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Back Pain and Depression

Back Pain and Depression

Hi, I’m Dr Jason Berry, doctor of chiropractic at Pure Healthcare. In the light of depression being such a big topic at the moment, I decided to blog to increase awareness about the link between back pain and depression. Many people are unaware of the relationship between back pain and depression, until they are in the depths of depression, and it just seems a never-ending cycle.

Sufferers of chronic back pain, and those going through relapses of back pain, are those most likely to develop pain related depression.  According to experts, depression is not a risk factor for everyone with back pain. But if you have severe or long-lasting back pain, then you might need to be concerned about your mental health as well as your physical health.  Healthcare experts in this field agree that major depression is thought to be four times greater in people with chronic back pain than the general population.

As you probably already know, chronic back pain is quite prevalent.  

  • Eighty percent (80%) of adults will have at least one episode of low back pain in their lifetime, according to research by in the medical journal, “Spine”.
  • Croft et al found that 90% of patients had stopped consulting for low back pain at 3 months, yet only 25% were symptom free at 1 year.
  • Von Korff has shown that a significant amount of even acute low back pain patients have persistent pain if followed for one to two years.


In an article written by C.J. Bossley and K.B. Miles in May 2009, entitled ‘The Crippling Burden’, they note that;

  • “Musculoskeletal disorders are the leading cause of disability in New Zealand. They affect one in four adults, comprise at least 25% of our total annual health costs and are estimated to cost New Zealand more than $5,570 million a year.
  • These disorders are often overlooked as a significant health issue, even left untreated – mainly because they’re not all fatal, they can be relatively invisible (ie. chronic) and are often – incorrectly - seen as an inevitable consequence of ageing.”
  • “Chronic pain will affect nearly 528,100 New Zealanders, of which 57.6% in joints and 47.5% in the spine.”

It stands to reason that there are numbers of kiwis at risk for developing depression because of continued back pain, and it is of paramount importance that treatment is sought early on before it becomes a chronic problem.

If you are interested in tackling your back and looking for an alternative give us a call and book a Free Discovery Session. We will have an informal chat about what you are going through. We can then let you know if we can help, and come up with an effective multidisciplinary approach to getting you pain free, and well again.



  • The Crippling Burden by C.J. Bossley and K.B. Miles
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1495170/
  • Rehabilitation of the Spine: A Practitioner's Manual Edited by Craig Liebensen