Chronic pain is a term that describes pain that lasts longer than three months. Sometimes, it also refers to pain that persists beyond the typical time for an illness or injury to heal. Chronic pain isn’t just a physical condition. It’s also an emotional one that has a huge influence on a person’s thoughts and mood. There is a close link between chronic pain and depression, in which chronic pain can cause depression and vice versa. According to recent studies, about 30-50% of people with chronic pain struggle with depression or anxiety. Chronic pain usually aggravates the symptoms of depression, then the subsequent depression makes the pain worse, resulting in a vicious cycle.
What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is a common condition that millions of people suffer from. Chronic pain refers to pain symptoms that last longer than three months without improvement or pain that comes and goes repeatedly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 50 million adults in the U.S. are suffering from chronic pain.
There are many causes of chronic pain, including various health conditions, diseases, and injuries that damage the body. The degree of pain varies from mild to debilitating. Chronic pain can deteriorate your physical and mental health. It is in your best interest to have an evaluation by a skilled physician to diagnose the underlying cause and work with you to determine the appropriate treatment measures.
Why is There a Link Between Chronic Pain and Depression?
Depression and chronic pain have some of the same neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that are messengers traveling across the nerves. They also have a few of the same nerve pathways in the brain and spinal cord.
The relationship between chronic pain and depression is complicated, as knowing the trigger that started the vicious circle is usually difficult. Depression can leave you struggling with many things, like your sleep, social life, performance at work, and ability to partake in your favorite hobbies. It can also increase your level of pain and limit your ability to cope with it.
Depression usually affects the overall health of people with chronic pain, yet they may not point out that they are experiencing any depression symptoms. In fact, half of all depressed people visiting their doctor only complain of physical symptoms, not depression.
In a comparison between people with both chronic pain and depression and those with only chronic pain, those with both conditions have reported more intense pain, less control of their lives, and have more unhealthy coping strategies.
Following a professionally designed treatment plan is a good idea to keep your pain and depression under control. Treatment options for both your pain and depression might include:
- Talk Therapy. Also called psychotherapy, talk therapy is a common treatment for clinical depression. It can help an individual change their patterns of thinking, learn coping skills for symptoms, and help prevent future depressive symptoms.
- Stress Management. Stress has a big effect on both chronic pain and depression, so learning how to manage it makes a big difference. Methods that have been shown to help include mindfulness, meditations, deep breathing, movement therapies, such as yoga and tai chi, hypnotherapy, and guided imagery.
- Standard analgesics and antidepressant medications may be prescribed to help relieve your symptoms. Opioids may be prescribed if you are experiencing severe pain. Antidepressants may also be prescribed for depression.
If you are suffering from chronic pain and depression, it isn’t the time to hesitate on informing your doctor about the emotional and mental symptoms you’re experiencing. You should get help before your symptoms exacerbate. Receiving the right treatment can help you enjoy your life again.
Chronic Pain Management in Wellington and Royal Palm Beach, Florida
If you have chronic pain, you don’t have to deal with it on your own. If you are experiencing chronic pain, seeking medical advice is essential to relieving symptoms. At Advanced Medical, we can help you manage your pain and treat the underlying cause.
To schedule an appointment, contact us at (561) 434-1935 or submit an online appointment request.