Living with Chronic Knee Pain. Managing Depression and Anxiety
Knee pain can keep you from doing the things you love, like a favorite sport or activity. It can also make everyday tasks more difficult and can even make it hard to spend time with friends and family. People who deal with limited mobility and knee pain, such as that caused by knee osteoarthritis, may also develop depression and anxiety challenges. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help you improve your physical and mental health.
Chronic Pain Can Affect Mental Health
If you deal with chronic pain, you know just how much it can affect your life. In addition to having a physical impact, such as making certain activities more difficult, disturbing your sleep, and making it harder to work or see loved ones, chronic pain can also impact your mental health.
Dealing with pain on a regular basis can be physically and emotionally taxing, adding enough stress to affect your thinking, behavior and mood, and even potentially lead to depression.[i] For example, disrupted sleep and frequent pain can affect your energy levels during the day, impact your productivity, and may leave you feeling irritable. Feeling isolated from friends and family and having limited independence can also lead to depression.
Signs of Depression and Anxiety
It’s important to be aware of the signs of depression and anxiety so that you can seek proper treatment and start feeling better. People with depression may experience feeling worthless, hopeless, or sad. Their sleep may be affected, whether getting too much sleep or too little sleep. Depression can cause you to lose interest in things that you used to enjoy, and make you feel tired. Depression can also make it hard to concentrate, cause a loss of or increase of appetite, and make you feel irritable or restless. While pain can trigger depression, depression can also lead to increased pain.
What to Do
Experiencing depression or anxiety on top of chronic knee pain can be exhausting. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help treat your pain and depression and improve your physical and mental health.
Be sure to talk with your doctor or a mental health professional. Explain not only your physical knee pain, but also any signs of depression. This will help them understand what you’re experiencing and find the solution that’s best for you. Potential treatments include:
Medication, such as antidepressants
Antidepressants are designed to improve your mood. There are many different options available, and your doctor will work with you to find one that’s most effective for you. Some antidepressants can even treat pain or reduce the perception of pain along with treating depression.
Medication for pain
To help ease your physical pain, your doctor may suggest a pain medication. There are several available options for these as well, from over-the-counter options to prescription medications meant to treat more severe pain. However, some medications may be habit-forming, so it’s important to discuss all pros and cons with your doctor.
Talk therapy, also called cognitive therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy, can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings and teach you how to change negative thoughts and feelings in order to improve your mood.
Physical therapy addresses physical pain and teaches you ways to improve your physical ability while managing pain.
There are actions you can take to reduce stress to improve your symptoms of depression and anxiety. This may include relaxing activities like meditation, reading, journaling, and even light physical activity that you can do without pain.
How Arthritis Knee Pain Centers® Can Help
Our advanced therapy can help people reduce pain, increase mobility, decrease pain medications and delay surgery. A non-surgical procedure, our outpatient treatment involves injecting an FDA-approved viscogel into your knee joint. The gel replaces the depleted fluid in your knee joint and provides pain-relieving cushioning and lubrication. Click here to learn more about our therapy and schedule your free knee pain screening.