If you suffer from both chronic pain and depression, it should come as no surprise to you that the two are often linked with each other. Those who are currently injured, impaired, or dealing with chronic pain are probably not shocked to hear this piece of information. The connection between physical and mental health is a thinly drawn line and both can persist for an abnormally long time if you don’t try to manage it properly. Of course, each person’s experience is different and therefore require specific treatments that best suit their pain. The first step to addressing your stress and pain is learning how they relate and affect each other.
How Chronic Pain And Depression Affects the Brain
Chronic pain does not only consume a person’s ability to carry out daily tasks but also has a high chance affecting them psychologically too. Scientifically speaking, proof of chronic pain and depression being related lies in your brain structure. In the nine places that the brain experiences pain, six of them are the same areas were mood disorders like anxiety or depression occur. Both conditions share certain brain chemicals that travel between nerves via neurotransmitters, which are in charge of regulating your mood. These “pain” or “mood” signals can be changed by your serotonin or norepinephrine levels which is why antidepressants often affect both conditions.
Other ways that having chronic pain makes you emotionally unstable is that it reduces your ability to cope. This is likely due to the fact that suffering from constant agitation makes it harder to operate in social situations such as relationships or job settings. With that being said, it’s easy to see how this leads to irritability or a sense of hopelessness that is beyond challenging to get rid of. Working on ways to ease your daily chronic pain like physical therapy, stretching, or medication should help relieve emotional stress in the long run.
Can Anxiety Cause Pain?
Plainly put? Yes, many people experience aches, pains, and other physical symptoms due to anxiety. The most common type of stress-induced pain is muscle tension, which is primarily felt in the back, neck, and shoulders. This is due to unease causing a physical buildup of lactic acid in your muscles, creating a consistent discomfort from one’s inability to relax. A less painful but still very real reaction from depression or anxiety is fatigue, chest aches, headaches, and overall hypersensitivity. When you’re anxious, your body becomes so attuned to its condition that it’s more likely to feel and amplify any small pains that would otherwise go ignored in a different state of mind.
How Do You Deal with Chronic Pain?
The best way to break the cycle is to find a solution for one to counteract the other since they are so intertwined. This can be accomplished by using motivational tools or lifestyle changes for depression that can assist you in feeling better overall. One option would be to consider medication or an antidepressant that may not only help relieve your depression but also improve your sleeping quality and pain tolerance. Speaking with a health professional who understands the relationship between physical and emotional pain is the simplest way to find out what plan of action is right for you. The Pain Institute of Southern Arizona specializes in dealing with pain management and finding treatments that tend a patient’s specific needs. Whether you’re interested in physical therapy, acupuncture, injections, or other programs, the Pain Institute of Southern Arizona hopes to guide you in the right direction or provide professional advice for the best strategy to combat your condition.