Scott Metzger, MD, SEM Pain Consulting, discusses treating patients suffering from chronic pain as well as depression. Depression can play a significant role in chronic pain.

For some individuals, the stress resulting from chronic pain can become consuming, and have the potential to significantly worsen and prolong the pain. Increased pain can lead to increased stress and depression, creating a cycle of depression and pain that can be difficult to break.

Pain and depression are closely related. Depression can cause pain — and pain can cause depression. Sometimes pain and depression create a vicious cycle in which pain worsens symptoms of depression, and then the resulting depression worsens feelings of pain.

In many people, depression causes unexplained physical symptoms such as back pain or headaches. This kind of pain may be the first or the only sign of depression.