It’s not surprising that people suffering from chronic pain can also experience depression. Did you know the reverse can be true as well? A great deal of literature exists on the mind-body connection. Some may interpret the connection between depression and pain as fabricated symptoms or “figments of the imagination,” but research tells us that there is a neurophysiological link between our emotions and pain processing in the brain. In fact, our state of mind can amplify the nerve impulses associated with injury–nociception.
I like the following analogy because I grew up in an apartment building. When a close neighbor is very loud and disruptive, he can profoundly affect your peace of mind even though life in your home may be fine. Likewise the area in the brain that processes incoming sensory signals is very close to the area of the brain where emotions live. This point is further compounded by the concept of pain as an emotion. In this context, it would make sense that emotional lability would have a direct association with pain perception.
Depression is only one of the many psycho-social factors that can influence pain. Others include anxiety, hypervigilence, catastrophizing, fear avoidance behavior, self efficacy, social injustice. Learn more about Depression and its impact on spine related pain from Spine-Health: