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Old 09-16-2009, 07:26 PM   #1
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Chronic pain, sleep problms, cognitive dysfunction, depression

I had pain from progressive degenerative spinal disease. I've lived with on and off discomfort for about 20 years but advil or asprin and rest or exercise made it perfectly livable. It was never fun but time takes its toll.

It went to Chronic Pain after a bad fall which caused server nerve entrapment in June 2006. It lead to off work rest, non-surgical treatments, finally back surgery, more therapies, more chronic pain and continuing spinal problems, more pain and as well as an unwise return to work. I loved my profession, my work was thinking critically followed by analysis, sometimes writing new software, writing reports, giving presentations of my work and making my customers happy. Three patents and quite a few journal papers were kind of icing on the cake.

By the time I had been in pain for a year even with Vicodin and Gabapentin, I began to notice that I was forgetting things at work that I had known for years. Technical things needed for my work. I was having very disturbed sleep patterns and I was not enjoying anything. My primary care physician gave me Lexapro (10 then 20 mg) and Ambien CR. Neither worked even a little and certainly not as the commercials suggested. I was not aware that I was making really unwise life decisions (like not asking to be taken off work by my doctor or not asking for other kinds of help) and decisions about my work (leading to unhappy customers). After two months of this downward spiral I reached a non-functional state, I could not get out the door to go to work that day. I finally became aware there was something very wrong that was out of my control. I was scared out of my wits and called my company's EAP for help, which I was given. Meds were changed to Cymbalta and Lunesta and I got my first four good night's of sleep in over two months. My pain and depression was still making me unfit to work but the sleep lifted some of the fog. I then spent a lot of time either in treatment or in therapy or depressed at home in a ball on the couch not working. Most nights, the pain made me want to go to sleep so I could magically wake the next day out of pain and feeling great. That never happened.

In August 2008, I finally had responded sufficiently to my treatment and therapy to where I wanted and was able to take an active part in my treatment through reading and study. If I couldn't do anything else, at least I could read and learn.

I'm still climbing out of the depression. I am still in chronic pain and taking pain medication, Gabapentin and Cymbalta. But, I feel as if I am starting to swim a little bit faster than the speed of the current I'm swimming against.

Reading a lot of studies, internet articles and texts on chronic pain, sleep problems, cognitive losses, drugs. clinical depression and related articles and texts on the human nervous system and general human biology has helped put what I am going through into some perspective, but a few ME TOOs or WOW, THAT WAS A LITTLE LIKE WHAT HAPPENED TO MEs would really help cement my current self-understanding and make me feel a little less like Tom Hanks alone on the island without his friend WILSON.

Question: Anyone else had chronic pain maybe with sleep problems, maybe with cognitive dysfunction as I described or different and maybe even with clinical depression ?

If anyone feels like posting anything, I will appreciate it.

 
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:46 AM   #2
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Re: Chronic pain, sleep problms, cognitive dysfunction, depression

Quote:
Originally Posted by opticsguy View Post
Most nights, the pain made me want to go to sleep so I could magically wake the next day out of pain and feeling great. That never happened.
I'm still climbing out of the depression. I am still in chronic pain and taking pain medication, Gabapentin and Cymbalta.
Question: Anyone else had chronic pain maybe with sleep problems, maybe with cognitive dysfunction as I described or different and maybe even with clinical depression ?
Hello opticsguy. Sory to hear about your situation. I sufffer from chronic neck pain. It never goes away. I also have sleeping problems. If lunestra helped you than you should keep taking it. WHat's the situation with you now?

I have insonmia(so they call it)but I call it inability to fall asleep cause of chronic pain. In another words, Chronic Pain can cause insomnia.

I don't let myself being depressed. Yes I'm SAD. but I won't let myself being depressed. My doctors tried to tell me I suffer from anxiety and depression and not chronic pain and I proved them wrong. I really suffer from chronic pain just like you. It's physical and it's REAL.

Looks like gabapentin and cymbalta are NOT enough for you for pain relief. Try adding to it muscle relaxant and if that doesn't help add to it percocet, percocet is a little bit stronger than vicodin.

Once you don't feel so much pain you won't be so depressed.
I can understand you are depressed cause of the PAIN. Pain is no friend you know.

