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.


Depression is quite common with people suffering from chronic pain. I mean who wouldn’t feel a bit low when trying to cope with constant pain but there is help out there to deal with this type of depression. Research shows that some of these antidepressants may help with some kinds of long-lasting pain.

Web MD state that Doctors don’t know exactly why antidepressants help with pain. They may affect chemicals in your spinal cord — you may hear them called neurotransmitters — that send pain signals to your brain. 

It’s important to note that antidepressantsdon’t work on pain right away. It can be a week or so before you feel any better. In fact, you may not get their full effect for several weeks.

After my second spinal surgery I was put on a very low dose of an antidepressant which I took over a period of 20+years. I am still on this antidepressant ( Prozac) even though over the many years I haven taken it there have been numerous articles on the pros and cons of taking it for so long. In fact, only last year the Professor of Medicine whom I call my Medicine Man who I see on a regular basis, suggested that maybe I should stop taking it.

I started with reducing it to one every other day and had no ill effects except that I wasn’t feeling as perky as I usually am. I put it down to the fact that at that time last year I ways constantly going back and forth to stay at my Dads so that I could go and be with him in hospital. He was in three months and my sister and I would do three week shifts of going in for most of the day over a period of three weeks then coming home for a rest. Sadly Dad passed away in hospital by which stage I had already started increasing my drug to nearly what I had been on before as I had an even bigger reason for feeling low.

On the NHS website they say that even though a type of antidepressant called tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) weren’t originally designed to be painkillers, there’s evidence to suggest they’re effective in treating chronic (long-term) nerve pain in some people.

Chronic nerve pain, also known as neuropathic pain, is caused by nerve damage or other problems with the nerves, and is often unresponsive to regular painkillers, such as paracetamol.

Amitriptyline is a TCA that’s usually used to treat neuropathic pain. I also take this for my neuropathic pain and it also helps me to sleep better.

We are all different and try to deal with chronic pain, stress and even loss in different ways but for me personally I felt this one little pill I took every morning worked for me. When I went back for my review with my Medicine Man I told him what I had been through and said I felt for me personally it was one drug I would like to continue taking indefinitely if he felt that was safe. He said that every single person will have different views and reactions to different types of antidepressants but if I had found one that I truly felt helped me ‘feel good’ every day no matter what I was going through then he was happy for me to take it indefinitely.

I know there are lots and lots of alternative things to try for any type of depression from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to Group Therapy and much more but I do feel that some people are nervous of taking medication on a long term basis but if that works for you, then why not.

Try everything that is available to you and when you find something that works for you then stick with it even it is taking a daily dose of medication. Feeling low and depressed is awful and most people in chronic pain must feel that at some stage but life really is to short to feel that way on a daily basis so why not try something just for you to help you feel better on the outside even if the pain on the inside is still there.

Some great websites and organisations that can help with chronic pain and depression are Away With Pain.

BLB Solicitors have a long list with links to UK support and help with depression from pain. The NHS also has details on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in the UK and how to find a therapist.


Depression and anxiety impact bodily symptoms differently in patients with fibromyalgia, according to a study from the University of Iowa

This, they say, may explain why multidisciplinary treatments that include psychological interventions for fibromyalgia are effective only for a subset of patients, researchers said, suggesting that treatment should be tailored to the individual symptoms a patient is experiencing. More research is then needed to assess if such a tailored approach is beneficial for fibromyalgia patients.

The study reporting the findings, was published in the Journal of Health Psychology.

Fibromyalgia News Today continued to say that researchers recruited 191 women with a fibromyalgia diagnosis. The majority of the patients, 65 percent, had been ill for more than five years.

Half of the study participants reported they were affected by depression or anxiety. This subgroup was made up of 24 percent who had high levels of both depression and anxiety; 17 percent who reported high levels of anxiety without high levels of depression; and 9 percent who said they were depressed but did not experience anxiety.

In addition to examining the levels of depression and anxiety, the research team measured fatigue, the presence of sleep disturbance, pain catastrophizing (exaggeration), fear of movement, and pain severity using validated tools.

Data showed that pain catastrophizing, fear of pain, and pain severity were linked with both anxiety and depression and that both independently impacted pain and pain-related symptoms. The effect was, however, not addictive.

This was a surprise to the team members, who thought that anxiety and depression — when present together — would have an amplifying effect to cause even more severe symptoms.

