Living with Chronic Pain

Treating Both Chronic Pain and Depression


Chronic pain can have impacts beyond physical symptoms. It may also cause depressive symptoms that can lead to isolation, drug dependency, and immobility. These symptoms can affect mood, behavior, thoughts, and overall quality of life. Because depression can intensify pain, it is important that both conditions be treated with equal consideration to achieve total wellness in chronic pain patients.

Psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Many pain centers treat chronic pain and depression together with similar techniques, including hypnosis, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation. Certain medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen, other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as opiates for severe cases, may be used in combination with psychiatric drugs to treat both conditions.

Physical therapy exercises can be used to break the cycle of immobility and pain and may additionally help relieve depressive symptoms. Behavioral and cognitive therapists are available to teach patients how to redirect fear and discouraging thoughts, and break up daily routines to reduce mental and physical pain. Likewise, psychotherapy teaches the patient to put their pain in perspective to other challenges.

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