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Can Chronic Pain Cause Depression?

July 24th, 2018 12:00am

Can Chronic Pain Cause Depression?

Chronic pain is any pain that lasts longer than the normal amount of time it takes for an injury or illness to heal. Research shows that 30 to 50 percent of people who deal with chronic pain also struggle with depression.1

Chronic Pain and Depression Are Closely Linked 

It is often hard to determine if depression stems from chronic pain or if chronic pain is a side effect of depression. People who suffer from chronic pain are three times more likely to develop symptoms ofChronic pain feels like barbed wire constantly scratching your skin. Get relief and treatment options from Recovia. anxiety or depression than those without pain.2

Chronic pain can lead to increased stress, trouble sleeping and feelings of guilt and worthlessness, all of which are associated with depression. In turn, depression frequently causes unexplained pain like headaches and back pain. People who suffer from depression might also struggle to maintain or improve physical health, which can increase their pain levels in the long run.

How Does Chronic Pain Cause Depression?

Chronic pain is more than a physical condition – it deeply affects emotions, thoughts and moods. People who deal with chronic pain often isolate themselves from others due to lack of mobility. This gradual separation from friends and hobbies then further feeds into depressive symptoms.

Symptoms of Depression

Approximately half of people who suffer from depression only report their physical symptoms to their doctor.2 Since the combination of chronic pain and depression makes treating each individual condition more difficult, it is best to consider both when evaluating treatment options. According to the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI), you may be suffering from depression in addition to chronic pain if you experience:3

Depression can affect body pain, as pain can contribute to depression. Seek help today from Recovia, Scottsdale, AZ.


Changes in appetite Lack of interest in activities
Irregular sleep patterns Low energy
Feelings of despair and guilt Trouble concentrating
Irritability Suicidal thoughts


Who Can Help With Chronic Pain and Depression

Since treatment plans work best when chronic pain and depression are tackled together, assembling a well-rounded care team is crucial. Important people to have on this team are a:4

  • Therapist – addresses negative and anxious thinking patterns through regular sessions. Can teach coping skills that help reduce symptoms of depression and pain.
  • Pain Specialist – educates on the association between depression and chronic pain and provides assistance developing a treatment plan.
  • Physician – provides thorough examinations and evaluations. Can prescribe pain and psychiatric medication, if necessary.
  • Physical Therapist – helps improve mobility and reduce pain. Can introduce muscle relaxation techniques and helpful exercises designed to improve mood and mental wellbeing.

Treatment Options for Chronic Pain and DepressionRecovia can help with treatments for chronic pain. Call today!

There are many treatment options that can provide relief from chronic pain and depression. Some include:

  • Talk therapy – helps with changing patterns in thinking, teaches coping skills for existing symptoms and preventing future symptoms.
  • Stress reduction skills – includes meditation, muscle relaxation, positive thinking and exercise.
  • Peer support – provides emotional support for dealing with chronic pain and mental illness in a group setting.
  • In- or outpatient pain programs – offer intensive, long-term support for severe chronic pain and depression. These programs typically include individual and group therapy, on-site medical support and education on reducing pain and stress.
  • Medication – are prescribed by physicians to help combat symptoms. Analgesics and antidepressants are some of the most common medications for chronic pain and depression.

Recovia Cares About Your Recovery

If you think that you suffer from depression caused by chronic pain, be honest with your doctor. Just because pain is invisible doesn’t mean it isn’t real and can’t be treated. We recognize that chronic pain is a multidimensional issue that impacts daily life on every level.

Recovia offers an outpatient chronic pain program that is designed to help you navigate different methods of pain management so you can craft a more natural and long-term pain plan. Since your body and brain are intertwined, we provide a comprehensive treatment plan to restore both.

Call our specialists today at 480-712-4600 or contact us online to begin your journey to recovery.

Symptoms of depression and of chronic pain. Recovia has options for treatment for you. Visit or contact online today!



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RECOVIA is a multidisciplinary, outcome driven, functional program. Programs are customized to each patient's needs and include behavioral health, physical therapy and medical management if needed.


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