Chronic Pain and Mental Health Problems: How the Two Are Connected
August 17, 2022 by Kezia
When you experience ongoing, persistent physical pain that lasts longer than six months, it is called chronic pain. Sure, chronic pain makes everyday activities hard to do, but it also takes a toll on your mental health. It causes extreme emotional stress, and a high stress level can affect the stress hormones and neurochemicals found within your brain and nervous system, which will influence your mood, thinking, and behavior. This is why chronic pain and mental health problems are closely linked.
With chronic pain, you may find it difficult to participate in the activities you used to do and enjoy, which could lead to decreased self-esteem. Furthermore, it may lead to sleep disturbances, fatigue, trouble concentrating, decreased appetite, and emotional changes. These negative changes in your lifestyle can increase your pain and worsen your overall mood. If left untreated, these can quickly result in depression and anxiety. People with chronic pain are four times more likely to develop depression and anxiety compared to those who are not in pain.
There are chronic pain conditions that often come with heavy emotional toll:
Arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints, which can cause disabling pain. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. They cause inflammation and pain that affect mostly the joints, but also certain organs and connective tissues. With arthritis, it is difficult to complete daily activities and participate in social activities. The frustration and feelings of isolation that come with these limitations and inabilities may lead to development of mental health problems like depression and anxiety.
Fibromyalgia is known as a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. The causes may include physical trauma, surgery, infection, or significant psychological stress. However, in some cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no clear causes or triggering events. Women are twice more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia than men, and those with fibromyalgia possess the risk of experiencing anxiety disorders (particularly obsessive-compulsive disorder) approximately five times higher compared to those who do not have this condition.
Back and Neck Pain
These kinds of pain may occur as a result of muscle strain, sleeping in an uncomfortable position, dealing with heavy objects, trauma and/or stress. For some people, the ache lasts not for long, but for others, back and neck pain can become chronic. When it does, it surely interferes with their daily routines and makes it incredibly hard for them to do simple activities, such as walking and moving around. In the long run, chronic back and neck pain can cause the sufferers to spiral into depression, and even cause depressive symptoms to become worse.
Migraines are headaches that are characterized by severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation in the areas of head, face, and neck. Migraines are considered chronic when they last for 15 or more days a month for over three months. It’s often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, extreme sensitivity to light and sound, and in some cases, symptoms of major depressive and anxiety disorders.
To deal with these difficult physical and mental conditions, Hope Clinic provides various kinds of non-invasive and non-opioid treatment methods. Using cold laser therapy, along with microcurrent and balancing treatment, Hope Clinic presents a wide range of solutions to relieve pain by facilitating your body to maximize its healing and repairing ability. No drugs needed, yet just as effective—if not more.