Overview of antidepressants

Antidepressants are a type of medication that is traditionally prescribed to treat depression in people of all ages. What many people don’t know is that in recent years antidepressants have also been attempted as a treatment for chronic lower back pain. 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, while also helping manage symptoms of depression as a result of the pain in the long-term. Studies into their effectiveness for back pain treatment 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 antidepressants have been shown to eventually offer relief if used correctly. 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 difficult. For years, antidepressants have been prescribed to people experiencing spine degeneration, though recent studies into antidepressants for back pain have shown mixed results.

Side effects

Side effects of antidepressants vary depending on the specific medication. However, the most common side effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Headaches

Other options for neck or back pain relief

If you are suffering from the symptoms of a ruptured disc, pinched nerve, sciatica or any other degenerative spine condition, conservative options like medication, physical therapy, chiropractic care and spinal injections can very often be effective at bringing lasting relief. However, if these options prove ineffective and you are considering a surgical approach, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is performed on an outpatient basis using muscle-sparing techniques that allow for a shorter recovery time and less risk of complication compared to traditional open spine procedures.^

Call today for more information and to request a free review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.