FEELING EXHAUSTED ALL THE TIME ? IS YOUR BRAIN TRYING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING?…

Many people suffering from any form of chronic pain suffer from lack of energy which can be caused by the pain they are in and also certain medications, but is your brain trying to tell you something ?

Lack of energy is one of the main symptoms of depression and combined with other symptoms like feeling down or hopeless, little interest or pleasure in activities you normally enjoy, feeling worthless or guilt, disrupted sleep, changes in appetite, problems concentrating or suicidal thoughts. Any or all of these can be a real sign that you may be suffering from depression.

I decided to highlight this during Mental Health Month. Many people suffering from chronic pain can feel alone especially with the COVID-19 virus putting in lockdown. This can then put many of us at a greater risk of depression and so it is essential you get help when you need it.

It is important that you talk to you GP first who may initially offer antidepressants but there is access to CBT ( Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) which is well known to help with depression.

Light therapy can help especially during winter months but at the moment we have enough light and sun to give us adequate amounts to lift our spirits. Unfortunately not everyone has access to the fresh air and sun due to difficulty getting outside because of our condition so help for them is very important.

There are other tips to help boost your energy levels which can have a positive effect on how you feel. The classic tips are to avoid junk food, curb your alcohol intake, exercise for energy, cut down on caffeine, check your Iron intake and Vitamin D levels.

You are certainly not on your own with this you only have to look online starting with the NHS Every Mind Matters, and Mental Health.Org,

The Houston Press say “Mental health experts are predicting a second pandemic of sorts, an epidemic born from coronavirus worries and lockdowns.”

Therapy For You wrote “May is National Walking Month, where you’re encouraged to leave the motor at home and stretch your legs exploring every space the UK has to offer. Even just a 20-minute walk around your area can do wonders for your mental wellbeing, from helping you get more sleep at night to encouraging helpful hormones that boost positivity.”

Mind have a great article on how CBT works. “ CBT is usually a short-term treatment, so you wouldn’t be expected to continue with the treatment for a long time. For example, a course of CBT might be delivered in 12 hour-long weekly sessions, spread across 12 weeks. In some areas, you may be offered four sessions initially, with the opportunity for more if you need them.“Some research suggests that computerised CBT could be helpful for some people, although it’s not yet known how well it works.”

Whatever is available you first need to speak to your GP about how you are feeling and he will point you in the right direction.

SEEING YOUR GP DURING COVID-19 & HELPING WITH RESEARCH…

Dr. Sarah Jarvis MBE, and Clinical Director at Patient recently wrote how we must NOT ignore any concerns about our own health or a loved ones health during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Whatever you are worried about, be it a lump, pain or an ongoing health condition, you should seek help through your GP. GP surgeries across the UK are open via phone or video calls so check your GP’s surgery to see how they are making appointments.

You can also arrange a remote GP & Pharmacy appointment through Patient Access in many locations. The Patient also has details on how to get the most out of your GP appointment.

Also on Patient is a link to contribute to COVD-19 research by telling the NHS about your current experience of COVID-19. There is also the app which I previously wrote about and I check in on it daily.

Download the C-19 COVID Symptom Tracker App and self report daily. Help slow the outbreak. Identify those at risk sooner. 

Take 1-minute to self-report daily, even if you are well to help the scientists identify high risk areas in the U.K. who is most at risk, better understanding symptoms linked to underlying health conditions. See how fast the virus is spreading in your area. 

By using this app you’re contributing to advance vital research on COVID-19. The app will be used to study the symptoms of the virus and track how it spreads. 

This research is led by Dr Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and director of TwinsUK a scientific study of 15,000 identical and non-identical twins, which has been running for nearly three decades. 

The COVID Symptom Tracker was designed by doctors and scientists at King’s College London, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospitals working in partnership with ZOE Global Ltd – a HealthPost science company.

They say ‘We take data security very seriously and will handle your data with huge respect. Your data is protected by the European Union’s “General Data Protection Regulation” (GDPR). It will only be used for health research and will not be used for commercial purposes. You can read more about how your data will be used, your rights and the steps we take to ensure it’s protected in our privacy policy or in the FAQ‘ 

You can read more at King’s College LondonBBC NEWS, The Guardian, and The INDEPENDENT

Available from the App Store or Google Play.

A LOVELY INTERVIEW WITH NICHOLA ADAMS AND A NOD TO MY BLOGGING FRIENDS…

Health Ergonomist Nichola Adams, from Inspired Ergonomics very kindly asked me to share my Back Pain and blogging journey on her Blogs and Back Chat Video Series. They specialise in reducing and preventing Back Pain in the Workplace. I have copied you interview below and thank Nichola once again for this opportunity.

My 38-year journey with back pain

(… and how the ‘therapeutic’ writing of blogs, like this one, should be recommended by the NHS for chronic-pain management)

By Barbara McLullich, multi-award-winning UK back-pain blogger

Back in 1983, when I was in my late 20s, I ended up in hospital on traction for a disc bulge. I left hospital no better and with permanent nerve damage to one of my legs. Over the following five years I visited osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists who all tried their best to correct my significant trunk shift.

Eventually I was seen by a neurosurgeon who found I had Spina bifida occulta, disc herniation and canal stenosis and I was advised to have surgery sooner rather than later. The timing could not have been worse as I had just relocated from Cheshire, where all my family lived, to Nottingham for a job move for my husband.

