People with chronic pain report more intense pain and related disability if they are also experiencing depression, anxiety, or both. Left untreated, these conditions can have a devastating and profoundly negative impact on people with chronic pain.
In a new study, researchers looked for associations between depression and anxiety, and measures of pain intensity, pain-related disability, and quality of life. They assessed 500 chronic pain patients; 20 percent had pain plus depression, 3 percent had pain and anxiety, and 23 percent had all three conditions.
When the participants reported how many days in the last 3 months they had been unable to perform usual activities, those with only pain answered 18 disability days on average. In contrast, those with pain plus anxiety and those with pain plus depression averaged 32 and 38 disability days, respectively. Those with pain plus both anxiety and depression averaged nearly 43 disability days. This group also reported the greatest pain severity.
* Reuters November 5, 2008