People with pain who are recovering from any tissue damage will have reduced neurotransmitters and suffer with a form of depression that is a natural occurrence. The longer a person experiences unresolved pain the more these chemicals are affected and the greater become the signs and experience of depression.
Depression is a normal immune system response. The immune system changes the chemicals in an injured person to slow them down in order that more energy can be channeled into healing the body. Among other things that happen is a drop in the levels of serotonin, the feel good chemical. This is generally a temporary chemical change until the body heals. If the pain is not properly treated, it can eat up and deplete levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters at unbelievable rates.
Under-Treated Pain and Depression
Under-treated pain/depression imbalances can increase all 17 “stress” hormones. Additional pain and inflammation can be the consequence. All of our body’s systems depend upon each other for correct communication but when the chemical balance becomes ‘unnatural’ a negative chemical loop-back happens, as the body strives to maintain balance. The result is the pain creates stress and inflammation and depression, which create more pain, stress, inflammation and depression, a vicious, never-ending cycle. This “state” of depression makes it difficult to function normally at all levels of life – it makes it even more difficult to deal with the pain.
Some doctors prescribe anti-depressants to “fix” depression. This does no good because it is imperative to treat the underlying cause of the pain, not just put a “band-aid” on you. This treatment may help reduce that person’s level of pain, and “lift” some of the depression, but more often then not it creates numerous other problems and in the end, the condition causing the pain remains untreated. This means long-term anti-depressant treatment and the pain is not being addressed. The best way to relieve the depression that started with tissue injury and progressed to chronic pain is to relieve the pain and serotonin levels automatically increase. The pain must be treated separately.
How You Think and Feel is a Chemical Process Too
Negative thoughts and emotions become a part of the ‘depressive’ chemical loop, and outward (behavioral) depression symptoms increase and can appear more prominent than the symptoms of pain. Depression begins to take on a life of its own, but it doesn’t mean the pain is all in your head. It’s really all about the chemical changes that naturally occur because of the unrelieved pain.
Both pain and depression interferes with restorative sleep. Good health requires restorative sleep for the body to repair itself properly. Non-restorative sleep can result in system imbalances and system imbalances can result in non-restorative sleep. For people with chronic pain non-restorative sleep is very common and contributes to their pain load.
The longer the body has been out of balance – the more serious those imbalance become, and- the more time it will take to correct. Once on the right track both the underlying condition and the pain will begin to improve immediately.
There are supplements, foods, and herbs that can manage pain, inflammation, and depression. They are just as effective if not more so then chemical drugs. They are far less apt to cause serious adverse reactions found in chemical drugs. They won’t interfere with any treatment you do receive for the pain causing condition. Just remember the body has a wonderful ability to heal itself and it does this fairly rapidly once it is given the right tools.