According to the CDC, over 29 million Americans suffer from at least one depressive episode each year. Addressing feelings of depression can often be difficult to do. Treating depression can be even harder. Recent studies also suggest that individuals suffering from depression have an increased perception of pain.
This increased perception of pain can have a huge impact on individuals that already suffer from back pain. Over 65% of people with depression also reported having chronic pain. How can such a high proportion of people with depression also suffer from pain? Continue reading to learn about this connection, and how to start treating these conditions.
*If you believe you might be suffering from depression it is important to consult your primary care physician.
Why do people with depression also have chronic pain?
There are many theories as to why such a large population of depressed individuals suffers from chronic pain. One of the most common reasons cited being an increased perception of pain. What does that mean you might ask? In short, depression makes people more sensitive to pain.
This increased sensitivity makes it more likely that this population will feel pain more intensely, compared to individuals that do not suffer from depression. Being depressed and having chronic back pain creates a self-feeding cycle that leaves you feeling helpless
What is the best way to treat these conditions?
In order to treat the cycle of depression and chronic back pain, you must treat both conditions. If you only try to treat one condition, you will continue to fuel the other condition. For example, if you only focus on treating depression and do nothing to manage your back pain, your pain will keep you in a depressed state of mind. Treating both conditions at the same time is the best course of treatment.
If you believe you are suffering from depression, you should always consult with your primary care physician. These are a few ways you can begin to improve your mental health and reduce your chronic pain.
Improve your mental health
Combating depression can best be done by improving your mental health. Hormones dictate how we feel, and when we are depressed, we have an imbalance of hormones that must be balanced in order to get out of depression.
Manage your stress level. Stress has a major impact on how we feel. If left unmanaged, high levels of stress can lead to depression. Start taking time to actively de-stress throughout your day. Using breathing techniques is a great way to start de-stressing today.
Start building resilience. Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties rather than letting them overwhelm you. An expert in this field, Jane McGonigal, provides a framework for building resilience in her book Superbetter.
Begin managing your chronic back pain
When suffering from chronic back pain, it can be difficult to think of anything other than your pain. Beginning to take active steps to stay out of back pain can help keep back pain from impacting you. Here are a few tips start managing your chronic back pain:
- Practice good posture
- Start stretching
- Use stress-reduction techniques
- Keep moving
- Drink plenty of water
For more information on these tips to manage your chronic back pain read this article.
Start taking small steps today
Treatment of depression and chronic back pain should be addressed at the same time. Start taking small steps today to being treating both conditions. If you would like more information on how Telespine can help you begin to reduce your chronic back pain contact us.