Study Suggests that Depression May Contribute to Lower Back Pain

photo courtesy of stockimages/
photo courtesy of stockimages/

In a new meta-analysis of 11 studies, researchers have found that the symptoms of depression increase a patient’s risk of suffering from lower back pain. The researchers concluded that people with depression were 60 percent more likely to feel pain in their low back than their healthy counterparts.

Moreover, the study found that risk for lower back pain increased in a positive correlation with the severity of depressive symptoms. Study participants with the most severe depression symptoms were 2.5 times more likely to feel such pain than those with the most mild depression symptoms.

However, even the lowest category of depressive symptom severity experienced a 50 percent increase in risk of lower back pain.

“The etiology of low back pain is poorly understood and the identification of possible causal factor or the role of cormorbidities that would potentially lead to low back pain could contribute to effective management strategies,” said study author Marina Pinheiro, MSc.

The researchers theorize that several factors could contribute to the connection between depressive symptoms and lower back pain. Several biological processes could contribute to each, including neurotransmitter levels in the brain. Moreover, people with depression are more likely to lead inactive lifestyles, which elevates the likelihood of experiencing lower back pain.

Do you or someone you care for have depression? See if you qualify for Segal Institute’s clinical research study on depression today!


Want more information?

Join our

Be the first to know about our new studies! You can unsubscribe at any time.