Winter Blues and Chronic Pain

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Chronic Pain

Many Minnesotans suffer from a case of the “winter blues”, but this seasonal depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder can be detrimental to someone suffering from chronic pain. Chronic pain can make other conditions, like seasonal affective disorder, worse. Likewise, pain can be made worse by other conditions. Pain and seasonal depression become a vicious cycle, leaving many people with little hope. 

In many cases, Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring or summer. Other times, people may experience the opposite pattern of symptoms that begin in spring or summer. In either case, symptoms may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses. These are no true identified causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder, but many experts believe that it is related to hormonal changes in the brain that occur at certain times of the year. It is thought that the lack of daylight in the winter time ma also contribute, as the brain makes less serotonin, which is a chemical linked to regulation of mood. (1)

SAD usually begins in young adulthood and is more common in women than men. There are some individuals who experience SAD only have mild symptoms of irritability or feel not like themselves. Other symptoms of SAD vary, and may include symptoms of depression, less energy, fatigue, weight gain, and he inability to concentrate. If the patient already experiences a chronic pain condition, the symptoms of that condition can be worse than usual, or can make symptoms of SAD even more severe. (2)

Treatment for SAD and chronic pain conditions should begin with management of pain, which can be achieved by the pain management team at Twin Cities Pain Clinic. Concurrently with chronic pain management, treatment for SAD should occur. This may include getting more sunlight when it is available and use of antidepressant medication.

If you suspect that you suffer from SAD along with your chronic pain, be sure ask your provider on how Twin Cities Pain Clinic can help. You don’t have to suffer alone, we can help! Call 952-841-2345 today!



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