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Help - How to Deal with a Spouse w/Back Pain/Depression

hubbyhhubby Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in New Member Introductions

My wife has a herniated disk at L5 and had a failed surgery two years ago. She suffers from back pain and depression. She constantly says, "you don't know what i'm going through" which certainly I don't. However, dealing with her constant irritability, helplessness and hopelessness, is taking a tremendous toll on our family (three kids). she is on Vicodin, prozac, gabapentin, ambien, and clonazipam. She says she needs to get rid of the pain and then the depression will go away, but she was depressed before the back pain. Please help with any advice on how to help her get out of this vicious cycle of self pity and hopelessness. Thanks


  • Maybe if she goes to her Primary Dr. your wife can get a referral to a Counsellor she could talk to. Her Family Dr. may also help with medications if the Dr. feels it will help. I personally benefitted from Cymbalta which helps nerve pain as well as my depression. I think my husband is going through a lot dealing with my injury also but it helped for my Pain Management Dr. to talk with him and gave him some answers to what I'm dealing with. It's nice of you to be looking for help for your wife. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I very rarely speak of this here or anywhere.

    My marriage has totally changed since my injury.

    So I will share with you what I would like to see happen in my marriage and hopefully that will give you some help/support as well :)

    First let me say that it is great that you are here posting. That shows me you are trying to understand this all better and you are making an effort to help your wife.

    Second - if she was depressed before her injury, this sure is not helping it.

    I would ask you - is she aware she was depressed before the injury? Is she willing to get help dealing with the depression from a medical professional?

    When I got injured I too was depressed. I felt like my life had been taken away from me. I was also in such great levels of pain, I honestly did think that NO ONE could possibly understand what I was going through. ( that was before I found this forum ) When someone would say to me "I understand". Inside I was thinking very nasty things lol ;)

    I honestly think that when a injury that changes your life and/or involves a high level of pain ( which changes your life ) counseling should be sought out for both spouses, together and apart.

    My spouse is very very angry about my injury - 6 yrs later he remains angry and unadjusted and not willing to go to counseling.

    I share this with you to only point out that without help this could only get worse.

    With you have children in the picture really adds to the whole dynamics of the situation.

    Is there anything she use to enjoy that she can still do? If so I would suggest you encourage her to start the activity again.

    Are you and the children her whole world? Does other family members offer support to her?

    Do you 2 get to go out to eat, see a movie etc etc.?

    Is her pain controled? Do you feel she is getting the correct/needed medical help for her injury?

    Please do stick around here. Many of our posts are about LIFE and how we are finding new ways to live our new normal. Hopefully you will find ideas and support here that will help your family >:D<

    PS: Keep checking back here at this thread, as over time I am sure other people will add to it..

    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • as a pain suffer myself {15 years} and without employment and on my second wife !.i feel qualified to talk on this one ..your wife understandable will feel depressed because constant pain sucks the life out of you .i was an out going happy slim fit person but now its all i can do to get through the day .people talk about accepting your position and once she had done that life should be more bearable .all you can do is be there for her and just bite your lip if she gets out of hand .the last thing a person in pain want is to fall out with the person he/she loves and let me tel you we feel very vulnerable too .my sex life has gone {i am only in my early 40s} and my work life is no more .believe me it take a lot of courage to get out of bed and get showered most days .your wife may feel inadequate and hopeless and that too will p155 her off .like you say it is a vicious cycle and i am sorry to tell you you may never brake it .what you must do it adapt to it .its not easy .some things to make life better.make sure she is on the correct pain killers.make sure you have a comfy bed and a comfy recliner for her .the less pain she feels the more she will feel like a human again .she may not want to go out any more {meals /cinema etc] so maybe make some nice food at home and rent a good film?? life changes when you are in pain and no one can feel any ones pain .but the reason why this site is so good is we are all in pain and we understand each others problem ..more so than doctors and others that deal with pain {they are only other people} and they cant understand out pain .if we had a cast on out leg or some other visible sign others could sympathise and maybe understand a but better but when others cant SEE anything ..they find it hard to understand ..and even doubt our credibility .i sometimes go swimming and sometimes use a cane ..when i do people hold the door open and even ask i am OK but when i just limp in no one holds door open and no one talk to me i also have a disabled badge for my car and again..when i pull in a disabled space and get out of my car with a cane ..no problem .BUT i have encountered verbal problems when people see me in a disabled space without any disabled props...because i look fit and without illness {thank god!]some think i am faking.trust me ..i am not ..i hope that you and your wife can adapt to her health problems .its not going to be easy but if you love her stick with her and support her as much as you can
  • All I can add is to be there for her.Its hard but she worth it.You might want to go with her to her next meeting with her Pm DR. And talk to him about SCS therape.And see if that might help her controll the pain. I will pray for you and her. Don't let anyone tell you that your not a good husband. I can tell you are or you wouldn't be here to find help for her

