How Chronic Pain Often Leads to Depression

Depressed Woman

Chronic pain. Those two words, in and of themselves, present incredibly difficult obstacles in your life that are difficult to overcome. While the physical limitations that chronic pain places on your life are problem enough, the mental toll can also be quite imposing. The link between chronic pain and depression is very real and can often seem like a slow, spiraling slide with no hope in sight.

Here at the Regenerative Institute of Newport Beach, Khyber Zaffarkhan, DO, FAAPMR, understands this all too well, having devoted his career to helping people in and around Newport Beach, California, to better manage, or even eliminate, chronic pain.

To learn more about how chronic pain can lead to depression and, more importantly, what we can do to reverse it, take note. There is hope.

Chicken or the egg?

When it comes to chronic pain and depression, the two can be so closely linked that it’s hard to tell which one came first. People who suffer from major depressive disorders often complain of widespread aches and pain that don’t stem from a physical issue. Researchers are unclear as to whether there’s a direct cause and effect, such as activity in your brain’s circuitry, but they do acknowledge that the link exists.

On the other side of the coin, if you’ve been living with chronic pain for some time, depression can develop as you try, unsuccessfully, to find relief, robbing you of any hope of living a pain-free life.

Is it depression?

Depression is a mental disease that’s characterized by feelings of overwhelming sadness, loss of hope, and disinterest in activities you once enjoyed. Depression is often brought on by biological, psychological, and outside sources of stress and anxiety, which cause abnormal activity in your brain that affects how you think.

With chronic pain, feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest are often part and parcel of the problem. If, for example, you have chronic pain in your low back, the pain itself quiets the pleasure centers in your brain as the pain signals override almost all messaging. On top of this, if you’re unable to move about freely, you end up wholly unmotivated to keep trying to enjoy life as you once knew it.

Whether your feelings are truly clinical depression isn’t really important. The bottom line is that chronic pain has an extraordinarily negative impact on your mental health, leaving you feeling depressed, if not clinically depressed.

But there is hope if we can get to the bottom of your pain and relieve it.

Hope floats

As a pain management specialist, Dr. Z understands the impact chronic pain can have on your physical and mental health and works tirelessly to resolve the pain, freeing you from its prison.

We offer several effective treatments, such as nerve blocks, radiofrequency ablations, joint and spine injections, regenerative medicine, and ketamine therapy.

Dr. Z’s goal is to find solutions that provide long-lasting relief, which can be difficult after your neural pathways have delivered pain signals back and forth for a long time, creating well-worn paths. For this reason, we often use a combination of techniques to eliminate or block the signals that don’t simply mask the pain but allow you to heal your body at the same time.

The burden of chronic pain can be overwhelming, making it difficult to avoid affecting almost every area of your life. By getting in and treating the source of your pain, we can help lift this burden, allowing you a ray of hope for better days ahead.

If you want to learn more about chronic pain and depression, please give us a call. Or you can use the online scheduling tool on this website to request a consultation.