How are pain and depression connected?

Although pain and depression are two completely different things, they can be connected very closely. When someone experiences chronic pain, they can find themselves not doing many of the activities they enjoy doing, or they may not do them as well as they used to. Chronic pain can keep them from going out to social activities, or spending time with family and friends. Just moving around the home or concentrating on a favorite television show may become difficult.

When someone is used to being active, but the pain keeps them from participating, they can become frustrated or angry at themselves. This can lead to sadness, or depression. We then begin to see a cycle. As someone gets more depressed, they are less likely to try harder to do things, and the cycle continues.

Thomas L. Schwenk, MD, et al. Depression and Pain in Retired Professional Football Players. In Medicine & Social Science in Sports & Exercise. April 2007. Vol. 39. No. 4. Pp 599-605.

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