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Questions relating to lack of energy, depression due to chronic pain.

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Chronic Pain
I feel tired so often. I know it must be the pain I am feeling on a daily basis and I never feel like I've rested well. I wake up several times in the night. I've also not really felt like a healthy person mentally. Often times very emotional and sensitive (overly). I don't feel like socializing or going out to do activities. I'd rather stay in.

I have had two car accidents since 1990. Both gave me sideways whiplash injuries. Over the years, I've seen chiropractors, physios and osteos to help with keeping my pain under control..but I have pain nearly daily and the level of pain ranges between a 6 - 10 on a scale of 1-10. I'm tired of this.

I've spoken to my doctor who has given me a slip to have an xray of my back done. I've not had an xray for years. I'm not sure what this will do except perhaps be a stepping stone to see a back specialist. (Btw, I live in Holland and am not 100% sure yet how to go about getting help.)

I have been given prescriptions for diazepam and diclofenacnatrium (50mg)..which do not really help 100% but lessen my pain. I work full-time at a desk job. I'm thinking that perhaps I will have to take stronger prescribed pain meds..but my question is, is there a med that can stop pain AND allow me to work? Do pain meds make you feel more depressed?

Any insight appreciated. I shouldn't have waited to long to seek help but I've been trying to be a martyr against my pain. It's not working for me anymore. I need help.


  • :) hi! :H one of the possible side effects of diazepam is depression. :''( on the other hand, it is very likely that pain causes us to have depression. ~X( which is it? whichever it is, many times an anti-depressant can be a big help. this is something you might want to talk to your doctor about. with the medications available today there is no need for you to be a martyr. you can more than likely get pain relief with the appropriate medications. this relief might just help with your depression. so you have two options already. trying anti-depressants or getting adequate pain meds. one or the other or both may help with your energy levels. more than likely your energy levels will increase once you are feeling better mentally and not suffering so much physically!! good luck and i hope you are feeling better soon!! Jenny :)
  • welcome to the forum =D> all your instinct are right on about pain, sleep, depression cycles. Not being a doctor I can't say what is from where, but having been injured from whiplash car crash since 2004, I do know that the issues are real, and life altering. I lost my job...was let go because the injury was work related, but even so would not have been able to take meds to handle the pain and be a safe driver. My job did entail driving to see customers. Also, the meds I was taking and still trying to work would cause me to fall asleep at my desk, which wouldn't have made me a good employee in anyones eyes.
    I hope there is treatment for you, just remember you may have to see many specialists until you have found the right one.
    Much good luck to you, and this is a great place to have found..much support and info here.

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  • Welcome!

    I'm sorry to hear that you are going through this, but please know that you are not alone. Over the many years that I have lived with chronic pain, I've seen so many stories of people who have suffered a long time because they have not been given the courtesy and dignity that a person with chronic pain deserves. Most general doctors and even many specialists just don't know enough about what causes chronic pain, or worse, how to treat it.

    It sounds as though your doctor has started in the right direction, by ordering some tests to see what is causing your pain. The next logical step would be to see a specialist, as you mentioned. I know it can be a long process, and not always a pleasant one, but if there is help out there, it's worth the effort.

    And please don't feel guilty for putting it off. You are just like many of the rest of us, in that regard. None of us wants to live like this and I think we all go through a bit of denial, hoping that it will just go away, if we ignore it. Then we get to the point where reality sets in, and we find that we have to finally do something about it.

    I'm not sure how the medical system works over there, but it sounds like your doctor is taking the usual steps. As far as the feelings of depression go, it is so much more common than most people realize, to have some level of depression when you live with pain every day. Have you seen a therapist or psychiatrist? I know, for me, it was a step that I finally had to take, and I have never regretted it.

    As far as pain meds go, opiates/opioids are natural depressants. And so are many of the other meds used to treat pain, such as muscle relaxers, anti-anxiety or anti-convulsant meds. There are many new combination anti-depressant/anti-anxiety meds on the market now, that battle fatigue along with the psych benefits. But a family physician may not know the best ones for each patient's individual needs. A mental health professional has quite a bit more knowledge in that area.

    I'm obviously not a doctor, and I don't know if any of this helps, but I wanted to wish you the best of luck in your pursuit of a healthier you and also let you know that there are many who can relate to what you are going through. Take care of yourself and keep posting here. The folks here are great! Be well, Mitzi
  • also depresses me and makes me over sensitive. That would be my guess of your problem. You will probably need testing and a recent diagnosis in order to see if your pain is disc or nerve related. Once that is decided, there are lots of meds that you can take that will leave you functional. Good luck and please keep us posted.
  • What a wonderful community you all have here! Thanks for so many thoughtful responses.

