Physical pain is a common, but often ignored, symptom of depression. A study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that two-thirds of people starting treatment for depression also reported being in physical pain. The most commonly cited symptoms were frequent headaches, back pain, joint pain, and abdominal pain.
What's the connection between pain and depression? Research shows that the two share common chemical pathways. The brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine are known to play key roles in depression. Now researchers believe these neurotransmitters also mediate pain.
Living with chronic pain is a burden. But pile on depression -- one of the most common problems faced by people with chronic pain -- and that burden gets even heavier.
Depression can magnify pain and make it harder to cope. The good news is that chronic pain and depression aren't inseparable. Effective treatments can relieve depression and can help make chronic pain more tolerable.