Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Depression Before & After Surgery

mrleemmrlee Posts: 67
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:21 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
:( I have been treated for mild depression for past 18 years or so basically because of insomnia. I found out three years ago I had chronic sleep apnea and now use a CPAP machine to sleep with at night
Several weeks before having a double fusion on L3,L4,L5, &S1 I started to have mild teary-eye problems. I felt like crying out of nowhere. My family physcian started me on Cymbaltal and Lorexepine. I took this while in hospital and continue now 7 weeks later. I thought I was getting better, but I guess I was wrong. It seems to be more likely during afternoon and evening hours. (Out of Nowhere and without cause). There is one thing I noticed (only 2 times) is that if I have a sudden spasm or ache across my back I start wanting to tear up and cry.
CAN Anyone Help or add to my problem? Any input will be greatly appreciated.

By the way, I'm 54 yrs old and have a Dr's appointment tomorrow.


  • I also have the "mid-afternoon weepies" and there is nothing wrong with them. We earned them. Mine was a 2 level L4-S1 fusion and believe me there have been more than enough times of the weeping. Magazine article, TV show, chapter in a book - it doesn't matter.

    I wasn't on any medication recently - like just before the surgery, but have taken some in the past. Right now I am just going with the flow. I do know that come Aug 25 I have to do better at not getting them until after school is out - and then I can blame it on the bad little kids in my In-School Suspension room.

    Don't let it unduly alarm you, let it clean out your eyes and keep reminding yourself that everyone here does understand. We have been in your place at one time or another. If it starts to really get to you - log on - someone is always here. I found that out when I had them at 2 in the morning.

    PM me is you want to talk private. I will be here. >:D<
  • My home nurse told me that chronic pain just does things to our bodies and she suggested I talk to my Dr. about a 3 mo. course of anti-depressants. Just a short course to get me through all this.

    She also suggested something to help me sleep. Sleep is such a big issue with chronic pain, lack of sleep due to constant pain and not good sleep because of pain.

    I don't know how your apnea would effect anything, but do consider that you just need a few months, maybe up to 6 of something to just get you through to the other side - the upside, the finally healing side of life - and good luck.
  • Ive been on cymbalta for over a year now for depression. Actually started around the same time I started suffering big time from back and neck pain. I use to cry for no reason. It was awful. Even if I was out somewhere I could hardly control it. When I was in the hospital for my lumbar fusion in June they had to use a CPAP machine on me as I kept forgetting to breath and they had to come in and wake me up. They told me I should be tested for sleep apnea but I havent yet as I'm trying to get my back healed a little first. I haved trouble sleeping and usually dont fall asleep until 4 or 5 am. I have been prescribed sleeping pills but they make me feel like crap the next day.

    Christina :)
  • Hi,
    Diagnosed w/sleep apnea b-4 the pain therapy (which didn't work). That CPAP is probably handy but, cumbersome & didn't stay with it.
    On Ambien & get some sleep - not that groggy in mornings.
    Judy I)
  • :SS
    I'm 67 and was very active "outdoors" person b-4 this worsening debilitating sciatic/back pain. Don't cry a lot but, am impatient & easily frustrated by simple stuff. Seems bending is part of everyday life. Also, live on side of a hill (in mtns) where there isn't flat land to talk walks on.It's like - wish this day'd be over soon, normal?
  • I have been off work since May this year and am awaiting a micro discectomy op, my frst major op and petrified. Having problems sleeping and the pain killers Im on even though they are good for the pain they make me very drowsy and spaced out. I too have started crying recently, my friends keep telling me to take it easy as sometimes they think I overdo it which brings on the pain etc, but like I said siting around or lying down is just so depressing, I realised Im going to have to give in sooner or later as I am steadily getting worse, Ive just started to go numb on my left bum cheek and starting to lose sensation in my groin area. But I do know there will be light at the end of the tunnell,

    PM me if you want to chat xx
  • Hi mrlee. I was on on several anti-depressants before and after my first surgery. A couple worked for awhile, one worked not at all, and one made depression worse. Have never been on either that you are taking now. As others have said, chronic pain and depression for some of us go hand in hand. I have resisted the urge to get back on an anti-depressant this time, and just have my crying jags quite regularly. I am accepting them as a part of my life at this point, as I am going thru meneopause also.
    Hang in there, hopefully things will get better with time. Good luck!
  • Mrlee, I totally understand. Really do. I cried a lot after my PLIF, not only from the physical pain, but for the emotional upheaval--fusion surgery is very hard on your body & your mind will react to that in ways you don't expect.

