A growing body of research led by an organization of chiropractors have revealed the surprising indirect relationship between those experiencing lower back pains and those suffering from bouts of depression and anxiety. According to some studies, major depression is four times more likely to be diagnosed in patients suffering from lower back pains than any other conditions. This is quite alarming as statistics show that 8 out of 10 Americans will most likely manifest symptoms of back pains some time in their lives.
It’s much worse when you are suffering from chronic back pain as opposed to acute back pain. A chronic backache has been defined as pain that has continues for more than 3 months.
Accuracy of Existing Data
The study from a group of chiropractors in England have yet to establish what links back pains and depression with each other. What makes the results more astounding is the fact that the relationship is real regardless of the geography, culture, source of income, or race.
The analysis came after it was noted that patients experiencing acute lower back pains have twice the likelihood to experience bouts of stress, sleep deprivation, anxiety, and depression. On the other hand, people who are being treated for a chronic back pain are three times more likely to show bursts of depressive episodes and 2.6 times more likely to manifest symptoms of psychosis.
The same study was conducted in the University of Sydney in Australia, which also analyzed and confirmed the relationship between these two illnesses. The results were then compared to other participants who have not yet experienced backaches, chronic or otherwise. The results are pretty much the same with only one exception: they found that the tendency of sporting an aching back increases with the severity of depression.
This is a surprising turn of events since it has always been assumed that it is the other way around – people are getting depressed because of their aching backs. But the study in Sydney have effectively shattered that belief. The reason behind this phenomenon is that depression can also release a different kind of fatigue that inhibits physical activity. It is this lack of activity which causes stress on your ligaments and joints
How This Relationship Affects the Efficacy of Treatment
For the most part, physicians find it harder to treat people who are both suffering from chronic back pains and depression at the same time. Patients who are depressed are less likely to respond to treatment and education.
Since pain medications will most likely mess with a patient’s chemical balance, they are advised to undergo chiropractic adjustment for their lower back pains. A chiropractor may also offer other non-drug treatments such as superficial heat, therapeutic massage, and spinal manipulation may also be tried. If all things fail then that’s the only time that the patient is allowed access to pain medications. The patient is also allowed to take antidepressant medication to keep their mental states healthy.
This is why it is imperative to treat each disease through a more holistic approach. This may involve psychological counseling to help the patient relax, and regularly exercising to help the body produce the hormone serotonin – a chemical known for affecting an individual’s emotions and social behavior.
In the meantime, researchers all over the globe are busy trying to find the exact relationship between chronic pain and depression. It is possible that everything is just a question of genetics, though it takes a long time to confirm such hypotheses. The ongoing study hopefully yields a positive disposition.
If you are one of those who suffer both back pains and depression, you may want to consider professional, noninvasive treatments before resorting to pharmaceutical medications.
Link between depression and back pain, UniversityofSydney.edu.au
BACK PAIN AND DEPRESSION: WHAT’S THE CONNECTION?, SpinalHealthInstitute.com