A new study examined how depression affects arthritis knee pain. The researchers looked at knee X-rays of more than 650 arthritis patients older than age 65. They then compared each individual’s joint damage with the levels of pain reported by the patient and signs of depression. Arthritis patients who were depressed reported greater arthritis pain in the knee than those who had similar level of joint damage and didn’t struggle with depression.
Milder Forms of Arthritis Most Affected by Depression
These findings were true when depressed individuals had only mild to moderate joint damage. Depression didn’t seem to affect perception of pain in patients with severe arthritis. According to the authors, these results indicate that depression can play a big role in how people with milder forms of arthritis experience pain.
Take Steps to Recognize and Treat Depression
Taking steps to reduce depression may help minimize pain in cases of mild to moderate arthritis. It can also reduce other related health problems and improve quality of life. If you think you may suffer from depression, talk to your doctor. Symptoms include:
Ongoing feelings of emptiness or hopelessness
Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
Restlessness or irritability
Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
Frequent thoughts of death or dying
Even the most severe cases of depression are highly treatable. For more information, visit www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression.