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Psychological Effects of Chronic Pain

CrawfordmoraCrawfordmora Posts: 5
edited 04/11/2014 - 6:17 PM in Chronic Pain


  • CrawfordmoraCrawfordmora Posts: 5
    edited 04/11/2014 - 6:23 PM
    Hi everyone,

    My name is Julie and I am new to this site and support groups. I should have looked into this years ago! Anyway, I was injured while working (2008); rear ended on the hwy, while I was stopped to turn. I have had three neck fusions in the past four years; have severe upper back pain, neck pain, severe headaches and migraines, memory issues, balance problems and depression. I have been through every treatment possible, and I've been on some kind of pain med since the accident.
    I don't know about you guys, but I'm angry! I honestly don't know which is worse, the pain or the anger and depression. This accident ruined my life. My employer of 8 years (GOV) asked me to resign after the first surgery, because I was too much of a liability. They paid me less than one year’s pay, and left me with no medical insurance. I applied for SS-Disability in 2012 and since then I have been forced to live off of my daughter’s child support of $500 per month. My mortgage is $860 a month! I have tried to work; twice I have taken jobs, but any work that involves a lot of neck or arm movement will leave me in bed for days with unbearable pain. Somehow I have managed to keep my house so far and just recently got a hearing date for SS in late June.

    When I was 16, I called my mom to tell her I was pregnant. She had already kicked me out two years before that, and no, I was not a bad teen! I never forgot what my mom said to me after I told her. She said "a baby will ruin your life and you will be on welfare till you die." I have held a job ever since, sometimes two jobs. And not just any job, I aimed for the best jobs. My first job was working for the Post Office, then state government and finally local gov.
    Now, I feel like a failure. I want to work; I need to work to feel good about myself. My daughter is the best, thankfully she didn't take after me, and she’s a good teenager. She deserves the best, yet I can't give her anything anymore. Some jerk not paying attention on the highway took that all away. I did enroll in college online, and so far have an AA in criminal justice, but recently switched to psychology. It is helping some.

    I was discharged from the Pain Clinic this week. After having me try everything I already tried; tens, physical therapy, relaxing, blah blah blah, they told me there was nothing else they could do for me. How many times do you have to tell a doctor that you can't take it anymore, until they do something? Instead, they took away my ibuprofen, my Excedrin (which really helped), my Imitrex (migraine med), caffeine (well, they tried) and left me with Vicodin 3x day. Vicodin, after beginning on Morphine and Percocet, they give me a much weaker med and think it will work? I have been on and off pain meds since the accident. Usually it is me who decides to go off of it for a while. I have never had a problem with opioids and don't know what people like so much about it. Yet, doctors treat you like a back alley crack addict. God forbid running out one day early!

    Enough whining. Tell me, does anyone else feel this way? I know I am depressed; I just can't get rid of these feelings of anger. Before the accident, I turned a few heads. Now, 60 lbs. heavier, I don't want to go out in public anymore. I weigh more than I did when I was pregnant and I can't get rid of it. Maybe if I had one day with no pain, no headache and a little energy I could get out and get some exercise.

    Thanks for listening!
    Julie Crawford
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 04/11/2014 - 6:53 PM
    I'm sorry that you are struggling but I am unclear about why you were discharged from pain management? You ran out a day early? Is that what the comment about running out early was referencing? If that is the case, then yes, doctors do discharge patients for being one pill short if called in for a pill count and you don't have what you are supposed to.
    The contracts, are part and parcel of being given pain medications/treatment and we have to abide by the guidelines and rules set forth in them.
    Doctors base what medications they will provide on what we tell them, what the imaging studies and tests tell them, and their examinations of us.
    Who was giving you the medications for migraine? Ibuprofen is an over the counter medication so I am not sure how they can take that from you, but you can still use it over the counter if you found it helpful.
    The thing is that doctors expect that a working pain management program is one that allows the patient to increase their function instead of it worsening.......I included several links for you above to take a look at........
    It might be wise to consider some help in learning to cope with your depression and chronic pain......sometimes, having the support and understanding of someone can allow us to view things a bit differently.
    And a therapist can help you learn some coping mechanisms to help you learn to live within the new parameters of your life now, rather than focusing on what was.

    There are steps during the treatment of pain that involve the use of the least invasive therapies first, followed by more invasive if they fail........even if you have been through them a million times previously, no doctor is required to continue a treatment that you have recieved from any other doctor.....nor to continue you on medications that you may have been on previously.
    The links above are good starting points for you to learn more about the whole process to pain management and might help you when you are ready to get back into another doctor.
  • CrawfordmoraCrawfordmora Posts: 5
    edited 04/11/2014 - 7:06 PM
    Thank you for your reply. I was discharged from pain management because my doctor ran out of ideas. I have never signed a pain med. contract. It just seems to me that those of us who do have real pain, and don't have a problem with addiction are paying the price for those that just want a high and go out and buy these drugs illegally. I was surprised about your comment on "pill counting." That seems very extreme. What the doctors fail to see, is that treating the "real patients" like lying drug addicts who can't be trusted only adds to our issues.
    Thank you for the links, I will definitely check them out.
    Julie Crawford
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 04/11/2014 - 7:11 PM
    tens, anti inflammatory medications, then they are far from through all of the modalities for a comprehensive pain treatment program........
    Be sure to read the step by step link above........it outlines many of the modalities available for a comprehensive pain treatment program.
    The pill counts are part and parcel of any pain contract, meaning that the office can call you in, to bring in your pill bottles for a pill count........and patients are expected to have all of the number of doses in the bottles.

    Chronic Pain Treatment
  • Julie,

    I'm so sorry that things have been so rough for you. I identify with most of your feelings, being treated like a drug addict, feeling angry and hopeless.
    The words that stuck with me the most is that you said I want to work. I need to work to feel good about myself. So much of our identity is wrapped up in what we do. When I had to resign, I was devastated. I haven't applied for disability, but I might have to eventually. I know that it is a long and drawn out process, hang in there.
    Sandi, I did have a question for you about the step by step guide: pain pumps are referred to as the end of the road for pain treatment. I have a pain pump and it's not working. What do you do when you've reached the end of the road?
    2000- spinal fusion, complete spine due to scoliosis
    2012- pain began, started treatment for chronic pain
    2013- install of pain pump, procedures to address complications
    2014-blood patch, spinal fluid leak
  • When your life is suddenly stopped and everything before you were, you're not anymore anger is the second step. I guess you know about the grieving process it goes denial/isolation, anger,bargaining - maybe if we got a second opinion, depression, acceptance, opportunity to do something else.

    Everyone goes through the same steps, maybe at a different pace but we all go through them. I don't see why they won't give you pain killers and muscle relaxants if you have had 3 neck fusions.

    Ask someone to have a look at the ones above and below your fusion. They have to take the increased pressure and with me they found it was the one above causing all my pain.

    I read in a Spine Journal that they know the ones above and below take all the pressure - they think they would tell you that. It might be a tad helpful.

    See if a physiotherapist can feel the alignment and try to put your vertebrae in to the correct mechanical position and tape it there so your muscles don't spasm it out again. It took them 8 years to realise this and I was just lucky someone worked out what had happened and thought outside the box.

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