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The Link Between Chronic Pain and Depression

Chronic pain and depression often play off each other in a dark and vicious cycle that can feel impossible to escape. Relentless physical pain often leads to a depressed emotional state, which in turn leads to worsened existing body pains. For seniors recovering from injuries or living with a chronic disease, there is an increased likelihood of experiencing depression; likewise, seniors who experience constant and unexplained physical pain could be exhibiting warning signs of depression- for some seniors, this may be the only the warning..

To better understand, consider the very nature of stubborn physical pain and the emotional distress it can summon. With every passing day spent in relentless discomfort moods can turn negative, feelings of despair creep up, and hopelessness begins to take over. Soon, insomnia and exhaustion set in, stress and anxiety take hold and finally, self-esteem can take crushing, crippling blows. The same is true for elders especially those living alone, ,  anything from diabetes and migraines to injuries and surgical recoveries can trigger the onset of depression.

On the other side of the cycle, emotional suffering that goes untended can manifest itself in physical ailments. When sadness has nowhere to go, it festers and grows in the body to make its presence known. In both cases it’s extremely important to get help as soon as possible. While there are treatments designed to treat pain and depression separately, there are also some that work for both:

  • Psychological Counseling – also called talk therapy or psychotherapy, it’s a very effective tool for treating the pain-depression cycle.
  • Pain Rehabilitation – provides a team approach to treatment that covers physical and psychiatric needs for seniors in home care.
  • Stress-reduction Activities – meditating, writing, and physical activity like walking or swimming can assist in emotional and physical healing.
  • Antidepressants – some medications respond to shared chemicals in the brain for pain and depression. Drugs are best used in combination with one or more of the above treatments.

If you believe an elderly loved one is stuck in a revolving door of pain and depression, get help right away. Talk to them, offer support, and go over treatment options so they know they’re not alone and that the suffering can end. The skilled and compassionate caregivers at Nightingale Homecare provide a wide range of medical and non-medical home care services that are designed to ease seniors’ physical and emotional wounds. From evaluating the source of pain and determining how to best control it, to assisting with physical therapy exercises and implementing stress management techniques, the professional staff at Nightingale Homecare have made us a leader in Phoenix home care companies. Call (602) 504-1555 or contact us online to find out more about the Arizona homecare services provided by Nightingale Homecare.

This entry was posted on Friday, June 14th, 2013 at 1:33 pm.