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  • Can chronic pain be caused by just depression?

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    Old 02-14-2008, 05:38 PM   #1
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    Can chronic pain be caused by just depression?

    Hi everyone, before I ask the questions, here are my symptoms: shooting pain in my upper back (this makes my shoulder twitch), burning pain in the lower back that goes down my right leg, stiffness and spasms in my mid back and neck, tremors in my hands, and numb spots down my right leg and foot.

    I have been seeing a neurologist for those symptoms, and he said I had MS. I had tests done, no sign of MS. So when I came to him for followup, he asked me if I was depressed, and I said I was since I've been in bad pain everyday for over a year now! He told me that he thinks it's the depression causing the pain, and I need to see a psychiatrist.

    I am very upset - I cannot believe that this much pain and twitching could be caused by depression. And when this all started, I wasn't even depressed - I had moved to a new department at work with my friends, and things were going really well! I started twitching at work and ended up never going back.

    I've looked up all the info I could about depression and pain, and it all sounds like muscle aches, not like what I have. My family doctor thinks my neurologist tried to make up a diagnosis when he didn't know what was wrong, and told me to never see him again. Can it really be depression causing this?

    Thanks for any advice/information.

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    Old 02-14-2008, 06:29 PM   #2
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    Re: Can chronic pain be caused by just depression?

    First of all welcome to the boards and thank you for asking for advice. Ok, I will answer your question for you. You may be depressed because pretty much anyone is that is is chronic pain. I can tell you that I have depression, well actually bi-polar, but most of the time I am in the depressive state. I had to start on anti-depressant because of the debilitating depression. Your neurologist is an idiot and it is very sad that he told you that "he thought your depression was causing all of this pain". That is the most ludacris diagnosis that I have ever heard of. I am sure everyone else on the board will agree to that one. You may have depression, which is a valid medical disease, but it does not mean that you are crazy. However, depression does tend to make the "perception" of the pain worse. You might have a harder time getting up out of bed and not seeing much of a point in doing so? This is definitely a sign of depression along with sleeping too much, not able to sleep (insomnia), lethargy, no energy, loss of libido, feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, etc. If you are feeling this way, then it would be beneficial to see a psyhciatrist. Think of a psychiatrist as a doctor that specializes in prescribing brain medications. There are many, many others here on the board that take anti-depressant which not only help their depression, but in turn, also helps their pain. Cymbalta is a good anti-depressant that has a dual role of helping with pain as well. I would definitely look into finding a good Pain Management (PM) doctor. They specialize in treating people that have chronic pain and sometimes are the only ones that will prescribe higher doses of narcotic medications. I am sorry you have chronic pain but hopefully you will better knowing that you are not crazy, this pain is not all in your head, and there are many, many people on this message board that can be used for support. I hope that helps to comfort you and see things in a differt light.


    Old 02-14-2008, 08:42 PM   #3
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    Re: Can chronic pain be caused by just depression?

    Thank you for your response, I was so worried that it was all in my head! I talked to another doctor I'd seen before and left because she didn't know what was wrong with me, and she said it's not depression, there is something wrong but they just can't figure it out yet.

    I guess I'm going to be searching for another neurologist again.

    Old 02-14-2008, 08:59 PM   #4
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    Re: Can chronic pain be caused by just depression?

    Have you gotten a full blood panel etc done. I only ask because my son has a twitch. No pain related though. It started when he was 9 years old. I just noticed it one day. His dr. sent us to a Neurologist. The Neurologist did a Brain MRI and EEG. Luckily all negative. Then he did a full blood screening. It turned out my son had sky high strep antibodies. He apparently had strep that was untreated. It attacked his spinal column and caused the twitch. Never heard of it before. Some call it PANDAS. They called it Rheumatic Fever. He has been on Penicillin for 4 years so far. He may need until he is 21. They have no clue. There is no case to follow. He has to have his heart checked every year. The Penicillin is only to prevent him from getting strep again because it could go to his heart. So your twitch could be related to other things then pain. Just something to think about. I'm sure your Neurologist probably thought of things already. You don't realize how things are related. My son my have the twitch the rest of his life now. They are not sure. He has to take Fluphe****ne which is a heavy duty drug. He only takes 5mg which controls the twitch. That med is only for cosmetic reasons. Just so other kids do not tease him. It will never cure the twitch. Just sharing.

    Old 02-15-2008, 01:12 AM   #5
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    Fiona_Jo HB UserFiona_Jo HB UserFiona_Jo HB UserFiona_Jo HB UserFiona_Jo HB UserFiona_Jo HB User
    Re: Can chronic pain be caused by just depression?


    I'm so sorry about what you're going through. It's difficult enough to be faced with chronic pain, but not getting the answers you need has to add to your frustration.

    I know for me the depression definitely followed the pain - not the other way around. Of course chronic pain brings on depression -how can a person live daily with pain and not feel a strong level of depression. I know I live daily with the feeling that I'm not the productive woman I once was, the guilt that I'm not the wife and mother I once was and the feeling of loss of having to give about a career I adored.

    I would definitely recommend seeking another specialist, because it almost sounds like your current specialist is being dismissive to your needs and you deserve someone that will be working FOR you and WITH you to find answers. You deserve a specialist that will focus on your needs and diagnosis, who will develop an action plan that assist you in your quest for answers and pain management.

    You are my thoughts. Please keep us posted.

    ~ Fiona
    080807-Cervical-Stim~071707-ACDF-C5-C7 w/instrumentation/bone graft~'07/06 Lumber instrum. removed 05/04-Fusion(DDD/Collapsed Disc L5-S1)08/99-Microdisectomy(Herniated Disc) ~Lupus/EDS,Migraine

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