According to the World Health Organization, more than 264 million people around the world suffer from depression. Many don’t realize that depression not only changes one’s mood, but can result in body aches, especially back pain. This article will explore more behind this mental health concern and how back pain is connected to it.
What Causes Depression?
Depression can be caused by a handful of things. This includes:
Signs of Depression
This health issue affects people in many different ways:
How Depression Triggers Back Pain
Many often don’t realize that depression can result in back pain. This is because it causes tension in the body, especially toward the lower back. In fact, studies have shown that those with depression tend to feel pain more than others which can make their back pain even more intolerable.
Ways to Help Reduce Back Pain When Suffering From Depression
Use Natural Antidepressants
Using natural antidepressants will not only boost your mood, but will prevent pain.
This herb has long been used to help acute back pain. It’s able to do this thanks to the high levels of glycerine, a type of amino acid. Drinking a warm cup of chamomile tea isn’t only soothing, but can reduce anxiety and ease tense muscles.
A few studies have shown that lavender could help improve the body's central nervous system, something that affects how the brain functions. Lavender not only helps with releasing more serotonin (a chemical that positively adjusts your mood), but is anti-inflammatory. This can help with swelling and tension caused by back pain.
Omega-3, especially in the form of fish oil, could help improve back pain. In a 2006 study, 250 patients with neck or back pain were given fish oil as a natural NSAID (anti-inflammatory). Toward the end of the study, 125 participants found that fish oil helped with their pain. In addition to helping with back discomfort, Omega-3 could also improve mood due to its high amounts of fatty acids that keep the brain healthy.
It might surprise you to learn that peppers can be used as a natural antidepressant. Due to their high levels of capsaicin, this vegetable can boost your mood. Peppers are also anti-inflammatory, which can help with reducing back pain caused by depression and can help heal the affected areas.
Kiwi is packed with vitamin C which is needed for producing collagen. Collagen is believed to help keep your muscles healthy which can reduce back pain. In addition to this, kiwis can prevent fatigue and give you more energy.
This tangy spice has been found by numerous studies, including one published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences, to be helpful against depression. While it’s not known exactly why it’s able to do so, many believe it boosts serotonin levels in the brain and prevents oxidative stress. Saffron can also improve back pain because it stops muscle weakness and inflammation.
This leafy green has an impressive amount of tryptophan and folate which both increase your body’s serotonin levels. Because it’s also packed with magnesium, it can prevent and treat back pain by relaxing your muscles.
Sometimes back pain can be caused by stress due to an overflow of emotions. By journaling, you might find that releasing these feelings can help muscles in your back to relax because you aren’t building tension in them.
Exercising has been shown to help significantly decrease back pain. In one study published in the medical journal Healthcare, over 32% of participants who completed a home exercise routine found that their back pain dramatically reduced. By doing simple exercises, like walking or jumping jacks, you’ll encourage your body to release endorphins. These natural chemicals are a type of painkiller that often lead to euphoria. By moving around and keeping your body active, you’ll not only prevent tension that can cause back pain, but will also improve your mood.
Get a Massage
A popular and very calming way to stop back pain is to get a massage. This is one of the many benefits of going to a chiropractor as they offer various types of massages to help stop your pain. In a study done by the Mayo Clinic, massage therapy was shown to help relax participants and improved their mood. This is because it works to lower cortisol (a stress hormone) and release more serotonin.
There are a handful of massages that can be done to help improve mood and decrease back pain.
Meditation might also be useful to try. It’s able to slow your heart rate which can reduce stress and anxiety and has been shown to improve mood. Meditation also works to release built-up tension which can dramatically reduce back pain.
Depression is a serious mental health issue that can result in a variety of different symptoms, including back pain. However, by understanding how back pain is connected to it, you can work toward not only preventing it, but also reducing other complications caused by depression.
About the Author - Dr. Brent Wells founded Better Health Chiropractic Alaska in 1998. He is currently leading 10,000 Alaskans to more active and pain-free lifestyles without drugs or invasive surgeries. He brings a progressive and highly innovative approach to chiropractic care. Dr. Wells continues to further his education with ongoing studies in spine conditions, neurology, physical rehabilitation, biomechanics, occupational ergonomics, whiplash, and brain injury traumatology. He is also a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians.
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