When fingers and hands start to ache, we immediately think of arthritis. But aches and muscle pain can be symptoms of many conditions, including depression. It's important to see a doctor for a medical evaluation to determine the cause.
Depression and pain are interrelated. Thus, when you're depressed, vague aches and pains -- such as joint pain -- become more apparent to you.
Nearly 18.8 million Americans over age 18 suffer from major depression. Unfortunately, most people never seek treatment. Left undiagnosed and untreated, depression can worsen, lasting for years and causing untold suffering, and possibly even result in suicide.
Symptoms of depression include:
Loss of enjoyment from things that were once pleasurable
Loss of energy
Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
Difficulty making decisions
Could your aches and muscle pain be related to or worsened by depression? Find out by keeping a symptom diary, which can help you identify patterns. Print out this symptom diary, and fill it out. Then take it to your doctor to discuss what may be causing your symptoms.
David Baron, MSEd, DO, chairman of psychiatry at Temple University School of Medicine.
WebMD Medical Reference: "Heart Disease Symptoms;" "Understanding Back Pain; and "An Overview of Arthritis."
Body illustration created exclusively for WebMD by Andy Matlock.
Joseph Goldberg, MD on August 15, 2015