Researchers Study the Cycle of Chronic Back Pain and Depression

Source: Nature World by staff reporter
Apr 22, 2013Depression and chronic pain in the lower back often reinforce each other, according to a researcher from Australia. People with back pain are more likely to be depressed and people who are depressed can’t cope with pain.

The key in fighting this type of a pain-cycle is to stop it in its earliest stages. The study was conducted on a group of 300 patients who were receiving treatments for their back pain.

“The important thing is that doctors act quickly and do not wait for more severe symptoms to develop. Patients might not need anti-depressants; a variety of other treatments such as relaxation, biofeedback and cognitive behavioural therapy could help,” professor Markus Melloh from Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR) said in a news release.

The study also included researchers from University of Berne in Switzerland. Researchers found that study participants who had symptoms of depression at the beginning of the treatment also had higher back pain scores after three weeks.

Also, participants who had back pain after three weeks were more likely to have signs of depression.

“Knowing about the reciprocal relationship between depression and back pain can make a real difference in the effectiveness of treatments for patients,” said Melloh.

The study is published in the journal Psychology Health & Medicine.

About 350 million people in the world suffer from depression, according to data from the World Health Organization.

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