DEALING WITH DEPRESSION WITH CHRONIC PAIN …

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.

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COPING WITH A FLARE UP OF PAIN…

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I was enjoying the best pain free period I have had for years and years after my first taste of facet joint injections.

I could count on both hands the amount of comments from friends who said how well I looked. Everyone of them saying how my eyes looked bright and clear.

I guess hoping it would last longer than a couple of weeks was a big ask as when the pain came back it came back with a vengence.

It seemed to me to be twice as bad but in retrospect I think my mind was playing games with me after being pain free for a few weeks.

Nature has such a clever way of making you forget pain.

My flare up happened a week before we were due to go away for a couple of weeks to some warm sunshine so I was convinced it would soon settle down.

How wrong I was. Instead it has been harder to cope with being away from home. I would never let it spoil my holiday but it has given me time to evaluate and realise how organised you should be when you go away in case of a flare-up.

Personally I would recommend that you always make sure you have some of your own personal comforts with you whenever I go away. By personal comforts I mean, heat pads, pillow, and extra medication.

Being prepared for flare-ups is the key to control your pain. I never leave for a break that is longer than a couple of days without my own pillow, heat pad, lumber cushion and a special corset for my back. I once forgot some of my pain medication when I was going on a cruise and the only thing the Doctor on board the ship could offer me was liquid Tramadol. I was terrified I would od on it so hardly used it but I learnt my lesson and always double check I have enough plus more in case of an emergency.

Chronic pain sufferers enjoy a holiday just like the average Jo Blogs but we just have to put a bit more effort into creating a safety net around us should the need arise.

Of course taking your Kindle (or similar) is also beneficial as it stops you from feeling alone. You can write it down like I am doing or go and check out the many pain websites. My top two being Chronic Illness Bloggers and Fibro Bloggers. You can soon find someone who is suffering just like you are.

FACET JOINT INJECTIONS FOR LOWER BACK #PAIN…

injection

Facet Joint injections for lower back pain are given under xray in the outpatients department at hospital. It is an injection into the small linking joints of your spine, the facet joints.

It’s not a cure for the cause of the pain but it is used to help reduce the level of your pain.

 The injection contains a mixture of local anaesthetic and steroid. It is thought to have the following beneficial effects:

  • Local anaesthetics numb the nerves for a period of hours giving short-term relief.
  • Local steroid has a long-term effect reducing inflammation in the joint and around the nerves.

There are only minimal effects on the rest of the body using local steroids by this route of administration. Any side effects, are more likely to occur if steroids are given orally over a short period of time, for example raised blood pressure and weight gain.Diabetics may experience short-term problems. Several joints may be injected in the same session. 

If the Facet Joint injection is helpful it may be repeated at intervals of a minimum of four months.

My first set of Facet Joint injections are booked for this Thursday after my MRI showed signs of arthritis in the facet joints. Hopefully this will help me cut down on my medication for a while.

anatomy-spine

HOW TO FIND OUT IF YOU HAVE FACET JOINT SYNDROME IN YOUR SPINE…

This job isn't always easy

Facet joint syndrome is something I have never come across before until I was told by my pain consultants secretary that my consultant had reviewed my latest MRI and had requested me to go in hospital for some facet joint injections.

Basically, Facet joint syndrome is pain at the joint between two vertebrae in your spine. Another term for facet joint syndrome is osteoarthritis. The facet joints are the joints in your spine that make your back flexible and enable you to bend and twist.

According to Spine Health the symptoms may closely imitate those of a herniated disc a deep infection, a fracture, or a torn muscle of the spine, or in the low back, sometimes an acute intra-abdominal problem.

My pain consultant’s initial thought to my recent onset of pain was that maybe my prolapsed disc was pressing on a nerve, however this does not seem to be the case.

I read that the best way to find out if it definitely is facet joint syndrome is to have the facet joint injections and if they help instantly then you know it is face joint syndrome. You can then have the injections regularly every four months.

injection

The injection contains a mixture of local anaesthetic and steroid. It is thought to have the following beneficial effects:

  • Local anaesthetics numb the nerves for a period of hours giving short-term relief.
  • Local steroid has a long-term effect reducing inflammation in the joint and around the nerves.

There are only minimal effects on the rest of the body using local steroids by this route of administration. Any side effects, are more likely to occur if steroids are given orally over a short period of time, for example raised blood pressure and weight gain.Diabetics may experience short-term problems.

I am waiting for my appointment to come through and will write a follow up post after the treatment.

 

 

HEALTH AND HAPPINESS BOOSTERS…

band at the races

HEALTH AND HAPPINESS BOOSTERS…

When you get home from work put your posh frock on to cook the dinner.

Talk to your friends, or have them over for tea!

Give yourself a long weekend once a month by saving your holidays for it.

Read a book in a day.

Why? Because if you take care of yourself you will be more able to take care of those around you.