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.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Pain, stress and depression.

There are obviously close links between pain, stress and depression. It seems like a cycle where any one of these can go on to cause another, and you can start the cycle at any point. I know personally that pain has caused me both stress and depression. Or did stress at work make my pain worse? 

This cycle can then go on to cause other symptoms, lowering your immune system can be one thing.

So as I sit/stand here nursing a sore throat and sinussy headache I am looking at the connections.

Obviously many hormones and chemicals in our body are affected and altered by pain, stress and depression. I am looking at one in particular : cortisol as this directly influences our immune system.  

The hormone cortisol is released when we are stressed. If we are stressed over long periods of time it has a potentially negative affect. It will impair the cells of our immune system. Living with long term/chronic pain will therefore effect your immune system, it will not work at it's full potential. Cortisol also helps regulate our blood sugar, and assists in the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It can also decrease bone formation. It can be seen therefore, that chronic pain and stress are certainly not a good combination.

People with chronic stress have been found to have prolonged healing times and increased susceptibility to bacteria and viruses.

Chronic pain will cause frustration, low mood, anxiety, anger and ultimately stress. The way ones mind works affects how your body will control pain. The resulting stress may cause sleeping problems, more anxiety, frustration and fatigue. It may raise our blood pressure, cause us to eat more, or cause us to eat less. We may become more dependant on our nearest and dearest and reliant on medication. Any additional tension held in the body caused by this stress will result in further pain.

As discussed in my previous blog these things will quite often and understandably, lead to feelings of low mood and depression.

With any kind of pain it is so important to get it treated promptly. You must see someone who will take you seriously and refer you to the correct and appropriate practitioner. If it is allowed to proceed you may well go on a downward spiral of pain, stress, and depression.

Do not take "no" for an answer, it is your body, your life. In my opinion coccydynia is not like other back pain. It seems to be taken even less seriously, and in my opinion back pain in general seems to be notoriously underestimated by many healthcare practitioners.

Seek help.

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