There are many people that suffer from chronic pain due to various medical conditions. And people who suffer from this type of chronic pain will often find that they suffer from depression as well.
Well, it may seem like common sense to you and I - but believe it or not - many physicians are trained and treat people with chronic pain and depression with a one-size-fits-all solution. Often times doctors will give their patients an antidepressant that they are prescribing for depression and pain relief. Yes, there are doctors out there who believe that prescribing you an antidepressant will decrease your pain.
Researchers out of the University of Michigan Health System and Cologne, Germany, have shown that a patient's level of depression has little influence on the intensity level of pain that they feel. The study also proved that doctors often combine the two conditions together when designing a treatment plan - which is a little frightening considering that 30 to 54% of people suffering from chronic pain are also clinically depressed.
The study used functional MRI (fMRI) brain scans to measure patients levels of pain. The results supported past clinical research that depression and pain were both independent of each other.
The study looked at patients suffering from fibromyalgia - which is type of chronic pain that usually involves tenderness to the touch, stiffness, and fatigue. This type of chronic pain is more common in women then in men, but does affect several million people. But researchers feel that the study can apply to people who suffer from other chronic conditions such as lower-back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, and many others.
If you suffer from chronic pain and are feeling that you may be depressed, make sure that you talk to your physician about it and make sure that he treats each problem seperately. Get the best treatment you can for your depression, and the best treatment you can for your pain. One pill is probably not a solution - unless it is a antidepressant with aspirin or some other pain medication combined.
For more information about Fibromyalgia - go to www.sleepydust.net
Managed care may limit your physician's time with you. So when you go to see your physician - come armed with a list of comments and questions. Be prepared. Your time and his/her time is valuable. Make it productive.
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Lisa Angelettie is an author, counselor, & coach on mental health, relationship, and other life issues for women. You can also visit her at http://www.girlshrink.com Please visit us for more discussion on this topic in the depression forum to talk about it further. Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for topics in the news, new articles, website & book reviews, and other useful depression resources. Subscribe below.
source: University of Michigan Health System