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How To Help Alter The Depression Chronic Pain Cycle

Are you one of the 50% of chronic pain patients who also suffer with depression?

How to help alter the depression chronic pain cycle is a question that warrants further attention from the medical and chronic illness community. On top of having to deal with Fibromyalgia, RA, CFS (or any of the myriad of conditions that cause chronic pain), patients are also plagued with a host of co-morbidities. One of the most prevalent among these is depression.

Among those patients diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, 50% will develop significant depression. Unfortunately, the chemical reactions that accompany depression can contribute to an increase in the pain response, thus creating a ‘vicious cycle’ effect of: pain + depression = more pain and a more depressive state which = more pain, ect.

Among patients diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, 50% will develop significant depression. Click To Tweet


The complexities of mental health, especially pertaining to the subject of depression, is a topic far beyond the scope of my understanding. This article is in no way an in-depth, or authoritative, study on this problem. I am simply scratching around the surface looking at bits and pieces to offer as food for thought.*

*ALWAYS CONSULT and SEEK PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. Especially within the realm of mental health. The mind is a tricky thing, and I want the best possible solutions both for you and myself. Please seek help IMMEDIATELY if you have thoughts or intent to harm yourself in any way:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ~ Call 1-800-273-8255

How To Help Alter The Depression Chronic Pain Cycle

That being said, what are some effective ways we can help to combat depression while dealing with chronic pain? Below are suggestions that I have used at times when chronic pain gets me down. Again, this is hardly a comprehensive list of how to deal with depression and FMS, these are merely tools I have personally used at times that have helped me.

How do you combat depression related to your chronic pain? Please share your experiences in the comment section below!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ~ Call 1-800-273-8255 Click To Tweet

How To Help Alter The Depression Chronic Pain Cycle

Stop feeling guilty ~ There is so much guilt associated with not being able to function in life and relationships as we were able to pre-FMS. Try and find contentment in doing ‘the best you can within your limitations’. Prioritize relationships in the sense of saving ‘your best’ for those closest to you (spouse/children), and giving what’s left (if there is anything) to those who are lower on the list.

Maintain your passions ~When we are depressed, the first things to go out the door are the things we love to do the most. Try to keep those a part of your life if you can. My passions in creating/baking/writing often keep me distracted from my pain, and improve my mental state of ‘being’.

Believe in your ‘worth’ ~ You may not ‘feel’ it, or may have been told the opposite, but you have immense value and worth! If you are stuck with a medical provider (physical or mental) who makes you feel; uncomfortable, demeaned, not heard, hysterical, or invalidated…Find someone who will give to you the attention and care you deserve! Remember, you are paying for their services, not visa versa.


Suggetions to help alter the 'depression' / 'chronic pain' cycle... Click To Tweet
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  • Reply
    September 7 at 6:25 pm

    Hi Kristine,
    I’m visiting a few posts from the Waywow linkup & it’s actually my first time. Your post looked interesting. I feel for you so much with having to deal with both fibromyalgia & CFS & if you count depression, I guess it’s 3. I have never had Fibromyalgia, but I’ve heard it’s debilitating. I have several friends that suffer with it, and they have all mentioned dealing with depression in addition.
    What I’ve had to deal with this Spring/Summer makes me feel empathetic with anyone dealing with chronic issues. I have been dealing with broken bones (2), and what accompanies that is weakness from having to sit so much. Then when I finally get to get out of a chair, and start exercising to get stronger, I overdo it, and have to go back to the chair to recover! Depressing indeed. At least to me.

