Skip to content

Depression Health Center

The Link Between Depression and Pain

Font Size
A
A
A

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.

Recommended Related to Depression

Vacation Depression: How to Cope

We love our vacations -- those great escapes from the humdrum and the hassles. But if you're depressed, the annual vacation may seem like yet another obstacle -- especially with soaring gas prices and an unstable economy. Vacation depression is a fact of life for many people. You feel guilty spending the money -- and pushing yourself to plan the trip becomes a burden. Every flat tire, delayed flight, and tantrum (child or adult) is simply draining. When your vacation ends, there's the depressing return...

Read the Vacation Depression: How to Cope article > >

The good news? In the study, people who responded well to treatment for depression also reported less pain as they got better.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on September 07, 2014

Today on WebMD

contemplation
Differences between feeling depressed and feeling blue.
light therapy
What are the symptoms?
 
depressed man sitting on hallway floor
Learn the truth about this serious illness.
Sad woman looking out of the window
Tips to stay the treatment course.
 
unhappy teen boy
Health Check
woman relaxing with exercise ball
Article
 
Pills with smiley faces
Article
Teen girl huddled outside house
Article
 
Depressed man sitting in hospital hallway
Article
antidepressants slideshow
Article
 
pill bottle
Article
Winding path
Article