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Last Updated on April 28, 2023

If you’ve ever experienced neck pain (that throbbing, aching agony in your neck), you’re not alone. According to a current survey from the American Pain Foundation, neck pain is the second most typical type of physical pain, surpassed only by back pain. Studies estimate that approximately two-thirds of adults will experience neck pain at some point in their own lives. But as it happens, these people may have something to worry about: They might be in danger for depression.

Why? Persistent neck pain can steal your range of motion your slumber, and your sanity. Here’s what studies have found concerning the neck pain-depression link — and the way you can get help

Depression and Neck Pain: What Is the Link?

In a 2009 study of 448 patients that were German, researchers found that study participants with neck pain had a significantly higher risk of experiencing symptoms of depression or stress. And the greater their pain, the much more likely it was that they also experienced stress or depression.

Frank Barnhill, MD, a board certified family doctor and writer of Mistaken for ADHD, says the connection between neck pain and depression is understandable. “Persistent pain not only interferes with sleep and daytime functioning, but also impacts the neurotransmitters in a man’s brain responsible for sensory input signal processing and memory storage, so changing the way pain is perceived and dealt with,” Dr. Barnhill describes. “As a consequence, these individuals frequently become depressed and/or concerned.”

Along with sleep deprivation, the continual outward indications of neck pain can lead people to avoid even sex, favourite activities, and social settings. Ironically, pain medicine can play a part in contributing to depression. “Pain may make you not want to eat, and also the medicine can cause nausea, which means you can start losing your desire, another symptom of depression,” says Joseph Garbely, DO, chief medical officer of Friends Hospital in Philadelphia.

Getting Neck Pain Relief to Calm Depression

Luckily, there is some good news when it comes to depression as well as neck pain. Studies have shown that the two are so closely connected that depression is in fact one of the neck pain causes and vice versa. You will get melancholy alleviation also, should you find a way to get neck pain relief. Here are measures that could help:

  • Treat both ailments. It may be required to see a physician about both neck pain as well as depression to get relief from the interrelated states. “If pain is intense, you’re not going to need to do anything, so it’s very important to treat that depressed mood. By simply treating that mood, the perception of pain will be less,” says Dr. Garbely.
  • Acquire some exercise. In days gone by, physicians would frequently prescribe bed rest and perhaps surgery for the majority of types of chronic pain. They know that being active, even when it hurts a little at first, might be the best thing you can certainly do for your continual pain. “Typically, daily aerobic exercise will decrease chronic pain after having a week or so and thus decrease depression symptoms,” says Barnhill. In the event you can do a little non-impact activities like swimming or walking by yourself, that is a great way to start out. Should you want assistance, ask your physician to get a referral to a physical therapist.
  • Seek medication if necessary. Many folks get not only relief from their depression symptoms with antidepressants, but also some neck pain relief too. “Many antidepressants help raise serotonin levels in the brain,” says Barnhill. “Treat your depression, your brain serotonin levels and endorphin levels will go up. Endorphins help us cope with discomfort and pain.”
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Do not let your pain cause you to pull away from social activities and start a snowball effect that can lead to melancholy. “Fight isolation by remaining connected, whether it means you move out to physical therapy so that you can interact with people in the same boat or begin joining with them socially and doing things together,” says Garbely. “It’s important to prevent sitting at home in isolation taking your pills.”

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