Nurse who suffers chronic tailbone pain

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I am a Registered Nurse who has suffered with tailbone pain for over 8 years. Like all chronic pain, it is essential that sufferers get the correct support, diagnosis and treatment appropriate for them as an individual. This blog follows my journey with chronic pain, it expresses my personal opinions and thoughts. It is not intended as a replacement for advice or treatment from your normal Healthcare Provider.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

chronic pain and depression

I'm feeling a bit stupid really.

Reasons- Being medical and yet (a) not identifying the close link between depression and chronic pain and (b) that I am quite likely depressed, as pointed out by my Occupational Health Nurse.

I have been reading about the link today. Pain obviously creates an emotional response in everyone, albeit that the response may vary considerably. It can cause irritability and anxiety. Once the pain goes away, so should these feelings. However, obviously chronic pain by it's very definition, does not just go away, so these feelings stay and often intensify.

Depression and chronic pain apparently share some of the same neurotransmitters and nerve pathways. Chronic pain causes changes in the hormones in your brain. It will make you less able to deal with stressful situations. As neurochemical changes take place, your bodies response to pain increases, you become oversensitive to pain. It becomes a vicious circle as ongoing pain makes you less able to cope with day to day situations, imbalances continue and quite often everything will seem to spiral out of control.

Pain = depression = worse pain = worse depression.

Obviously the symptoms of depression vary greatly between different people. I can now recognise that I am extremely tearful (often for no good reason), I  am moody and irritable. I have found myself getting angry at some really little things, I am also lacking in confidence and my self-esteem is at an all time low. All of these things have directly impacted on my home life and my work.

The occupational health nurse has suggested antidepressants, but I am very reluctant to take these. I do not want to feel worse (which I understand can happen), and I do not want any unwanted side effects.

For some reason taking antidepressants would feel like I will have failed. Even though I can now see that antidepressants work directly on the brain to reduce the perception of pain.

My GP is phoning me tomorrow anyway as I have to get my sick note again. The occupational health nurse wants me to ask about I may just ask and see what my GP thinks.

Tonight will be weird as I have my work Christmas party. I really don't know how people will be with me. After all I am off sick and yet socialising. Whether they will see that going out for a couple of hours and (hopefully) relaxing is completely different to being at work I shall soon find out! Obviously my feelings of low self esteem and paranoia are not going to do me any favours. I must try and  manage not to cry again!!

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