Back pain often comes with physical symptoms, such as muscle aching, numbness, or tingling. However, did you know that there might be a connection between back pain and depression? After all, severe pain and discomfort can wear a person down over time by keeping them from eating, sleeping, being active, and discouraging them from participating in other activities. Furthermore, some medications to treat back pain may also contribute to depression symptoms.
Back Pain Can Cause Depression, and Depression May Cause Back Pain
Backaches are a common symptom of depression, and some research suggests that people with severe depression might suffer from more pain than others. Additionally, depression may cause pain and inflammation through cytokines, which affect the immune system’s ability to fight infections.
Moreover, depression may prevent people from exercising and strengthening their core, which puts added stress on the discs, joints, and ligaments in the back. This may make you more susceptible to lower back pain. Additionally, those suffering from depression might not eat nutritious food, increasing inflammation in their back.
When we say that depression can cause back pain, we do not mean that the patient is making it up in their head. While depression is a mental illness, it can affect every part of the body, turning into physical injuries like back pain.
Depression Might Have an Effect on Patients Recovering from Surgery
In addition to back pain causing depression and vice-versa, those recovering from back surgery might also suffer from depression, negative thought patterns, and personality traits that can harm health. Experts believe this is due to the impact these psychological factors have on motivation, sleep quality, and the ability to perceive improvements, all of which play a role in the healing process. That is why you must speak to your back doctor about depression symptoms before, during, and after treatment or surgery.
Treating Back Pain and Depression Requires a Thorough Approach
Those with depression seeking treatment for their back pain typically think if they can get rid of their back pain, they will also rid themselves of their depression. To some extent, that might be true. However, once you fully understand how interconnected depression and back pain are, it makes sense to treat both simultaneously. That is especially true for patients considering back surgery to give them the greatest potential for the best results.
Treatments for back patients also experiencing depression might include psychological counseling, relaxation training, and behavioral therapy. Furthermore, some medications can also reduce depressive symptoms and back pain because they work within the brain to boost their mood and pain perceptions.
Another way to treat depression and back pain together is through aerobic exercise, which stimulates serotonin levels in the brain and spurs the release of endorphins to relieve both depression and pain. However, you must always consult with a doctor before beginning an exercise program.
Speak to the Back Doctors at New Jersey Spine & Orthopedic Today
If you are experiencing back pain and depression, do not hesitate to contact the back doctors at New Jersey Spine & Orthopedic. While back pain might go away on its own, it may take longer if you also suffer from depression. Our board-certified back doctors have experience handling various back and spine conditions and will do everything possible to eliminate your discomfort. To learn more about our services, call (866) 272-9271 or complete our online contact form.