    Oversensitive! That is me 100%. Everything affects me deeply. I used to be able to let a lot more roll off of my back (no pun intended) but with the progressing years (I'm now 39) I seem to be worsening in this regard. I get edgy and impatient. I have no focus and often feel apathetic.

    As for therapy for depression..I've taken anti-depressants and they did help..however, they totally killed my libido. I know it's a side effect and I have to choose what to live with, either big emotion swings or no sex life.

    I've sought out an English-speaking psychiatrist, but I live in a village in the south of Holland and there just aren't any! The Dutch are good English speakers but there are none of them in my area that are in the psych profession. I sure could use that additional tool! But it's not available.

    Once again, thank you to all who responded. Great group and your words have already helped quite a bit! >:D<
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  • My doctor can't tell me what came first depression or the chronic pain. I know when I first started getting headaches and being anxious and tired I thought something was wrong with me seriously. I would fear the worst with my over active imagination. It took many test to relieve me of most of my fears, and of course psyche medication.
    My depression got really bad when I started taking medication for my headaches and spasms, staying up super late freaking out if I was taking them too close together etc. So there I wasn't getting a lot of sleep, which made things worse. I didn't feel like doing anything, I was in a lot of pain and I didn't know why. I was losing weight cause I couldn't eat, and I went to the ER twice because of the head pain.
    Finally the doc put me on antidepressants and anti anxiety meds and after a few weeks I felt more functional, but I still didn't know where the pain was coming from.
    My neuro was saying I was so tense it was tensing up the nerves under my scalp and he thought I had a cervical strain.
    I started seeing a psychologist and really couldn't figure out why my whole left side hurt but nothing else, as no mood stuff ever did that before.
    Finally I got a c spine x ray, mri's , emg and eeg test and found out I had two ruptured cervical disc along with cervical osteoarthritis, bone spurs, impingement, stenosis. All mild to moderate but it was causing arm, shoulder, head pain etc. So I've gone through different medications and I think I'm steady on the ones I'm on now. Although I do want to be able to get off the psyche drugs soon. They are very expensive and sucking up my limited pharmacy insurance...And I just want to be able to function with pain and not get depressed.
  • Interesting history there. I think that the two can feed on each other. That is certain. I know that if I worry about things, that my whole body tenses up and then things really go downhill. I try to meditate and find some time to be still during the day, if I can.

    I really want to get a pain killer that will help because I'm sitting at my desk right now with terrible pain and wishing I could be laying flat. I don't want to be a zombie. But yeah...something has to work, right? Now to find my form to give me permission for Xray.
  • It seems with me that the cycle just goes 'round and 'round. For awhile, after injections kick in, my pain is less, my happiness is more, I'm more at peace and more of myself-as much as I can be anyway. Then comes the increase in pain, increase in fatigue, decrease in ability to sleep, and big time depression. And the absolute worst time for me is this time of year...from about end of October until spring. When the weather breaks, the leaves begin to come back on the trees, the flowers begin to bloom, the grass gets green, all that stuff-then even if I'm in a bad pain time, the depression becomes less. My "bad times" in the spring/summer seasons don't last as long and don't seem to get quite as severe even if the pain does, but in the late fall and winter, they're both almost always pretty bad. It's an endless cycle is chronic pain with depression. It has cost me a man that I loved very much and hoped would be my husband, it has cost me friends that I used to go out with, it has cost me the career I'd dreamed of all my life and really, it's cost me..ME! I'm struggling to get to know the new me and learn to love her, but most of the time I have Faith and that Faith helps me to believe that one day the old me and the new me will mesh together to make a perfect blend of what I used to be and what I am. Love will come and go, a new career will come and replace the old one in that corner of my heart, a new procedure or medicine or something will come along and enable me to be more "normal", and already new friends have come along to fill part of the void left by the ones that maybe can't grasp the me of now and of the future.

    I just have to believe this to be true as I've left it all in the Lords hands through prayer-now THAT is the struggle...and even tho when I'm in the deepest, darkest periods of this cycle, I somehow know that when I come out of it, it will be because of Him, and that some way, some how He will bring me the acceptance, determination and will to not only figure out how to live this new life of mine, but also to embrace it, learn from it and love it.

