Depression and pain are commonly linked. When we are in chronic pain it pulls us down mentally and emotionally as well as physically. This can lead to depression and anxiety. Because of this it makes sense to try and roll the depression and pain management into a single treatment plan.
Pain causes depression and depression makes the pain feel worse. This has been well researched over the years and is due to reflexes in the body but it is also why you can often put together depression and pain management plan that combats both of these at the same time.
Most people believe that the term psychosomatic means it is ‘put on’ and the person is a hypochondriac. This is not true.
Psycho in medical terms means brain while somatic means muscle. Psychosomatic simply means brain to muscle. Conversely somatopsychic reflexes work from the muscle to the brain.
The easiest example of these reflexes at work is a tension headache which probably most of us have had at some point in our lives.
♦ We get stressed so there is a psychosomatic reflex which causes us to tense the muscles in our shoulder and neck.
♦ This is turn leads to a headache (which is in fact referred pain from these muscles).
♦ The pain receptors in the muscles send messages to the brain (the somatopsychic reflex)
♦ Even more pain spirals the headache and it gets worse.
That is a true psychosomatic reflex but nobody would ever accuse someone with a tension headache they were a hypochondriac!
The common denominator in both of these neural pathways is serotonin. I discussed the link between serotonin and depression in my previous article on the causes of depression. The drugs that counter low serotonin levels are called serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). As explained by WebMD that is why they are often used for both depression and pain management
How It Works
SNRIs work to increase the activity of brain chemicals called serotonin and norepinephrine. Doctors do not know exactly how this improves chronic pain symptoms.
Why It Is Used
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are used to treat certain types of chronic pain, especially nerve pain. They may be used to treat:
- Low back pain.
- Nerve pain from diabetes (peripheral neuropathy).
How Well It Works
SNRIs can help some people with chronic pain. They seem to work best for people with chronic nerve pain and people who also have symptoms of depression.
Depression and Pain Management Using Natural Solutions
However taking SNRIs can, like all drugs, have side effects.
I believe that before we take drugs we should always try to use more natural techniques and remedies in our depression and pain management plans.