Antidepressants are a type of medication that’s traditionally prescribed to treat depression in people of all ages, although in recent years, antidepressants have also proven somewhat effective in treating chronic lower back pain as well. Antidepressants work by influencing the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain – two transmitters known for regulating mood. For patients with back pain, antidepressants are thought to serve two purposes: reduce chronic pain in the short-term and feelings of depression as a result of the pain in the long-term, although studies into their efficacy are ongoing and have mixed results.
Benefits of Antidepressants
The benefits of antidepressants for treating depression are well-documented. It can sometimes be difficult to find the right balance of medication and dosage, but for people suffering from depression, antidepressants have been shown to eventually offer relief. Medication usually takes several weeks to show results (as serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain build), and is usually prescribed with long-term use in mind.
Determining the benefits of antidepressants for patients with chronic lower back pain or neck pain is a little more onerous. For years, antidepressants have been prescribed to people experiencing spine degeneration, though recent studies into antidepressants for back pain have shown mixed efficacy.
Side effects of antidepressant medication vary depending on the specific medication. However, the most common side effects include:
- Dry mouth
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