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Depression, Back Pain May be Linked

Posted - Feb. 26, 2004 at 4:20 p.m.



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EDMONTON, Feb 26, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- People suffering from depression are more likely to develop neck and back pain over time, Canadian researchers said Thursday.

The researchers, from the University of Alberta, followed a random sample of nearly 800 adults who started out without neck or back pain. They found those suffering from depression were four times more likely to develop intense or disabling neck and lower back pain than those who were not depressed.

"We've known for a long time that pain can lead to depression, and now we're finding that each is a risk for the other," said lead author Dr. Linda Carroll, a professor in the university's department of public health sciences.

Both conditions are common and recur over time, so it is important to try to deal with the conditions before they get worse, Carroll said, adding she also is looking into how people cope with depression, which researchers have long associated with physical ailments.

Depression may lead some people to withdraw from activities when they are in pain, in turn allowing the pain to get worse and lower the quality of life, Carroll said.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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