better and faster results for both pain and depression. “Our study suggests we would have much better outcomes if we treated depression and back pain simultaneously, but this would require health professionals from different fields to work together more closely,” Dr. Ferreira added.

Expression pain and depression in figures

The World Health Organization has said that by 2030 depression will account for the highest level of disability among all diseases in both developed and developing countries. As per the American Pain Foundation (APF) data, about 32 million people in the U.S. have had pain lasting longer than one year. The APF researchers claim that more than half of the patients who complain about pain to their physicians suffer from depression. On an average, 65 percent of depressed patients complain of pain.

Road to recovery

Believing that depression is a choice makes its treatment difficult. It is a state of hopelessness which calls for immediate medical attention. A depressed mind needs attention and help. If you or your loved one is going through a state of hopelessness and worthlessness and feels guilty for no reason, it’s time to share your emotions with a certified professional.

Contacting the right resources is a vital first step toward recovery. The experts at Texas Depression Treatment Help make sure that the patient is guided in the right way. Call our 24/7 helpline today at 866-827-0282 for more information.