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Depression and Back Pain Overview

Healthcare professionals have been aware for a long time that people suffering with chronic pain especially of the back, are at a higher risk of developing depression. Research has also now shown that those suffering depression are also more at risk of developing a chronic pain condition. This starts a cycle of events that can spiral without treatment.

It is very common for sufferers of chronic back pain to develop depression, and it is the most frequently associated mental condition with the incidence of chronic back pain.

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Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of depression are inter-linked with those of back pain. Back pain can lead to a disturbed sleeping pattern meaning that mood can be negative during the day, along with fatigue. A lack of sleep and muscle fatigue increases the risk of injury.

Back pain can cause a reduction in mobility, so everyday activities and employment can be affected, leading to social isolation; depression is made worse by withdrawing from normal society and black moods can increase in frequency and duration.

Other symptoms that can appear with both conditions are feelings of being blue, lonely and a change in appetite. A reduction in nutrients will slow the recovery or healing process on the back injury.

Effects of Back Pain and Depression

Chronic back pain can affect an individual’s ability to work, this can lead to money worries which can cause or exacerbate symptoms of depression. Sexual ability and function may be altered with the incidence of back pain; this could cause tension in relationships, as can a reduction in the participation in everyday family activities.

Research has shown a link between delayed healing after surgery in those who are suffering with depression. It is recommended that the depression is treated prior to surgery where possible. There is also valuable research that has shown a link between the incidence of depression and the likelihood of a back pain recurrence.
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This information is not designed to replace a physician's independent judgment about the appropriateness or risks of a procedure for a given patient.
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