Fatigue and sleep problems, on the other hand, appeared to be impacted only by depression. Although some studies suggest that sleep problems may trigger depression in fibromyalgia patients, there may be other explanations for this association.

Researchers said that it also is possible that common mechanisms — such as central nervous system sensitization or inflammation — may give rise to both sleep problems and depression, in addition to fibromyalgia.

The observations made the team suggest that current multidisciplinary treatments with psychological interventions may be more effective for patients with low levels of anxiety and depression and that more tailored approaches are needed for patients with higher levels of depression/anxiety.

“These results suggest the possible benefit of tailored targeted treatments for symptom management in persons with fibromyalgia. The differences identified in fatigue and sleep quality in relation to depression versus anxiety provide direction for such targeted clinical interventions,” the researchers wrote.

Future studies should now focus on evaluating if interventions, targeted for fibromyalgia patients with various levels of depression and anxiety, are more effective than current approaches.

Brian Barr Solicitors wrote People with fibromyalgia often experience lower levels of hormones, such as serotonin, which is linked to feelings of low mood. As a result, they can experience severe depression alongside their illness.

When life is a daily battle against distressing health issues, unhappiness is a normal reaction. Depression, however, surpasses sadness. Depression can leave sufferers feeling overwhelmed by despair, making fibromyalgia even more difficult to deal with.

Depression is common with all types of long-term pain, however, there is a recognised link between depression and the acute pain of fibromyalgia. Doctors know that the stress of living with unending throbbing or stabbing pain, as well as relentless fatigue, can put a person into what is termed “overload”.

Evidence indicates that the prevalence of major depression in people with chronic pain is three to four times greater than in the general population. Some people with fibromyalgia and long-term pain may be aware they are depressed. Others may not be sure. Nevertheless, they know something is wrong.

People who are depressed commonly experience some, or all, of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of interest in nearly all activities
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Lack of energy and overwhelming tiredness
  • Feelings of guilt, hopelessness or irritability
  • A sense of worthlessness
  • Uncontrollable tearfulness or anger

These thoughts, physical changes and feelings interfere dramatically with daily life. In severe cases, depression with long-term pain can lead to thoughts of death or suicide.

Medication can be prescribed to help ease these distressing symptoms. Antidepressants commonly used to treat depression have also been shown to be helpful in easing some fibromyalgia symptoms, as they boost the levels of certain chemicals that carry messages to and from the brain, also known as neurotransmitters.

Low levels of neurotransmitters may be a factor in fibromyalgia, and it is believed that increasing their levels may ease the widespread pain associated with the condition.

A recent landmark study published in The Lancet found that antidepressants are effective and more people should be taking them. Researchers from Oxford University analysed data from 522 separate trials involving 116,000 patients suffering from moderate to severe depression. Each of the 21 medicines tested performed better than a placebo, some with greater results than others.

Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“Taking antidepressants is frequently portrayed as a negative thing or something done only when other therapies are not available or have failed. This research should reassure patients who are taking or contemplating commencing antidepressants, and the doctors that prescribe them, that they are an effective treatment.”

The top five performing antidepressants – % better than placebo (and a number of NHS prescriptions in 2016) are named in the report as:

  1. Amitriptyline, 113% (12.9m) – best known under the brand name Elavil.
  2. Mirtazapine, 89% (7.5m) – best known under the brand Remeron.
  3. Duloxetine, 85% (1.8m) – best known under the brand name Cymbalta, also used to treat fibromyalgia.
  4. Venlafaxine, 78% (3.9m) – best known under the brand name Effexor.
  5. Paroxetine, 75% (1.4m) – best known under the brand name Seroxat.

The overwhelmingly positive news to come out of the report is that depression can be managed successfully. The most important first step is to openly discuss any symptoms you have with your GP.


A programme for the stressed and depressed that is a bit different from the norm is ‘thearrigoprogramme.com’, which takes place in Glastonbury. Fiona says ‘,Life is about experience. When you understand that, the story changes’.

From day sessions to weekends away, the ultimate 30 day programme where you stay in your own tiny cottage where you have all your treatments from foot soaks, acupuncture, healing, massage and body harmony psychotherapy. Each client is treated with compassion, dignity and integrity that creates a space of safety and allows for a deep letting go into restfulness and trust.

The owner Fiona Arrigo, sustained a very bad car crash which left her with multiple injuries,which meant a long and painful recovery. She then went through divorce and depression and then embarked on her journey to heal herself, learning yoga and alternative treatments to overcome physical pain, as well as training as a psychotherapist.