Research has shown a link between depression and back pain, primarily demonstrating that chronic spinal discomfort and related symptoms can contribute to diminished psychological well-being. In fact, many studies have shown that people suffering from back pain are more than 60 percent likely to exhibit some type of psychological malaise, and a 2004 study found that the greater the pain, the more likely a patient is to fall into clinical depression. Another recent study revealed that the reverse might also be true – that depression can lead to the development of muscular back pain – but research into this phenomenon is ongoing and inconclusive.
Why Back Pain is Depressing
Not everyone experiences depression and back pain simultaneously, but a look at the physiological effects of back pain offers clues why depression is not uncommon:
- Pain makes it difficult to sleep, leading to daytime fatigue and irritability.
- Pain robs patients of mobility and the ability to interact socially at will, leading to a sense of isolation.
- Potential loss of work can lead to financial difficulties.
- Side effects of pain medication or other pain mitigation methods can cause mental dullness or physical distress.
- Pain can adversely affect memory and concentration.
- Pain can severely diminish the sex drive, which can create tension in relationships.
Rediscover Your Life Without Neck or Back Pain
Depression associated with back pain should not be taken lightly. Talk to your doctor if you feel sad all the time, have lost significant weight without dieting, have had trouble falling asleep, or have been sleeping too much. These are all signs of depression, which can be treated with antidepressant medication and counseling, but sometimes it goes undiagnosed in back patients because a doctor is focused on finding relief for the spinal condition causing the pain. If you have not found success managing your back pain through conservative methods, or if you have undergone unsuccessful open back surgery (failed back surgery syndrome), Laser Spine Institute might be able to help. Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure performed using safe, effective endoscopic techniques can help you rediscover your life without neck or back pain.