Back Pain, Neck Pain and Depression
by  Kevin O’Hara D.C.
The Mayo Clinic agrees that there can be a relationship between depression and back pain, neck pain, and hip pain. Although, it doesn’t matter what kind of pain, as the correlation between the two is indisputable, and the relationship can be an agonizing, endless cycle of pain. At our clinic, we also refer to it as “the hamster wheel”. 

Now, does pain cause depression or does depression cause pain? The answer is yes, both. So it’s much like the chicken and the egg debate: Which came first? That is a matter of who, what, when and why. Depression can cause unexplainable pain in some, if not, most people suffering from it. And where there is pain, there is an issue. 

Pain is usually the culprit. People who suffer from chronic pain often feel there is no relief or no end in sight; therefore, this can lead to depression. In cases of those who are already on the brink of depression, this never-ending discomfort can push them right over the edge. With low self-esteem due to work, marital problems, financial issues, or legal issues, add agony to the mix and you have a recipe for despair. 

So what is the answer? My suggestion when dealing with depression is to get evaluated. A qualified professional will take all the guess work out of it and the two of you can come up with a plan of action. No fooling around— depression is a serious condition, and if left untreated, can lead to devastating consequences for you and your loved ones. If you’re still not convinced, take a questionnaire online and be honest with yourself. If the questionnaire concludes you have an issue, you probably do, so seek treatment. The stigma of depression is gone. It’s a chemical imbalance and ignoring it will only make it worse. Most times after patients are diagnosed with depression, they start the process of recovery on the spot. Just that knowing of what’s going on is a huge help in making that first step in progressing to better health. 

The second part of the equation is to seek an evaluation of the pain and symptoms you’re experiencing. All the issues have a reason for being and getting to the bottom of them is key in achieving relief and recovering. Some issues can have serious origins and the faster they are diagnosed, the better. Breaking that cycle of agony greatly helps the symptoms of the pain/depression conundrum. 

Dr. O’Hara’s office is located at 940 S. Arthur Avenue in Arlington Heights. For more information, call 847/577-3597 or visit

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