When Depression Hurts

Physical pain is also a symptom of depression. 

Posted: 07/08/2014 08:43 AM EDT
When Depression Hurts

Some signs of depression are emotional—sadness, hopelessness, feeling worthless and anxiety—but did you know that depression can also cause physical pain? Research shows that the same chemical messengers in our brain control both pain and mood. But many people suffering from the mood disorder don’t seek treatment because they don’t realize pain is a symptom. Here are physical signs of depression:

—Headaches, particularly migraines, are pretty common in people with depression. One study found that over a two-year period, a person with a history of major depression was three times more likely than average to have a first migraine attack, and a person with a history of migraine was five times more likely than average to have a first episode of depression.

Though most people associate chest pain with a heart attack, it can be also be caused by depression. In fact, a University of Gothenburg, Sweden, study discovered that non-heart disease-related chest pain is common in people suffering from depression.

—Back pain may get worse if you are depressed. One study of nearly 800 adults without neck and low back pain and found those with depression are four times more likely to develop intense neck and low back pain than those who are not depressed.

Studies show nearly 60 percent of people with irritable bowel syndrome also have a psychological disorder, most commonly depression. Research shows depression may cause some digestive problems, including nausea and diarrhea. And some digestive disorders— Crohn’s disease, colitis, or ulcers—can be worsened by depression.

Depression tends to exacerbate chronic pain. But research shows joint pain and muscle aches may ease when depression is treated.

Read more about physical pain from depression at BlackHealthMatters.Com.

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