    He will do that for you too-for all of us...we just have to believe it (and remind ourselves of that when we're having difficulty doing just that).

    Take care of yourself and try to keep that chin up, OK? One day at a time my friend...one day at a time...

    Gentle Hugs
  • chronic pain usually does make people depressed. i know it makes me depressed. especially since i lost two relationships due to my lack of being able to do things that normal people can do.
    i went to a great pain therapist and he started to work on self-esteem issues related to chronic pain patients. the first thing he asked me was: do you feel that people who have chronic pain are worthless?
    i said no, of course not.
    he said, well, why do you think you're worthless because you suffer from chronic pain?

    i also find that i'm very sensitive to my environment and also get hurt easily by non-compassionate people. i feel like a burden.

    as for pain medications, i actually did best on opiates when i was being treated by a doctor who made me feel not guilty about it. but ever since he dropped me, after i moved and returned, i have been feeling like a criminal.

    if you have to take narcotics to be functional, there is nothing wrong with it. i think it depends on your community.

    i just happened to have moved back to my city--near las vegas--when a big crack down on pain mgt. doctors was going on. it's very frustrating, but i can see why. these 'clinics' have 5 - 6 locations. so the dea is cracking down on them just when i returned.

    i have to keep telling myself to be kind to myself and that things will be okay. it's hard to live with chronic pain. i'm a much more compassionate person than i was 11 years ago, though, i have a lot of grief in me and sadness.

    i do know that the chronic pain/depression is a vicious cycle. the depression -- as well as anxiety -- both cause our bodies to release certain chemicals that actually increase pain. so the longer someone has pain and the more depressed that person is, the worse the pain will be.

    i'm not saying that it's all in our heads. but i do know for myself--and from the great therapist i had--that my pain levels go sky high when i'm anxious or depressed.

    i don't have an answer. i can't take ssri's as they make me halucinate. i don't want any more drugs anyway.

    i'm going to start saying affirmations and just forcing myself to get off this downward spiral. i'm starting to stand up for myself. it's really hard to do, but i'm even trying to force my lips to curve upwards--i haven't smiled since my fiance dumped me in a very traumatic way.

    smiling is said to release good endorphins into the brain and endorphins lessen pain.

    i'm also looking into herbs. when i had the money, i went to an acupuncturist 3 x a week and the stress relief was so awesome that i looked like a different woman in the mirror.

    i look at myself now and i hardly recognize myself, even though i doubt i could have changed that much in 3 months since my fiance dumped me because he couldn't handle my pain. lol and i had told him over and over to think about it prior to moving. ah well. don't want to go there.

    it's a battle. that's what these boards are for, though.

    we all need to keep each others' morales up. technology keeps getting better so we have to be hopeful. at least i do.
    (and i am so depressed that i've given myself a year. i do not want to die so i am going to work as hard as i can. i spent 6 years functioning on meds, but i never got to the root of the problem and i should have done this earlier, but it's hard to motivate yourself when in pain. now i just want to live and i want to get fixed. even though my fiance dumped me, i felt how it was to be loved again, for the first time in 11 years, and i want that. i deserve some love even though i'm a little broken. we all do.
  • Hi! I read your post and skipped the replies quickly just to answer your question with my own answers:

    "is there a med that can stop pain AND allow me to work? Do pain meds make you feel more depressed?"

    Yes, there are several great pain meds you can take that are 'mildly strong', but will actually not affect your work day or your quality of life in any huge way. Also, pain meds do not in any way by definition or typical action make you feel more depressed.

    If feeling down/tired/depressed is your main concern, talking to a psychiatrist might bring up some great options, and maybe a simple antidepressant or something which might be all you need.

    As far as thinking you need a stronger pain med, you are quite possibly right, we know our own bodies the best right? I would maybe revise your pain scale however; consider a '10' to be the worst pain you have ever felt, or the pain you would feel if you had just been shot or snapped your leg in two; if it's really that bad, then it's a 10, if not, then it's less. My doctor has sort of a rule that if you are able to even tell him your pain is a 10, then it's not really a 10; at 10 you'd be screaming, or pass out. Another thing, the pain/depression is sort of a vicious cycle/circle as well; the pain makes the depression worse, and the depression can make the pain worse. Once you get one of them, the other will be much easier to remedy.

    Other than that, good luck! You will no doubt receive great support and ideas from other members on this board who are very caring and helpful.


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