    I am a "cryer" anyway, very tender-hearted, etc...so I just "went" with it & after about 3 months, I began to just feel better over-all and the episodes decreased. Had they not, tho, I certainly would have sought some help, so keep your doc informed, as there are many treatments (both meds & others) you can try.

    An RN told me, also, that the stress of surgery depletes your serotonin levels (the "feel-good" enzymes you naturally produce to help you feel happy, etc.) These levels drop after surgery as your body struggles to repair the wound, etc....I noticed an increase in my crying at about 7 weeks (just about where you are) but then my body must have "kicked-up" its natural serotonin production again & by 3 months (as I said) I began to notice an improvement.

    I still have my "days"...especailly if I dwell too much on all I've endured & had "done" to me...but again, I don't fight it (but don't wallow in it either) and it soon passes, like a summer storm.

    Keep an eye on it...weep away, but if you see no improvement in a month or so, talk to someone who can help. But I agree w/ Malaw--we EARNED this! Few people understand what we go thru & yet we survive, etc. And yes, it always hit me hardest in the afternoon/early PM's---RN said b/c that's when you're getting tired & when you get tired, your defenses drop & your emotions come out.

    Keep that Kleenex handy, & as the ad says "Let it out!" Tears also help remove toxins from your system...so weep away! We're all here for you! :)

  • :''( Me too! Especially after surgery - I was a mess. The fact that you feel all alone (even when spouse or friends are there) does not help. I found I was extra wound up when I was on the steriods too. image:)" alt=">:)" height="20" />

    Knowing that I had people to talk to here helped me a lot. :)
  • I have also sufferred from depression even before my back and neck troubles,but I didn't realize that our serotonin levels are affected after surgery. Makes sense though,I've been taking Zoloft,and it does take the edge off. I thought my added depression after my surgery ( 2 level alif May 08 )was just because I was lonely. I try to control my weepy times, but they just keep coming! I usually take a shower if I feel one coming on, because my 5 year old gets confused about what's going on. Right now I can tell her it's just my allergies babe, and she buys it. So anyway, thanks for the input....It's going to be a beautiful day here in Northern Nevada, I think I'll go enjoy it! You do the same wherever you are.
  • Thanks so much for responding. I have added you to my buddy list and would like to correspond soon.
    Saw my Dr. this morning. Said it was normal. Said I should stay on the Cymbalta because of the neuropathic aid it renders.
    Also, changed my o.5 Lorezephine to 1.o mg 3 times a day. Said this should work and also help with my Essential Tremors.
    I will keep in touch and let you know how it works.
  • June 24,2008 was the same day of my surgery, PLIF double fusion L3,L4,L5,S1. This is my first week of a 6-week rehab.

    I was diagnosed 3 years ago for Sleep Apnea. The opening in back of throat is narrow. During sleep studies, that Dr. said my mind was spinning wide open. The brain was working so hard to get me oxyogen into lungs. That is when I went onto a CPAP maching with a setting of 13. (15 is the highest).

    I next started taking Lunesta for sleep. Seemed to work most of the time. Last night had a bad night, could not sleep at all. Did too much rehab homework.

    Did you read the above reply I made. I have been on Cymbalta for approx. 7 weeks and am changing from 0.5mg to 1.0 mg of Lorezephine every 8 hours x3. Ask your Dr about this & CPAP,
  • For some reason I am having trouble with simple things - like paying my bills. Just don't have the energy to sit down and do it. Could use a nap though. I am trying to wean myself off some of the pain bills. Even though my OS and my PCP are not trying to limit me, I know I need to start coming down - only 2 1/2 weeks until school starts and I will have some on the first day (esp. boys who forgot to get a haircut).

    I had a bad late afternoon yesterday AND the computer ate everything I typed. so I finally just said to H%^&&* with it and went to bed. Hope it does better today.

    Evidently the long term pain stuff is gone because I am now feeling the muscles that got moved around more. I put an old back brace on while I sorted laundry. I do remember why I didn't like wearing it, but it will keep me from bending or twisting, so when I have to do something I will put it on. My surgeon doesn't do braces.

    I am having some serious worry about the heart problem that came up during this surgery. My PCP says that there is blood inside the pericardium - on the back side of my heart. Sure hope the cardiologist says it is an easy fix, but still get more than a little concerned. While my PCP wants to blame it on this surgery, he admits it could have been there a while.

    I try not to dwell on it, but for some reason it keeps coming back. Must run and check washer.

