Is depression related to back pain?

New research has found that mental health could have a major affect on physical health too. Doctors have found that depression may increase the risk of back pain over time, the more severe the depression the higher the risk.


A meta analysis has indicated that depression is related to lower back pain. The analysis of 19 studies has clearly shown that symptoms of depression are directly related to lower back pain. Those with depression are 60% more likely to suffer from some sort of lower back pain, as opposed to those with no depression.


Those who suffer from severe depression had increased risk, with almost 2.5 times that of those with just minor depression symptoms. It was also found that depression coupled with old age did factor into this Meta analysis and that older men or women were likelier to develop back pain from depression.


Marina Pinheiro from the researcher from University of Sydney who carried out the meta analysis said that depression and lower back pain share common biological pathways and neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine and a deficiency of these neurotransmitters [could be] expected to affect both mood and pain thresholds, possibly explaining the relationship between [the two].


Some of the added reasons that depressed people are likely to suffer from back pain is due to the fact that they become less physically and socially active and suffer from sleep disturbances that add to the stress on the spine. Therefore its now important to be able to identify depression especially with older patients in order to mitigate any lower back pain that may develop over time.

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