I read an article recently in The Daily Mail Good Health about how antidepressants may reduce chronic lower back pain.
In the journal Pain Medicine, a study led by Fukushima Medical University in Japan, 150 patients were given the antidepressant duloxetine once a day for a year. Their pain levels dropped significantly from the second week onwards. One theory, they say, is that antidepressants raise levels of the brain chemical serotonin in the spinal cord, which reduces the pain.
Serotonin is a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness. The NHS point out how they think serotonin works. It’s thought that SSRIs work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (a messenger chemical that carries signals between nerve cells in the brain). It’s thought to have a good influence on mood, emotion and sleep.
After carrying a message, serotonin is usually reabsorbed by the nerve cells (known as “reuptake”). SSRIs work by blocking (“inhibiting”) reuptake, meaning more serotonin is available to pass further messages between nearby nerve cells.
It would be too simplistic to say that depression and related mental health conditions are caused by low serotonin levels, but a rise in serotonin levels can improve symptoms and make people more responsive to other types of treatment, such as CBT.
I have taken a number of different types of antidepressants for my back pain and they have swapped me around every now and then to try a different one. At the moment I am taking Nortriptyline which I have found the best of all to help me get a more comfortable sleep. The only problem with all these types of medications is that you can soon find them hard to come off if you have taken them for a while, but if they work then that’s all that matters.
Turmeric has many healing powers and has become the latest supplement being used for a number of complaints including pain, improve brain function and even tackle cancer.
The root which comes from India, is apparently being added to everything from health supplements to juices and beauty products says The Mail’s Good Health.
Professor Susan Hewlings, a dietitian at Central Michigan University who co-authored an extensive 2017 scientific review on the spice said that ‘Increasing evidence suggest curcumin reduces levels of damaging inflammatory protiens released by our cells and therefore has the potential to help many inflammation-based disease like arthrtitis, dementia, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Even the NHS dietitian Dr Sarah Schenker says that ‘the research on turmeric’s anti-inflammatory effects in the body are very promising.’
Turmeric is available as a tea, in a capsules, as a drink shot, as a spread, as a daily oral spray, as a drink, and even as a clay mask for your face, but before you start taking this on a regular basis you should check it with your Doctor first. The Bad Back Company sell the 10,000mg Turmeric Tablets for £19.95
Back pain is on the rise according to the Shropshire Star. They write that newly-released analysis by Imperial College London shows that 56,154 people in the Shropshire Council area and 29,589 people in Telford and Wrekin reported suffering from back pain in 2012.
It accounted for 18 per cent of the population, slightly higher than the England average of 17 per cent.
The data was collected from Public Health England’s Health Survey, and analysed by Imperial College for the charity Versus Arthritis.
Only people who were in pain at the time of the survey, and had been in pain for at least three months, were counted in the figures.
That means the data is likely to be an underestimate of the prevalence of the condition, since acute bouts of back pain can be resolved within a three-month period.
Three out of five declared sufferers in Shropshire reported having severe back pain – a total of 33,552 people.
Almost two-thirds of declared sufferers in Telford and Wrekin – 18,921 people – also reported having severe back pain.
NHS England say Back pain is the largest single cause of disability in the UK, with lower back pain alone accounting for 11% of the total disability of the UK population. Referrals for spinal surgery are increasing year on year and a growing number of patients are waiting longer than 18 weeks from referral to treatment.
I’ve received another nomination for an award for my new Facebook Support Group
Since the awards inception in 2011, the WEGO Health Awards have proven to be one of the best ways to connect the healthcare industry with top patient influencers. It is the only awards program that recognizes Patient Leaders across all condition areas and platforms, with over 4,000 nominations in 2018 alone!
Thank you for nominating me for this Carole Sian.
While waiting to go into the Doctors I sat reading a Good Housekeeping Health Living magazine. It had a brilliant article on finding the right type of meditation to suit your mood. These are some of the tips to help you find the techniques that work best for you.
- If you need flexibility then look at the apps that are available for help with all kinds of needs from performance to sleep. They recommend Headspace or Happier and Calm apps.
- Headspace also runs bite-size guided meditations for anyone who is busy (who isn’t?) All you do is sign up for a free trial at Headspace or you could find meditation courses online but they state they can be expensive from
- If you are having trouble sleeping (that’s me) then they say there is evidence that mindfulness works. The technique that has the most mental health studies supporting it is mindfulness-based ‘Cognitive Therapy‘, and there is an abundance of details online.
- If you prefer to be taught personally then they recommend Vedic and Transcendental Meditation which are courses you can start with a one-to-one lesson when you’re given your mantra. Find Vedic and Transcendental Meditation from this website.
- If your feeling angry or lonely then they suggest you try loving-kindness meditation, where you repeat a positive mantra. Visit Ten Percent Happier for details on this.