    I will be here later. Bye
  • Cranky, I too had some emotional reactions to injectable my steroids...the "blues" and sometimes "hyper"--not a good combo! (I had 10 injections b4 my fusion, trying to stop the pain, etc. They never helped; indeed, they made things worse & also made me feel weird.)

    I too was surprised about the drop in serotonin, but when she explained the "why" to me, it made perfect sense. Your body, post-surgery, is using only the essentials to repair the wound, etc....serotonin is a "luxury" enzyme, not needed for actual wound healing, etc. But man!! I felt so low/down/depleted--and I'm usually so happy (in spite of all this back junk!) so it really had me concerned.

    If they would only TELL us these things ahead of time! I understand why they don't, b/c everyone is different, blah blah, blah---but some of these "after effects" are so common it certainly would be doing us a service to just say "You'll probably feel a bit blue for awhile afterwards--it's normal & here's why..." etc. That way we could weep & not worry so much!

    Sagehen, crying in the shower is standard practice! :) Something about the warm water, the soothing feeling on our battered bodies, etc....and the loneliness of the recovery (even w/ others around) is so true as well! And Glenda, you are correct: chronic pain & depression DO appear together, esp chronic back pain (they have studies on this) b/c it just limits you so...

    Well, this seems to be a topic that "hit a nerve" (sorry!) & I'm finding it comforting to know I'm not alone either!
    As Cranky said, knowing we have people here to talk to & share w/ helps tremendously!

    Keep going w/ the feelings! Emotions are energy in motion--it's meant to be released! So weep away! :H

  • Thanks to all who responded. You all have made my day somewhat better. I will add all of you suffers with back pain, depression and sleep disorders to my prayer list!

    Better go, here comes another crying spell. :''(
  • Hi there, wanted to respond. I just had spinal fusion surgery for scoliosis about 7 weeks ago. Am home now & am out of hospital & rehab. I am feeling the depression & have been put on Effexor & Prozac.

    I know the biggest cause for me, is being at home alone during the day & in a brace & the lack of movement. I'm used to working full time & my husband does work full time & my daughter is soon in school.
  • Well, today I talked with Dr's nurse about ongoing depression.
    I told her to tell dr that I was going to stop taking the 1.0mg
    Lorazapam 3x day. She will notify Dr. tomorrow about subject of still crying spells, that I am stopping Lorazpam and will continue to take Cymbalata 60 mg. Will let all know what drug comes recommended next or if another visit to Dr. is needed.
  • hello
    I just read your last post and you might want to taper the Lorazapam doses especially if you have been taking it for a bit. Frankly the nurse you spoke with should have advised against cold turkey stopping that med. 3mg a day is not a "cold turkey" for a med classified as a "benzo".

    If you like just started taking it you might be ok & that's why the nurse didn't bring it up but if not I would definitely call the doc asap especially if you are already having withdrawel symptoms....

    I also can relate to this post it's a long lonely journey & reading everyone's input is so helpful. Hope your day is a good one!
    Take Care
  • Hi Mrlee,

    Given everything that you have been and are still going through, it's not surprising that you are having weepy moments! You are doing the right thing going to the doctor to try and get this sorted, so often people decide to ignore this and try to just battle through it alone. Some days it literally takes nothing to set me off, so you're certainly not alone! But it's better to let it out than to bottle it all up.

    I hope things get better for you soon. Take care and hang in there, Spicey :)
  • I received a phone call this morning from my Dr's office. He has made me an appointment with a psychologist this coming Friday. He is aware that I did stop taking the Lorazpam, but that may be too early to tell.
    Anyway, I will keep you informed

    HOPE YOUR days are getting better.

    P.S. I don't think a psychologits can write prescritions. I thank they have to have your Dr. or a Psychriatist to write.
  • Yep, I was taking Zoloft before my surgery, this was as much due to the pressure of workers comp getting me to look for work that didn't exist as the pain/numbness. And I felt useless.
    Coming up to my surgery the I wanted to stop the zoloft as W/C decided to put me on the backburner for a while but my loval Dr insisted that I stay on a maintenance dose till after the surgery and told me to increase it if I felt I needed to.
    Well I was fine till week 2 and in rehab and I am sure the physios would cringe when they saw me coming as I so often cried during my sessions, this never ending stream of tears. I did increase for a month or so but have again gone back to lowest dose and will talk to my doc next visit about stopping.

    But I am so glad the Dr had the sense to keep me on them for the surgery.

Sign In or Register to comment.