Back pain – it’s something that 80% of us will experience at one point or another. Depression can be a common emotion associated with chronic back pain. But are the two really linked?
According to our Fareham chiropractor, how a person deals with back pain can be as unique as the individual and is shaped by many biological and psychological elements.
Pain is the result of a complex biochemical and neurological blend of unpleasant sensations and emotional experiences. A person’s response to pain can also be influenced by emotions, physical health and lifestyle. If you suffer from depression, for example, you may be more sensitive to pain and unpleasant symptoms.
It’s important to recognise that while many people with chronic back pain may suffer with a low mood from time to time, depression goes beyond normal feelings of sadness or feeling “down in the dumps”.
The symptoms of clinical depression occur daily for at least two weeks and include at least five of the below symptoms.
- Feeling sad, hopeless or irritable
- Reduced appetite or weight loss
- Increased appetite or weight gain
- Hypersomnia (sleeping too much) or hyposomnia (sleeping too little)
- Feeling restless or extremely tired
- Reduced interest in usual activities
- Reduced sex drive
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Reduced ability to concentrate
- Memory problems
- Thoughts of death or suicidal feelings
According to our Fareham chiropractor, patients who experience chronic back pain are more likely to suffer from depression than those with acute or short-term back problems. People who suffer from chronic pain often find it difficult to sleep, which can cause fatigue and irritability during the day. In addition to this, patients with chronic back pain often avoid the activities they usually enjoy, such as socialising with friends or exercising. This lack of physical activity and isolation can lead to low mood and depression. If work is impacted, there may also be financial issues which can contribute to depressive feelings.
Depression is a serious illness and should never be ignored. If you think you may be suffering from depression, you should contact your doctor who will administer a variety of tests and conduct a thorough examination to get to the bottom of your symptoms.
If you are diagnosed with depression, your doctor will speak to you about possible treatments for your illness. Depending on the severity of your illness, your doctor may recommend medication, psychotherapy or self-care at home.
Medications known to be effective at treating depression include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), atypical antipsychotics, tricyclic antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Bear in mind that while medication can help to relieve the symptoms of depression, it is still important to understand the illness and learn healthy strategies for coping with it.
Usually, milder forms of depression can be treated with psychotherapy and lifestyle changes. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is also another treatment option that focuses on identifying and changing negative thoughts and behaviour patterns that worsen symptoms of depression. In severe cases of depression (or where the illness is accompanied by psychosis), your doctor or psychologist may recommend a brain stimulation procedure called electroconvulsive therapy. This form of treatment is typically recommended if a patient does not respond to medication or psychotherapy.
Depression is a common illness that can be effectively treated. Seeking regular chiropractic care for your back pain and the right help and support for your mood is the first step towards a happier and healthier future.
Our chiropractic team at Homewood Clinic in Fareham is here to help you with all aspects of your back pain. Don’t suffer in silence – there is support out there for you.
You can book an appointment with on eof our experienced and highly qualified chiropractors by calling us on 01329 280 283.