Depression and Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is pain that persists for more than 3 months. As the pain mounts and the condition surrounding the pain lingers, it’s no surprise that there is a significant connection between chronic pain and depression. In fact, experts say that around 50% of people suffering from chronic pain also have depression.
Another consideration for those suffering from both depression and chronic pain, is the increased likelihood for someone in a depressive state to focus on and intensify the pain. In short, your thoughts and emotions can impact your perception of the pain you feel. Someone in a lowered, depressive state will be less likely to perk themselves up and push through episodes of intense pain.
As both conditions have an ability to impact one another, the key to limiting the impact that they have on your life is to co-treat both conditions to maximize results. The quicker treatments begin, the less opportunity each condition must affect the other and deteriorate your overall health and well-being.
Symptoms of depression
Considering the possibility of depression is critical to establish the source of your newly developed mood shifts and receive proper treatment. Understanding that chronic pain can greatly increase your risk of depression, if you have chronic pain, watch for these signs of depression to keep your symptoms in check:
- Loss of interest and/or joy in regular hobbies/activities
- Decline in mood
- Increased irritability
- Loss of patience
- Lowered tolerance for stress
- Decreased focus and drive
- General behavioral and performance impact in your professional and personal lives.
Momentum is critical
When considering the entire magnitude of chronic conditions such as chronic pain and depression, it can become overwhelming. This is what makes these conditions so seemingly insurmountable. These feelings of depression, stress and desperation, all prolong the recovery process.
Shifting your mentality to become more positive and patient is vital towards beating your depression and ridding your body of chronic pain. Working with a chiropractor, physical therapist and/or cognitive therapist will help to set a healthy standard in terms of progress. Chronic pain and depression can create serious changes in your life. It can be easy to want to rush back to a previous version of yourself, however, setting the foundation towards recovery is a slow and steady process. Seemingly insignificant tasks such as a 5-minute walk or going a day without a mood swing, are huge victories for depression and chronic pain patients. Sustainably building a steady foundation towards recovery starts with small steps. Take this understanding into your treatment process.
Treating chronic pain and depression simultaneously
Knowing the propensity for depression and chronic pain to exacerbate one another, it’s important to address both conditions simultaneously. Maintaining progress and momentum is critical in replacing frustration and hopelessness with feelings of control and positivism.
Placing too much emphasis on cognitive behavioral therapy or talk therapy may help you make significant leaps forward in your attempts to control your depression, however, if you ignore your persistent and intense pain, you risk having your chronic pain impact your mood. Likewise, if you leave your depression untreated, your lowered mood can hinder your desire to pursue all the proper steps towards improving your chronic pain.
Often the best treatment tool for injuries and ailments is knowledge. Understanding how to approach your chronic pain and depression can give you the confidence and courage to seek the proper medical and psychotherapeutic experts in your area and stick with the treatment plan they recommend for your unique condition. Whether it’s chiropractic for chronic pain, physical therapy for chronic pain or therapy for depression, you never have to go it alone.