Do Antidepressants Work For Back Pain Relief

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi


A number of patients have found that once they get on an antidepressant regimen for their mental health issues, their back pain also tends to fade. In fact, sometimes antidepressants are ordered by a physician as part of treatment of connected mental and physical conditions. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at the connections between antidepressants and back pain, and how they can play a role in the treatment of your physical pain.

Why Antidepressants Are Sometimes Prescribed For Back Pain

Medical data shows that many people who deal with depression also experience physical pain. In fact, up to 90 percent of individuals with depression report experiencing physical pain each month. Oftentimes, this pain manifests in the spine, and even more frequently, the spine pain and the depression are connected.

That’s not to say that your spine pain is directly causing your depression or vice versa, but the two conditions may lend themselves to the other. For example, a person with depression may find it difficult to find the energy to exercise regularly or to put effort into eating a healthy meal. Poor exercise and dietary habits can lead to weight gain and other problems for the spine.

Conversely, chronic back pain can be very mentally exhausting. Never knowing if you’re going to have a good day or a bad day in terms of back pain can lead to anxiety and amplify feelings of depression. Physical pain can lead to stress and anxiety, two factors that can significantly worsen your depression or its symptoms.

So where do antidepressants factor into the picture? Like any medication, they can play a crucial role in the treatment of a condition, but oftentimes they should not be relied on as the only option. Antidepressants can impact neurotransmitters and in turn help to drown out signals of chronic back pain, but they aren’t going to address the underlying cause of your back pain. Simply put, an antidepressant can help to calm some back pain signals, but it won’t provide that long-term relief from the underlying cause that you seek.

That being said, an antidepressant is often prescribed to help with anxiety and depression, and by addressing these problems, you may notice a decrease in your spine pain for other reasons. As we posited above, depression can lead us to fall into some poor health habits. However, if we get a handle on depression and in turn make more positive health choices, our back pain may decrease. In fact, antidepressants are often prescribed in combination with other treatment methods that are similar to how you’d treat back problems. Complementary treatment options that tend to work well for both depression and back pain include:

  • Exercise
  • Dietary Improvements
  • Improving your sleep routine
  • Working with a specialist

Dr. Sinicropi and his team have a wealth of experience treating physical problems like back pain that manifest alongside mental health conditions. Perhaps an antidepressant and active modifications will be in order, but we’ll want to conduct a diagnosis and get to the root of your issue so we can provide you with the best treatment. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in learning more about, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.

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