    • Reply
      September 8 at 7:19 pm

      I am so sorry for all your pain troubles Florence! That just stinks 🙁 Hang in there, it WILL get better! Love to ya!♥♥♥

  • Reply
    September 8 at 1:06 am

    Hi Kristine, I do suffer with depression and have done for a number of years. It’s the old chicken or egg analogy, I have no idea which came first. My GP has just started me on escitalopram as the amitriptyline is no longer working for me. I told her today I’m still in pain and I still want to sleep but I’m happy! I have discovered a new love for creating stuffed animals and I find that keeps me busy and I have decided to sell them and donate a percentage to Fibromyalgia research. That is keeping me positive. I have a purpose again! Yay!
    Alysha recently posted…Fibro Fog? I’m Sorry, Fibro What?My Profile

    • Reply
      September 8 at 7:17 pm

      WoW! ALysha, thank you for sharing this with everyone! That is EXACTLY what I was trying to convey. What an encouragement you are, keep up the AWESOMENESS!! 🙂

  • Reply
    September 10 at 8:02 pm

    I’m sorry you are suffering through all this pain and depression.
    I dealt with Chronic Fatigue for 5 years, and asked my doctor if I might not have Fibromyalgia. He told me he didn’t believe in it, and if I did have fibro, I would also have depression. Apparently he didn’t look back in the records to when his predecessor called me clinical and tried to get me to take Paxil.
    Anyway, I cried out to the Lord; why was I still not healed? It was depressing that I wasn’t getting any better. I handled the depression as best I could by not over-exerting myself.
    Then one day I read a review on a health encyclopedia, and a man giving a testimonial mentioned that some supplements and a gluten-free diet had helped him so much to overcome his symptoms that sounded a lot like mine. I wondered which supplements and what in the world was gluten anyway?
    The very next day I met the parents of my son’s best school friend. The whole family was eating gluten-free, and the dad, who has fibromyalgia, said he hardly ever has to take his pain meds unless he has a flare-up. The gluten-free (and pretty much dairy free as well) diet that he follows religiously, is what does the trick for him.
    I asked them for help so I could try that diet as well. I went out and bought some gluten-free items, and went gluten-free and dairy-free. Within 3 days, the knots that had tied up my shoulders and neck for years just started melting away. It was almost miraculous! I felt so well for a long time that I thought maybe I had just imagined it all, but the few times that I went on and ate a little bit of gluten let me know that it was NOT my imagination. So, aside from those few experiments, I have stuck religiously to a gluten-free diet for 10 years, and I feel better when I keep dairy out of my diet also and don’t overdo sugars, especially soda. God gave me my life back.
    If God had not allowed me to suffer for those 5 years, I don’t think I could have kept up with this diet, which is admittedly a difficult one to learn at first. I still read all the labels on anything new that I am thinking about trying.
    I have another friend with fibro whom I met 2 or three years ago. She went to her doctor and talked with him about going gluten-free. Long story short, she still has some pretty bad flare-ups, especially when there are extreme pressure or temperature changes in the atmosphere, but she feels MUCH better now on a gluten-free diet than she used to before she went gluten-free.
    I hope this will be helpful for you. It might be worth researching and at least giving it a try for a while.
    Love and prayers for better days,

    • Reply
      September 11 at 6:54 am

      Thank you for sharing your story Ruth! It is something to look into 🙂

      • Reply
        September 11 at 10:26 am

        You’re welcome! I’ll be praying for you, Kristine.

  • Reply
    September 12 at 10:41 am

    Kristine, oh depression. My son suffers from Bi-polar issues, depression, anxiety and a few other mental issues, it is a sneaky disease, and I loved the video, really helps to learn more about why this happens. If more people would learn about it, and try to empathize life would be so much easier for those who suffer.

    I love that you are sharing your experience and helping so many others along the way!
    Nikki recently posted…Stunning Shots – Pretty PetuniaMy Profile

    • Reply
      September 13 at 7:07 am

      Thank you Nikki. I’m so sorry your son has to deal with so much. Life is hard enough without the ‘extras’ piled on, he’s so fortunate to have you as a mom ♥

  • Reply
    Deborah Davis
    September 12 at 5:17 pm

    A dear friend of mine suffers from depression and chronic pain. I am sharing this with her! Thank you for sharing How To Help Alter The Depression Chronic Pain Cycle with us at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop. I’m Pinning and sharing!
    Deborah Davis recently posted…4 Tips for Taking Care of Your SkinMy Profile

    • Reply
      September 13 at 7:11 am

      Thank you Deborah! I hope it helps, depression can be debilitating.

  • Reply
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