Skip to main content

Many people are aware of how your state of mind can influence your physical health. The reverse is also true, in that your physical health can also affect your state of mind. Physical stimulation is a prime example of this. The post-workout sense of euphoria and well-being comes from a physical stimulus and causes an increased production of dopamine.
Acute pain can ruin anyone’s mood for a day, but what about prolonged chronic pain? Would this, similarly, translate to a prolonged ruined mood?

What Is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain refers to any sensation of pain that lingers on for more than 12 weeks, even after treatment. It is a  health condition that can impede a patient’s ability to live a normal life. It can interfere with a patient’s work, social life, and even rest. Some examples of this type of pain are frequent headaches, nerve damage, and lower back pain.

The reason why many people with chronic pain lose their ability to work and socialize is that acute pain can return, and in some cases, it intensifies.

The Link Between Depression and Chronic Pain

Chronic pain has been found to cause secondary mental health conditions such as anxiety, guilt, insomnia, and depression.

What makes matters worse is that depression can worsen the sensation of chronic pain, and this heightened sensation of pain can worsen your condition. It’s not unheard of to have psychosomatic symptoms manifest. Many researchers have also proven that those with chronic pain and depression are less likely to recover from their physical conditions than those without depression.

How Does Chronic Pain Cause Depression?

Many studies have found that up to 85% of chronic pain patients also suffer from depressive symptoms, which indicates a correlation between these two conditions. 

Chronic pain
Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

The main reason is that many of the neural pathways that are responsible for the brain’s interpretation of pain are also used to interpret anxiety, depression, and grief.

When these pathways are stimulated for prolonged periods, as is the case with chronic pain, the signs of pain become conflated with those that signal anxiety, depression, and grief. The brain loses the ability to differentiate pain from depression, and as an effect, the brain begins to manifest depressive symptoms.

Another reason why chronic pain increases the risk of developing depression is that it also has profound social effects. Those with chronic pain tend to become socially isolated, and they become unable to do the activities that they enjoy. This inability to socialize and perform meaningful work eventually damages mental and emotional health.

Finally, the consistent use of high-grade painkillers can distort rational thinking when they interfere with cognitive processes and pain signal transmission and interpretation.

Depression – Cause or Antecedent?

The truth is that this is only secondary information. It’s similar to asking which came first, between the chicken or the egg. What matters is that treatment for chronic pain and depression will often go hand-in-hand. While this approach will vary from case to case, functional medicine will always be a core approach to treating chronic pain-induced depression.

Want to know more?

Listen, nobody likes Mondays, but a new study has found that COVID may have made people even more anxious about Monday mornings.

Pat Lee

Pat Lee

Pat Lee was born in January 1992. Today, she is a digital marketer who has several years of experience in working with non-profit organizations. She has extensive knowledge in the fields of Education, Computer Science, and Psychology. When she isn’t helping build brands, she practices Muay Thai and runs marathons.

Longevity Live is a digital publisher AND DOES NOT OFFER PERSONAL HEALTH OR MEDICAL ADVICE. IF YOU’RE FACING A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, CALL YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY SERVICES IMMEDIATELY, OR VISIT THE NEAREST EMERGENCY ROOM OR URGENT CARE CENTER. YOU SHOULD CONSULT YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER BEFORE STARTING ANY NUTRITION, DIET, EXERCISE, FITNESS, MEDICAL, OR WELLNESS PROGRAM.

This content, developed through collaboration with licensed medical professionals and external contributors, including text, graphics, images, and other material contained on the website, apps, newsletter, and products (“Content”), is general in nature and for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Always consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, procedure, or treatment, whether it is a prescription medication, over-the-counter drug, vitamin, supplement, or herbal alternative.

Longevity Live makes no guarantees about the efficacy or safety of products or treatments described in any of our posts. Any information on supplements, related services and drug information contained in our posts are subject to change and are not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects.

Longevity does not recommend or endorse any specific test, clinician, clinical care provider, product, procedure, opinion, service, or other information that may be mentioned on Longevity’s websites, apps, and Content.