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People who suffer from chronic back pain as a result of a workplace injury or other cause are at heightened risk of suicide, according to a new study. The research found that people with back pain or migraines were more likely to attempt suicide regardless of whether they suffered from symptoms of depression, anxiety or any other psychiatric disorder.

The findings were published recently in the journal JAMA Psychiatry and involved more than 4.8 million people who had been treated by the U.S. Veterans Health Administration in 2005. People who suffered from chronic pain were monitored over the next three years to judge their suicide risk.

The researchers found a link between death from suicide and common conditions that result in chronic pain, like arthritis, migraines, neuropathy, headaches and fibromyalgia. All of the conditions except arthritis and neuropathy were linked to a risk of suicide. When the researchers accounted for mental-health problems, the connection with suicide was elevated only for people with back pain, migraines and psychogenic pain, which stems from psychological factors.

Suicide is now one of the top 10 causes of death in the United States, and the number of suicides is increasing. People who suffer from chronic pain may be at an increased risk of suicide because of feelings of hopelessness.

Back injuries are a common problem. Workers with chronic pain due to repetitive stress injuries or accidents on the job may suffer from low morale, less satisfying social lives and an inability to work.

Michael Parsons is an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer, representing injured workers in the metro Atlanta region and helping them recover the workers’ compensation benefits that they have earned.

Source: Health Day