Reports suggest that 85 per cent of the working population will suffer from back pain at least once in their lifetime. For most individuals, these complaints will resolve within a few weeks with or without care. However, there are some cases of back pain that persist well beyond their natural history and may be complicated by a number of factors, including depression.
Depression is commonly reported among low back pain sufferers, but more so among those suffering from a chronic condition (over three months). In fact, it has been reported that more than 20 per cent of adults with low back pain have signs or symptoms of clinical depression. The exact relationship between depression and low back pain is not well understood, but we do know that low back pain coupled with depression can severely increase the complexity of the condition and treatment.
Typically, individuals who suffer simultaneously from low back pain and depression commonly experience insomnia, fatigue and physical deconditioning. These symptoms only aggravate the pain and feelings of hopelessness. As a result, prompt and appropriate management of low back pain and depression, when needed, is particularly important to prevent the cyclical pattern of a chronic condition. Individuals who suffer from low back pain are encouraged to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a medical doctor, chiropractor or your employee assistance program.
The impact of early intervention can be significant to your health, quality of life and well-being. Studies have shown that a collaborative and integrated approach works best. If in doubt, talk to your primary healthcare provider for guidance.
To become an active participant in their own recovery, individuals are encouraged to take two key steps to prevent and manage both low back pain and depression.
- Stay active – Bed rest is not recommended for the management of low back pain; some exercise is typically encouraged, depending on the condition and within limits. Exercise has also been shown to significantly decrease the incidence of depression.
- Sleep well – Restful and restorative sleep is vital to maximize your recovery. Aim for at least seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep. It is preferable to sleep on your back and for comfort, you may choose to place a small pillow under your knees. Rest has a double impact on recovery, helping to alleviate your back pain and feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
In support of World Spine Day today, and the fact that so many individuals are affected by back pain in some form or another, Canadians can learn more and help raise awareness about spinal health and disorders through the Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA). The CCA represents Canada’s 7,000 licensed doctors of chiropractic, and advocates on behalf of members and patients to advance the quality and accessibility of chiropractic care in Canada, and to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the healthcare system.
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