How Do Antidepressants and Meditation Help Back Pain?

I have a lot of pain in my lower back from an injury many years ago. At one point, my doctor wanted to put me on antidepressants, which I refused because I wasn't depressed. Now he wants me to go for meditation and therapy. It's not in my head and I'm not depressed. How is this supposed to help me? Does he think I'm imagining it?

Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints in the Western world. Painful backs can affect how we live our life and cause other physical problems due to loss of mobility, lack of sleep, and other issues.

While only your doctor knows for sure why he or she offered the antidepressants, it is important to realize that many medications are given for reasons other than their original use. Some types of antidepressants, like some types of anti-seizure medications, work well on chronic pain.

Regarding meditation and therapy, this type of recommendation does not at all imply that the pain is in your head. Researchers have learned over the years that sometimes treatments like meditation can have a powerful effect on pain and how your body perceives pain. It is often worth a try because it is non-invasive (meaning it's a treatment that doesn't go into your body somehow) and can make a difference in managing pain.

Natalia E. Morone, Carol M. Greco, and Debra K. Weiner. Mindfulness meditation for the treatment of chronic low back pain in older adults: A randomized controlled pilot study. In Pain. January 2008. Vol. 134. Pp. 310-319.

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