  • and personally I have found being able to share my problems and to meet other people who are dealing with the same things to be the one thing that has really helped.
    I suggest you introduce her to this forum and encourage her to share her story/frustrations here. If she is able to vent and see she is not alone she may feel less isolated.
    When you are in constant pain you tend to withdraw from family and friends, you become extremely isolated and you connect with people less and less because all you can think or talk about is your pain.
    I really feel here is the best place for her to share. I by no means mean she shouldn't seek professional help for her depression, this is more of an in addition to kind of thing.
    She is extremely lucky to have you. I bet your having a hard time not being able to fix it, my hubby struggles with this. He is now depressed because of my injury and how it's affected our lives. So in all this mess don't forget to look after yourself mentally and physically.
    Take care
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    The best thing that happened for me was a pain psychologist. Try to get her to go. And he, she, will get your wife going. He, she may want to see the whole family, or just the two of you maybe. But she needs to go herself first.
    The next thing that helped me the most was this site.You should read all the different forums that would pertain to her. You sound like you want to understand and this would help tremendously. Then, introduce her to this site, so she can see there are many, many others, just like her! Ask her to "log on" and maybe make friends that can help her.
    It sounds like she really needs to start somewhere. And it sounds like your willing to start with her.
    So what are you waiting for! Get started!
    Good luck, Jim :? =D>
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • It has only been one day and already many of you have responded to my call for help. I can't tell you how much it means to me. Thank you all so much.
  • Hello,
    No we thank you, we would be unable to endure this plight without some support from a loved one, it can be done better together and you will have the biggest impact of how to influence the future for you both.

    Pain impact on all members of the family as you try to be supportive and find the right words to say that are appropriate and relevant to improving, having someone on you side is the best we can hope for. Carer take on this dual role and increased responsibility without any acknowledgement at time, the life they have has been swept aside under the chronic pain umbrella and it is hard to know what to say or do at times.

    Depression is a periodic visitor to chronic pain and for some longer than other; once our future becomes questioned who would not get depressed and not many go though this experience with some depressive episode, it is unavoidable. My doctor said depression will pass, it take some time to get ill and equal time to get better, the important thing is what to do next, I was the last person to know I was depressed, it accumulated over time and grew.

    Do you have any idea why she was depressed before the pain and has she seen her doctor, would she go with you, one would expect constant pain not to help the situation, and the most important and urgent may be the depression itself.

    I had three young children and without the support and care of my beautiful wife none of this survival would have been possible and I owe her everything for who I am now.

    What is your name ?

    Take care and good luck.



  • I know what you wife is going thru. Last year I injured my back at work and after months of conservative treatment finally had surgery on a herniated disc. It's been 10 months now and I still have some pain.

    This pain has certainly affected my lifestyle in a number of ways. Thankfully I have an understanding wife although sometimes she gets a littke tired of my complaining and having to do the hard physical chores like shovrling snow.

    Although I'm off prescription pain killers I still take several over the counter pain pills everyday.
    I have spent a lot of time researching back pain and how to recover from surgery, eliminate pain and live again.

    It is important to stay positive and look at the alternative treatment methods. Getting off the meds is important. I have found that proper exercise, even walking helps. I have keep up a regular exercise program and have lost some weight. I do feel that I am getting stronger everyday. The body does heal itself if we let it.

    Good Luck and God Bless Coach Pete edited by Tamtam advertisements not allowed
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