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Stress, Depression and Pain Facts & Information

Some people experience either acute or chronic pain in the back, neck, and shoulders despite never having suffered from an injury or other form of physical trauma. For many of these patients, their physical pain is a manifestation of emotional or psychological issues, including stress.

In response to stress, the body increases its production of cortisol, the “stress hormone.” The heart rate increases, blood pressure goes up and breathing gets faster. Muscles tighten or tense up, which can lead to aches and pains—and pain can lead people to feel depressed because they cannot enjoy life to its fullest.

But depression can also cause pain. The neurotransmitters that impact both pain and our moods are serotonin and norepinephrine. When these chemical messengers are not functioning properly, depression and pain can result. It is estimated that 65 percent of those who suffer from depression report having pain.


Pain that is the result of, or due to, stress and depression can present itself in many ways, including:

  • Joint Pain
  • Limb Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Muscle Pain
  • Sleep Difficulties and Fatigue


As specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of pain, the physicians at National Spine & Pain Centers are trained to recognize the subtle nuances of pain related to, or caused by, stress and depression. They are skilled in asking the right questions and encouraging patients to share their concerns about how pain is impacting their lives.

After obtaining a thorough patient history and completing a physical exam, your National Spine & Pain Center physician will work to develop a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary treatment plan that may include:

  • Interventional procedures, e.g. kyphoplasty or SCS
  • Suggested lifestyle changes and exercises
  • Physical therapy
  • Referral to a qualified mental health professional
  • Alternative therapies such as massage, acupuncture and biofeedback

Possible Treatments

The pain specialists at National Spine & Pain Centers perform a wide range of minimally invasive interventional techniques that can address pain once its cause has been determined and other treatment options have been explored.

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