Chronic Pain and Depression

Chronic Pain DepressionThe majority of people will deal with chronic or nagging pain at some point in their life, and new estimates suggest that 1 in 10 adults will be diagnosed with chronic pain every year. Even though these numbers are really high, as a society, we’re not doing a very good job of solving the problem of chronic pain.

Even when chronic pain is managed and controlled, it can lead to other issues. When you’re constantly dealing with physical pain, it can be mentally and emotionally exhausting, and the same can be said in the inverse. If you aren’t in the right mindset, it can be difficult to stay active and really work towards preventing chronic pain.

Recently, a new study decided to take a closer look at the connection between chronic pain and mental health – more specifically, depression and chronic pain. For their study, researchers out of the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom examined physical and mental health assessments of more than 100,000 individuals.

Depression and Pain

After looking at the findings, researchers uncovered:

  • People who have partners with depression were more likely to experience chronic pain.
  • A person whose spouse was depressed had an 18.7 percent increased risk of suffering from chronic pain.
  • Also of note, having a parent with chronic pain increased a person’s likelihood of developing chronic pain by 38.4 percent.

“We hope our research will encourage people to think about the relationship between chronic pain and depression and whether physical and mental illnesses are as separate as some believe,” researchers wrote.

At the end of the day, this research shines a little more light on another potential avenue for chronic pain management. Sometimes we need to go beyond the root source of the pain and look at environmental and other contributing factors. If we can improve our mental health and the mental mindset of those around us, we might be able to reduce the number of people who have to battle chronic pain on a daily basis.

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Thomas Cohn, MD

Interventional pain doctor helping Minnesotans manage back, neck, foot, and other pain. Board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation with additional board-certification in pain management from the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA), the American Board of Interventional Pain Physicians (ABIPP) and the American Board of Pain Medicine (ABPM).