- It starts with lethargy or lack of energy
- Craving carbohydrates
- Heavy low mood
Depression and Back Pain ConnectionDepression can present with pain symptoms and the pain can enhance the depression. Headaches, Body aches, and especially backaches are common symptoms of depression. Research has shown that individuals with severe depression can actually feel a more intense level of pain. Physical symptoms like back pain or headaches can be the only or the beginning symptom/s of seasonal affective depression. As research continues to grow as to how the nervous system interacts with the body, pain symptoms have been found to be connected to biological mechanisms connected with stress, anxiety, and depression. Living a sedentary lifestyle, with little or no physical activity and regular exercise can be another cause for Seasonal Affective Disorder. Depression itself can cause fatigue that restrains individuals from exercising and working the core muscles for optimal spinal strength and health.
SymptomsThe difference between Seasonal Affective Disorder and chronic depression is that Seasonal Affective Disorder is limited to the same time of the year during the time of less light, and winter months. Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder can be the same as those associated with depression. They are:
- Feeling Low/Depressed
- Weight gain
- Increased appetite
- Craving sugar and carbohydrates
- Sleeping all-day
- Consistent drowsiness
- Loss of interest in enjoyed activities
TreatmentDiagnosis for Seasonal Affective Disorder requires an individual to experience at least two years of symptoms that become worse at a specific time of the year. And the depressive episodes have to significantly be worse than the non-seasonal episodes of depression. There are four types of treatments, that can be used individually or in combination. They are:
MedicationMedications used to treat the disorder are known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs.
PsychotherapyCognitive-behavioral therapy/CBT is a form of psychotherapy that is effective for the disorder, as well as other conditions. It relies on techniques that identify negative thoughts and work on ways to not dwell on the negative and focus more on positive things and thoughts.
Lightbox TherapyDiminished sunlight when fall and winter arrive can be replaced with regular exposure to a bright, artificial lightbox. Individuals sit or stand in front of the lightbox when they get up on a daily basis. This is done when fall begins and goes on until spring. The lightbox filters out ultraviolet rays and requires around 20 to 60 minutes of exposure to 10,000 lux of cool-white fluorescent light.
Vitamin DLow levels of vitamin D were found in individuals with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Talk to a doctor about the proper level of vitamin D that should be taken through supplements.
The Pain and BackachesUnderstanding how pain and depression are interconnected treating both conditions as part of an integrative treatment plan can include:
- Chiropractic care for releasing muscle tension
- Psychological counseling
- Relaxation therapy
- A light aerobic exercise program that stimulates serotonin levels and releases endorphins to relieve depression and pain.
- Low-dose antidepressants can reduce depression symptoms and back pain. They work to inhibit the reuptake of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine that is associated with a person’s mood and the way they perceive pain.
What WorksEveryone is unique, which means that different treatment plans and combinations of treatment plans may have to be tried out before finding the optimal one. A significant factor is not settling with the pain and just accepting it. Healing can be a unique and complex experience. The objective is for the individual and doctor to work collaboratively.
Depression And Chronic Pain Therapy
Dr. Alex Jimenez’s Blog Post DisclaimerThe scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*
|Robertson, David et al. “Associations between low back pain and depression and somatization in a Canadian emerging adult population.” The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association vol. 61,2 (2017): 96-105.|