"Depression hurts..." There's a new commercial for some type of anti-depressant that notes depression can be caused by or can cause physical ailments, such as back pain.

And, at my last support meeting (for depression), I was struck by how many people suffer from back pain. Just about everyone in the group that night said they have dealt with back pain or are having some back-related problem. One gentleman was due to have surgery to have screws removed from his back that I guess were put in during a previous surgery.

I guess it stood out for me because my own mother was scheduled to have back surgery. She had it last week. It was a routine procedure, but surgery is still surgery. I don't know the name of the procedure she was having done, but apparently it's a fairly new one. If I'm recalling it right, they were going to insert a balloon-type material between her disc and the vertebrae, then fill it with a cement-type material.

I drove her to the hospital that morning. Her pre-op exam and the scheduled time for the surgery appeared to be on track. As we were waiting, I said to her I never knew how prevalent back pain is and explained about the people in my support group.

I know for myself I've been dealing with chronic lower back pain. It's gotten a lot better from when I first went to the doctor about it and a chiropractor, but I remember when I first brought it up to the doctor. I remember telling him, "If I were to live only just five more years, I don't want to live with this pain."

"I would hope you'd live longer than that," he replied.

"I do too... I was just making a point," I said.

That started my yo-yoing diet and workout routine to help alleviate the pain, which I have less now than before, but it's still there.

I never really considered that depression could be a factor in it. I don't know if I believe that now, despite what the commercial says. I guess over time, if it's chronic enough, you could become depressed about it.

Just the weekend before her surgery, my mother's back was really hurting her - and she made the comment that dealing with the pain was exhausting. It makes you more tired because you have to exert more energy to do what you want to do.

My mother's surgery went off fine and she's back home. She has just two circle-like scars on her back, held by staples. She reports feeling fine and not feeling the back pain she had been, but it's only been a week, so we'll have to see how she does once she's back to her regular routine. I really hope it helps.

I don't know the status of the gentleman from the support group, as I missed the following week's meeting.

When I had mentioned the procedure my mother was having to the group, the gentleman even said that was the newest thing with back surgery.

It's still so surprising to me because you just never know how many people suffer from a particular ailment. Because at the time you're suffering it, you feel like you're the only one - and often times you're not.

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