Pain and Depression: What You Need to Know

It is a very common phenomenon—depression and physical pain. They are both caused or contributed to by similar changes in body/brain chemistry. Depression is often the mental manifestation of imbalances in serotonin and other brain chemicals, and physical pain results from the same imbalances, manifested on a body-level. These can take the forms of arthritis, sports injuries, back problems, headaches, or just daily muscular aches and pains.

The typical medical approach to this chemical imbalance is to initiate a program of SSRI’s (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) such as Prozac and Celexa. Additionally, for physical pain support NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ie. ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, etc.) are often either suggested by the physician, or used over the counter by the patients. This approach, though common, misses some very important elements that underlie the identification of depression and body pain. It also neglects to understand the potentially lethal combination that includes SSRI’s and NSAID’s.

To begin to understand the issues that often lie hidden beneath these diagnoses we must look beyond symptoms. One major cause of both pain and depression is thyroid dysfunction. This can range from hyperthyroidism (overactivity of the thyroid gland), thyroiditis (immune system issues which create thyroid antibodies) and hypothyroidism. There can also be a combination or some of all three of these problems manifesting in one individual at the same time. Since blood-based thyroid lab tests are often inaccurate due to difficulties with the timing of the tests or the incredibly broad range of the “normal” standard, even if doctors do take the time to run lab work, they often accept these inaccuracies and tell the patient their thyroid is “fine.” I see clients every week with blood lab results that look “fine,” but in reality are not showing needed information that would lead to a diagnosis of thyroid dysfunction. Therefore, many thyroid-imbalanced individuals are walking around tired, depressed, constipated, and in pain…believing it is all in their heads and that their doctors know best.

Of course, making accurate diagnoses are crucial to identifying the very likely underlying factors in the chronic fatigue-depression-pain syndrome. Treating the cause rather than the symptoms is always the best plan, and relying on outdated or inaccurate blood standards is often the main reason this is not being handled effectively. Alternative testing with a blood-spot at home collection kit, which can be taken at the correct time of day and has much more reliability and accuracy can often be the answer many of these miserable people need. We provide that opportunity here at Synergetics Health & Wellness. Working with the more accurate standards and correct collection techniques enables us to be more effective in our treatment of thyroid imbalances and the syndromes that are often involved as a result.

Back to depression and pain…

Suppose the thyroid tests are normal, even using more accurate standards of testing. You are still depressed and in pain. So, now what? Let’s explore the typical approach to the management of this phenomenon.

Research is beginning to indicate that combining the two classes of drugs (SSRI’s and NSAID’s) could prove to be a lethal mistake as the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding is now thought to be increased in people who take both. The science is showing that this combination (even if only using low-dose aspirin therapy) can elevate the risk of GI bleeding.

An estimated 36 million Americans use over-the-counter pain killers daily. Many know that using them with frequency can cause gastro-intestinal bleeding, but it’s less commonly known that when they are combined with drugs like Prozac and Celexa, the likelihood increases quite dramatically. Bleeding can occur anywhere along the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus. It can be microscopic so that it is difficult to identify without lab testing, but can still be lifie-threatening. Prolonged microscopic bleeding can cause loss of iron and anemia. Acute, massive bleeding can result in lowered blood volume, shock, and death.

If you have accurate thyroid tests that show healthy function, and still need some support for depression and pain, there are much better alternatives. We can work with the brain chemistry imbalances utilizing formulations that provide essential nutrients to the brain, allowing it to manufacture healthy neuron-transmitters that rebalance brain chemistry. This alone will often lessen or alleviate body pain as well. When it does not, there are also much better options for pain control that do not promote GI bleeding or other health problems such as liver and kidney damage. Here at Synergetics, we keep up to date with the most effective and safe options for these challenges, as well as others that are challenging your health. Please give us a call, or drop us an email. We accept new in-office clients for those in or near Las Vegas. Dr. Johnson is a reviewing physician for a wonderful diagnostic web-site: where you can receive an in-depth analysis and personalized report about the most likely underlying causes for your health challenges. We also offer individual and corporate health coaching and consultation on a monthly basis anywhere in the world.


Nelva A, Guy C, Tardy-Poncet B, Beyens NM, Ratrema M, Benedetti C, Ollagnier M. Hemorrhagis cydreomes related to SSRI anti-depressants. Rev Med Interne.2000 Feb:21 (2): 152-60

No authors listed. Do SSRI’s cause gastrointestinal bleeding? Dru. Ther Bull. 2004 Mar;42(3):17-8

Loke YK, Trivedi AN, Singh S. Meta-analysis; gastrointestinal bleeding due to interaction between SSRI’s and NSAID’s. Aliment Pharmocol Ther. 2008 Jan 1;27(2):31-40