The connection between emotional status and increasing pain

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Monty's Mom
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Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 664
   Posted 3/8/2011 12:02 PM (GMT -6)   
I am stuck again with little activity after a short time of increased mobility. After the last surgery I tried to drive short distances and walk outside more because it appeared that my fainting issues were lessened. They came back full force. That is just part of adhesive disease and endometriosis I guess. Plus, my kidney stones are caused by most of the foods I have to eat for my bowel diet. If I stop the bowel diet, I risk bowel obstruction and surgery. If I stay on the whole foods diet, I will continue to get kidney stones repeatedly. I have at least 2 right now and they are trying to pass. It never ends.

So my light bulb went on today when I realized that how I feel about myself directly affects the increase in pain. I always knew that it was related, but the extent of it was just past my notice. It creates a vicious cycle, just like pain does. The pain goes up, I feel so bad about myself, etc, it makes the pain worse simply because I can't focus on anything except the pain. Pushing through things makes this cycle worse because when you are done with what ever was accomplished, I can't enjoy it as a job well done. I just belittle myself for how much it hurts afterward. Duh! Where have I been for the last 2 years, right?

Outlook has so much to do with how I deal with my pain. There are many times that the pain doesn't seem so overwhelming and difficult, then for a time it becomes overwhelming and impossible to overcome.

So does anyone else struggle with this cycle also? What do you do to overcome it, or change your outlook to positive? Do you ever find yourself pushing through activities only to suffer later both physically and emotionally? Am I the only one struggling with my self-esteem and seeing myself as worthless at times?

Hope it is a good day for all. You are all in my prayers.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 1276
   Posted 3/8/2011 11:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Mindy - and *hugs* to you.

I agree with this 100% I know so well that when I'm stressed or miserable my pain is worse - then I am more miserable because I'm hurting - and the cycle continues. I am terrible for pushing myself too far also - and I fall into a bit of a depressive mood because I hate my body for letting me down. It reminds me of how much I can no longer do, I get more miserable - and sure enough, up goes the pain. Stress for me is a particular issue because CRPS is influenced by the sympathetic nervous system so the other elements of the disease - the circulatory changes, the oedema, etc. - also get a lot worse when I'm stressed.

I only get through with the help of a couple of good friends - there are three of us, all with CRPS, who get together on MSN messenger every night. We talk through our day, everything that has gone well, everything that hasn't gone well. They are my sisters and my best friends, and talking things through with them always helps to put life back into perspective and helps me to get a handle on things again.


Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 230
   Posted 3/9/2011 12:44 AM (GMT -6)   
I know exactly what you mean, oh, how painfully true your words are. The viscious circle that is my life. The downs seem to out number the ups. I'll push through someone, be momentarily pleased with myself, and then the pain sets in and everything comes crashing down.
More and more lately life has crashed on me. I can't see anything positive, I'm tired of hurting, I'm starting to sleep alot in the day time, I can not fathom a future like this ... the list goes on and on. What am I doing about it? I'm talking to my doctor Monday about anti-depressants so I can wage warfare on my emotions. I can't live like this anymore or I'll find myself in a very dark place.
There was a time in my life when I would have buried myself in my work, but now I can't. The old "labor of love" or "loving my labor", however you want to look at it, is gone. I can remember going outside and getting lost in the simple act of pulling weeds and cleaning the yard. Between oodles of foul weather the last few weeks and no longer having the ability to pull weeds without putting myself in dibilitating pain, I don't have many options. IT's gotten to the point where I don't know what to do anymore except seek professional help.
Admittedly I'm hiding this from my family lately; if they knew how depressed I was they may only try to smother me with attention, which isn't what I want. Also I don't have the greatest track record ... I had some issues in my early teens, and as a result when my depression hits a certain level my family starts to watch me like a hawk for /other/ warning signs. Those days are behind me. At least I'd like to think they are. It's hard some times though to see the light at the end of the tunnel, given every time I think it's a light it turns out to be a bloody train. All I can do is dry my tears at night and hold myself and know that tomorrow is a brand new day.
Originally injured 10/26/2007 - Initial diagnosis; Tendonitis
Spent next year seeing specialist after specialist; Bone, Muscle, Hand, Neurologist, Chriopractor, Physical Therapist...
Went through a battery of tests, multiple MRI's
11/16/09 I was finally diagnosed CRPS - Stage 2
Permanently disabled, on Percoset.
February 2011 successful SCSU trial
No surgeon willing to do my SCSU Implant

