A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with a depressive illness cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better. Without antidepressants, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years.

While in college, following a traumatic event, Susan fell into a deep depression and was placed on antidepressants and went to therapy - all of which helped significantly. As she recalls in her blog, when years later she was working at a landscape company:

"I was experiencing extreme pain in my lower back, right leg and lower abdomen. Since I had no insurance, I stoically dealt with this. I would say on a day-to-day basis, my pain was a 9 or 10. After three months of employment, I was able to see an orthopedic surgeon. When the MRI was done, I had a 90% compression on two sections of the lumbar region. Two weeks later, I was in surgery. Over the next six years, I had a subsequent back surgery and a cervical fusion on two sections of my neck."

Her depression returned and now, 45 years old, Susan is taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications to help her cope. "I face pain everyday and have a numb right leg."

Depression can Lead to Back Pain

It's not a surprise that most people suffering from chronic pain also experience depression, but did you know the reverse can be true as well? A 2004 University of Alberta study revealed that depression is a risk factor for onset of severe neck and low back pain. Researchers followed a random sample of nearly 800 adults without neck and low back pain and found that people who suffer from depression are four times as likely to develop intense or disabling neck and low back pain than those who are not depressed.

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Patients with back pain can get depression because of it, and patients with depression can get back pain because of the depression.

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Since it's common for these conditions to come and go, it's important to try to deal with them before they become troublesome and lead to a vicious cycle.

Unfortunately, many don't recognize the signs and symptoms of depression, nor are they aware of the various treatments for depression.

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