2011 / 23 March

Your mood & pain

Need another reason to be happy?

A recent study finds that depression can increase the sensation of pain as well as physical impairment.  Specifically, people who reported greater depressed mood had worse problems related to their knee pain, and their complaints were much greater than one might expect by merely looking at the x-ray.

This makes sense, though, even for people without arthritic knees. As a physical therapist and clinical psychologist, I work a lot with people who are suffering from chronic pain. And there is a huge relationship between how unhappy someone is and how intense their pain is.

You may be having a “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” discussion in your head. Does depressed mood cause more pain or does pain cause you to feel more depressed?

Both are probably true. The great news, however, is that by addressing your mood, you can also improve your pain.

So learn and practice the skills to be a happier you. Your mind and body will benefit!

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