Living with Chronic Knee Pain. Managing Depression and Anxiety

chronic pain

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 regularly 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 or too little.

Depression can cause you to lose interest in things you used to enjoy and tire you. Depression can also make it hard to concentrate, cause a loss of or increase in appetite, and make you feel irritable or restless. While pain can trigger depression, depression can also lead to increased pain.

What to do if you think you’re depressed

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 best solution for you. Potential treatments include:

Related video: Meditation is a superpower

Medication, such as antidepressants

Antidepressants are designed to improve your mood. Many options are available, and your doctor will work with you to find the 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 options for these, from over-the-counter options to prescription medications meant to treat more severe pain. However, some medications may be habit-forming, so discussing all pros and cons with your doctor is important.

Talk therapy

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 to improve your mood.

Try positive self-talk as well through power statements. For example, say out loud to yourself, “I am good at _____.” Or “People like being around me because _____.”

Physical therapy

Physical therapy addresses physical pain and teaches you ways to improve your physical ability while managing pain.

Reduce stress

You can take action to reduce stress and 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 visco-gel into your knee joint. The gel replaces the depleted fluid in your knee joint, providing pain-relieving cushioning and lubrication. Click here to learn more about our therapy and schedule your free knee pain screening.

How to alleviate knee pain without drugs or surgery

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