Antidepressants such as serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) have been used to treat a wide range of pain conditions in addition to their use for depressive disorders.
One of these conditions is chronic pain, which according to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, is defined as
“Pain that lasts more than several months (variously defined as 3 to 6 months, but longer than “normal healing”).”
According to data collected by the Center of Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics, in 2019, 20.4% of adults had chronic pain and 7.4% of adults had chronic pain that frequently limited life or work activities (referred to as high-impact chronic pain) in the past 3 months.
Furthermore, according to a research study published by the International Association for the Study of Pain:
“Using a chronic pain module introduced in the 2019 edition of the National Health Interview Survey, we found that 50.2 million adults (20.5%) reported pain on most days or every day.”
That’s a lot of people in a lot of pain.
Painful physical symptoms are also commonly experienced in people experiencing depression.
Just like with anxiety, the stress inherent in depression can create inflammation and muscle tension that causes pain.
The physical toll that depression can have on the body, can sometimes show up in the form of vague aches and pains. However, it can also show up in the form of chronic joint pain, back pain, pain in arms and legs, gastrointestinal problems, tiredness, sleep disturbances, psychomotor activity changes, and appetite changes.
In fact, according to this article in the Journal of Clinical PsychologyPain and depression occur together in about 30–50% of people diagnosed with mental health disorders. This connection is also well documented in studies such as this one.
If you or someone you love is suffering from chronic pain, or chronic pain and mental health issues, please reach out.
Help is available, and a great start is to call our office and set up an appointment with one of our healthcare professionals.
We are here to help.