2 posts tagged “pain management”

The “chicken-and-egg” relationship between pain and depression

Posted August 4th, 2017 by

Fifty percent of people with chronic pain also have depression, pain management experts say. And more than 75 percent of patients with depression report pain-related symptoms (such as headaches, stomach pain, neck and back pain), according to the World Health Organization. The pain/depression connection raises a lot of questions for some people who experience both: Which came first: pain or depression? Does one cause the other? How can they be treated? We’re exploring the link between mental and physical health and what your community has reported on PatientsLikeMe.

Link between pain and depression

“Completely intertwined”

Chelsey Engel, a writer for The Mighty, says the vicious pain/depression cycle is a mystery that she’s not sure how to solve. Chronic migraines, neck and shoulder pain caused her to stop doing yoga, which she previously practiced to help manage her mental health.

“So not only are you missing the things that once gave you life, you’re also missing yourself,” she says. “You also now have two conditions to treat – pain and depression – that are separate in one way but completely intertwined in another.

The New York Times also recently shed light on the overlap of mental and physical health, and found that modern medicine often falls short in treating both together, so it’s sometimes left up to patients and caregivers to ask questions and connect the dots for their doctors and therapists. Explore some options for treating both.

“Keep in mind that human beings are not divided into two different organisms: a physical one and an emotional one,” Jane E. Brody writes. “Mind and body are a single construct with two-way communication, and what happens in the body below the head can – and often does – affect the brain and vice versa.” In fact, studies have shown that depression symptoms may interfere with our nervous system pathways and allow more pain sensation to reach the brain.

On PatientsLikeMe

Everyone’s experience of pain mingling with depression is different, but there are some interesting findings in the PatientsLikeMe community. Our Data Science Team recently shared these insights:

  • For nearly all conditions on PatientsLikeMe, pain and depressed mood show some positive correlation – more severe pain and more severe depressed mood tend to happen together.
  • For some frequently reported conditions on the site (such as migraine and Crohn’s disease), this association is relatively high.
  • For some others (like PTSD), there’s an association, but it’s relatively low.
  • Some conditions like lupus are in between the extremes.

Of course, the relationship between these pain and depressive symptoms is not easy to understand. Pain could cause a downturn in mood, but both symptoms could have some other root cause.

Have you experienced chronic pain “intertwined” with depression? Share your experiences here and join the community to talk about your your condition, symptoms and treatments.

Share this post on Twitter and help spread the word.


PatientsLikeMe Acquires Online Pain Management Company, ReliefInsite

Posted February 16th, 2010 by

Today’s news release announcing acquisition of ReliefInsite.  Want to receive future announcements?  Sign up for our RSS feed on the press page.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PATIENTSLIKEME ACQUIRES ONLINE PAIN MANAGEMENT COMPANY, RELIEFINSITE
20,000 Patients Reporting Moderate to Severe Pain on PatientsLikeMe

Cambridge, MA and New York City, NY – February 16, 2010 – Today, PatientsLikeMe, the leading online community for patients with life-changing diseases, announces the acquisition of ReliefInsite, a pioneering online pain management company.

“Right now, there are more than 20,000 patients on PatientsLikeMe experiencing real pain,” says Ben Heywood, President and Co-founder of PatientsLikeMe.  “By acquiring ReliefInsite, we can improve the way we help patients effectively manage their pain.”

Conceived by founder Fred Eberlein in 2000, ReliefInsite’s patented online pain management technology developed into a secure HIPAA-compliant platform designed to help patients monitor their pain levels and share that information directly with their doctors.

“I’ve spent more than a decade inventing and advancing the technology platform at ReliefInsite to help patients manage their pain and improve the patient-doctor relationship,” says Eberlein.  “I’m excited this work has led me to my new home at PatientsLikeMe, where we can work together to better align industry’s interests with improving patients’ quality of life.”

ReliefInsite will continue to support its existing pharmaceutical and clinical clients as its functionality is integrated into the PatientsLikeMe platform. Eberlein joins the PatientsLikeMe team to lead the companies’ integration and enhance product offerings for partners in the life sciences industry.

picture-1Pain is a common symptom for people with all of the diseases on PatientsLikeMe, and is most prevalent in diseases like fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis. In the depression community, thousands of patients report they are currently experiencing “back pain” or “stomach pain,” with 50% of those members describing their pain as moderate or severe. Across all of the disease communities, pain is a topic of discussion in more than 61,000 forum posts. Additionally, patients are using hundreds of treatment options to manage their pain from prescription medications, such as Cymbalta and Lyrica, to alternative solutions like acupuncture, massage and physical therapy.

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PatientsLikeMe member lscanlon