What's your MRI findings?.

Last edited by nochange; 09-17-2009 at 12:51 AM.

 
Old 09-17-2009, 08:24 AM   #3
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Re: Chronic pain, sleep problms, cognitive dysfunction, depression

I understand totally about wanting to be able to work again but that may not be possible for me unless surgery can help me at all. Even then once the pain becomes chronic I am not sure if there is any going back. I haven't heard anyone say they are no longer in pain. Though they would not need to come here if that was the case. Pain effects every part of my life and I would also love to learn more about why, but no one has answered me that question. It is hard to get a doctor to explain much. I hope things don't get to much worse for you and you can find the right medication to help you cope. I struggle to stabilise my medication but have still not found the right mix as yet. I have changed to patches and then back again but I know there are other things to try. It is a matter of finding a good doctor that understands your plight and is willing to try other options. I have seen several and still feel that I am not being treated effectively. I also have trouble with sleep so it seems to come along with pain and depression. Hope to read more from you. Allan

 
Old 09-22-2009, 02:59 AM   #4
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Re: Chronic pain, sleep problms, cognitive dysfunction, depression

I have sleep issues from chronic pain. At first we tried Ambien but even the extended release don't last very long.

I have had much better results from Lunesta3mg and Elavil 25mg. The Lunesta gets me to sleep and the Elavil helps keep me asleep. I have never seemed to build up a tolerance to the Lunesta. It seems to work each day like the previous. Only drawback is that I wake each day with a bit of a hangover, a real crappy feeling but I think this is more caused by sleeping too longand the Oxy wearing off. If I set my alarm for 7 hours I wake fairly refreshed. So I would suggest trying Lunesta.

All the narcotics slow motor function and therefore cognitive and memory skills. I have less of those problems I think than most because my primary beverage is coffee (and it actually make the pain meds work better as the caffiene opens the blood vessels). This however doesn't to my insomnia although I can drink 3 cups in the evening and still fall asleep with 30 minutes after taking the Lunesta (I read each night in bed which helps make a steady, predictable routine).

Depression, I think, comes with chronic pain. I take Wellbutrin 300mg at night and it helps.

Good luck!

 
Old 10-19-2011, 08:16 AM   #5
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Re: Chronic pain, sleep problms, cognitive dysfunction, depression

I'm soooo tired of being in pain or zoned out from the drugs. I ended up getting a fusion of L4 L5 S1 in 09 after trying to deal with pain from and 06 injury. I started to pass out from the pain and I wanted/needed to work. Well the fusion was ea "success" according to the surgeon. Except for the fact that I'm in constant pain. Went to see a pain Doc and i went through the series of 3 injection which none could get through the fused area. Pain Doc said I had significant scaring which he thought was the main reason for the pain now. He gave me some information about a spinal cord stimulator implant. I get such anxiety just thinking about doing that. I went for a psych evaluation...waiting on that report before i go back to the pain Doc. I swim just about every day for a good two hours. It's the only time in my day where I can get close to pain free.
Back to the depression......It is especially crushing todayits raining and just a dreary day. I had major depression for years before the back issues and had come off of Zoloft. I get so frustrated and sometimes really ****** off about how things with the back surgery have turned out. I had the surgery so i could work. well, I can't work! Workmans comp is dragging things out so finances have been an issue too. And to top it all off.....i was a stay at home mom for the 24 yrs i was married and only worked a few part time jobs during the marriage so i dont qualify for disability becasue i dont have enough work time. Sooo I have to reopen my divorce and have alimony adjusted. But at $350 an hour for a lawyer I have to wait till the workmans comp case it settled. I live alone and do what i can. I've said no so many times to friends about going places that they have stopped asking and calling. I cant blame them...guess i'm a real downer to be around. Thanks for letting me vent.
Denice

 
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Old 10-19-2011, 12:42 PM   #6
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Re: Chronic pain, sleep problms, cognitive dysfunction, depression

denice-

The weather is really hard on pain isn't it? You might have better luck getting some responses if you start a new thread. This one is from Sept. 09,and alot of these folks are no longer active in this part of the boards. Pleae keep posting, we have a good group of folks here!

good luck and I hope you feel better!

 
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