My children were aged four and seven and the recovery was slow and at times extremely difficult, but somehow I got through it. Two years later I started to develop problems with neck pain and, after a myleogram showed serious cord compression and another prolapsed disc, I was rushed in for emergency surgery. I had a two-level fusion in my neck and the pain relief was instant and recovery very quick, but I was never completely without pain.

The following nine years were a haze of good and bad days seeing various people from complimentary therapies to pain consultants. I also ran a couple of my own businesses, but I had to close them both due to my health. I told myself that my businesses had not failed, but that it was my own health that had failed me. It was far from life-threatening, just life-changing.

By the late 90s I was prepared to try anything to help with my pain and I underwent two further spinal surgeries to my neck and lumber spine in a bid to get pain-free. Unfortunately this didn’t do the trick, so I made a conscious decision that I would never have any further surgery.

Pain relief from then on was initially injections until one went badly wrong and nearly killed me. It was quite a while after that incident before I could even put my foot through any hospital door, but eventually I went to see an amazing pain consultant who seemed to take me under his wing and cared for me, treating me with different types of injections, medications and therapies available to me on the NHS.

I kept many a diary over the years and it was reading through them one day that gave me the idea to start writing a blog on my back problem. I think initially it was an escape route where I could go and chat to other people with similar problems. I decided to learn all I could about pain management and I took a home study course and started blogging more regularly. My blog was growing from strength to strength and I started winning awards for it, which for someone who only left school with two GCSEs was quite an achievement.

I started to write a few other blogs and they became part of my everyday life. Being able to write anywhere and at any time fitted in with my pain perfectly. I have made so many friends from all over the world through my blogging. I’ve met people like myself in chronic pain, I’ve tried different products that have helped with pain relief and been introduced to many supportive individuals, like health ergonomist Nichola Adams, to whom I am grateful for this opportunity to share my story.

To me, blogging is like travelling the world without leaving your house. I think it should be included in the NHS list of how to cope with chronic pain. I have found writing my blogs very therapeutic. If anyone reading this would like to follow me, or join in any conversations on my posts, then please head over to my main site https://backpainbloguk.com or my personal website https://barbaramclullich.co.uk as this site also has all my other blog posts on it and they both have links to all my media sites.

Thank you and, whatever journey you are on, whether you’re managing your own back-pain issues or just learning how best to avoid the risk of back injury, at work or at home, I wish you well.

Barbara

SAY A BIG “THANK YOU” TODAY ON INTERNATIONAL #NURSE & MIDWIFE DAY…

There could not be a more fitting tribute to all the #Nurses in the world today on International #Nurse & Midwife Day. A big “Thank You” is what they have asked for and I am sure from the bottom of all our hearts we cannot “Thank You” enough especially during this COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Royal College of Nursing has put this message out for International Nurses and Midwife Day

“Today, we’re saying thank you to nursing staff everywhere for the remarkable contribution they make to the lives of millions of people.

International Nurses’ Day is celebrated around the world each year on 12 May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. This year in particular it’s an extra special occasion because not only does it fall during International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, it also marks the 200th anniversary of Nightingale’s birth.

Ordinarily this would be a time for mass celebration, but as nursing staff across the world stand united in responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic, we must use today to shine a light on the remarkable work all health and care staff are doing for the entire nation.

That’s why we’re asking the public and patients to say thank you to #nursing staff everywhere to show our members and their colleagues how their professionalism is truly appreciated.

You can read Florence Nightingale’s amazing story and legacy on The Royal College of Nursing Website.

They have asked us to share this video https://youtu.be/WJSiIhphvLwo to say thank you to nursing staff using #Nurses Day.

PROZAC, NORTRIPTYLINE & TRAMADOL – POPULAR DRUGS USED FOR CHRONIC PAIN…

One of my previous posts was about my new pain team suggesting that I came of all my pain relieving drugs except paracetamol as I have been on them for many years.

The idea was to see a couple of things (a) was my pain a lot worse without them? and (b) how did I feel mentally without the many side effects of the drugs listed above which I was taking.

My GP however suggested I go straight onto Tramadol hydrochloride/Paracetamol which was a mixture of both Tramadol and Paracetamol but the dosage was much lower than my usual Tramadol.

I had a follow up phone call 6 weeks after the meeting with the pain team which was last week. The team also told me to take Turmeric and we’re convinced some of my symptoms were Vitamin D deficiency so also sent me for a blood test and bone scan to check for Osteoporosis.

The blood test showed I was extremely Vitamin D deficient so I was put onto a large dose of it and told to continue taking it but just a normal dose from the chemist after I had finished the strong course. My bone scan was cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus.

So, for the last eight weeks I’ve taken Vitamin D, Turmeric and the Tramadol hydrochloride/Paracetamol which I’ve not had before and tried to get myself off the rest of my medication except for the paracetamol.

I have managed to get myself completely off the pure Tramadol like my GP suggested and I am now only taking 50mg of the Tramadol hydrochloride/Paracetamol which is a massive drop. I have reduced the Prozac to just three times a week but feel happy taking that small dose. I was unable to drop my NORTRIPTYLINE even by 10 mg as the pain in the night was just too severe and kept me awake. I still take up to 8 paracetamol a day for pain.

In conclusion the answer to question (a) my pain was much worse without my nortriptyline and (b) my head and mental state felt 80% more clearer and I hope to come off the 50mg of the Tramadol hydrochloride/Paracetamol soon. All in all I’m pleased the new pain team suggested this review on all my meds as you just take them without thinking when you are in constant pain and I feel so much better in myself without the side effects from the Tramadol.