A person suffering from depression often experiences physical pain as well – an example of the strong connection between the body and mind. However, does physical pain cause depression, or vice versa? A recent study published in the journal Pain says that the causation goes both ways.
Since it is already well established that pain can cause depression, the study focuses on whether depression can cause pain – in particular, neck or low back pain. The researchers – a team from the University of Alberta – found that those with depression are four times more likely to develop neck or low back pain. This was determined by following a sample of 800 adults who were originally pain-free. A portion of the 800 were identified as depressed. Of those who developed neck or low back pain over the course of the study, a disproportionate amount were from the group identified as depressed.
According to this study, it seems that depression and neck or low back pain could form a vicious cycle, with each leading to the other. The research team’s next step is to figure out why the two conditions are related. Soon, we will be searching for a solution that will help break the cycle.