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 62
   Posted 3/9/2011 5:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Well I can relate too. I am a "Debbie" downer by nature. I know that is not good but I guess at least I admit it. I know that when I have a negative view it makes it that much harder to get through the days. Even the small happy things in life can help one have a better life and on the bad days it helps to have those memories. I remember my pain doc saying on the bad days do the best you can and on the better days do the most you can. For me having small goals to accomplish help me feel better about myself. Also positive self talk. All is easier said then done but one day at a time

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 215
   Posted 3/9/2011 1:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Sometimes when I'm depressed, it seems my pain isn't as bad. Its when I'm more active and in a better mode that I seem to be more in tune to the pain my body is feeling.

Then again, I'm not exactly the average person, hehe. I think every responds to pain differently. There is a biological and chemical response in our bodies to pain, but just like the chemicals in medication effect each of us differently, so do the chemical reactions in pain.
MRI revealed disc bulge and test injections revealed RA. Radio Freq procedures have decreased the severity of pain by about 1/3rd. currently on 75 mgs of Nucynta (tapentadol) 3 time per day. Works as well as 10 mgs of hydrocodone, less addictive, no tylenol, but schedule II. Also take Alieve OFTEN, much better than Ibu.

Mrs. Dani
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2787
   Posted 3/10/2011 12:46 AM (GMT -6)   
 Dear Mindy,
   It is good to hear from you. I had noticed you have not posted much and I hope it means you are recovering. I see now that your body, just does not want to cooperate. What you describe is something that we have all struggled with at one point or another. You asked very specific questions though so I will try hard to answer them.
So does anyone else struggle with this cycle also?
     I used to. I had to see a pain psychologist right away. Remember I was 27 when it all began, I am 30 now. So to fully grasp that I was no longer "me" and that I had to create the new "me" took a lot of work. I was very young and I just kept thinking," By God, I am 27! I CAN push through this.." The bad part of course is that my body pushed back and I found out how little I really had control over.
 What do you do to overcome it, or change your outlook to positive?
     Like I said above. Therapy. A very long time. I still have evaluations. After care and support group plays a pivotal role as well. Also, I am very content most of the time. I really am. I hear often "How do you stay so positive?" I often ask the obvious "about what?" "Why not be positive?" It always seems that the ones asking those questions are looking at my medical problems, my limitations and my... not so good outlook for a year or even two years in the future. I really don't think of it that way too often. For instance when a friend asked me the other day.. I was very happy with the warm sun and the gentle breeze. I love early morning coffee. So the question caught me off guard as I was happy in that moment. I am happy in the moments. I just don't think about the future too often. There is nothing I can do about it. Pondering the future doesn't help. Thinking about the pain doesn't help. Besides when I do reach my level 9 I pass out and vomit anyway. Then I am just grateful for a glass of water... Do you get what I am saying? I live in the now, the here, the present. I occasionally ponder the future here with all of you... but I rarely think of it on my own.
 Do you ever find yourself pushing through activities only to suffer later both physically and emotionally?
     In the beginning I did. Now I do as much as I possibly can. Then I keep attacking my goal until it is done. Some goals take a while and require quite a few breaks. Others take days and excess naps. I'm Im like the goat that keep challenging the ram.  I know I will reach my goal one way or the other. As long as I keep at it, it will come in time.
Am I the only one struggling with my self-esteem and seeing myself as worthless at times?
     I don't think I am worthless. On the contrary.... I think of myself as rather useful. Okay, so I am not high powered accountant anymore. As I have adapted my life and who I am, I found I was very useful in many many other things.
Now.. self esteem. I need to get a recent photo of myself. I will make it a point to do so so that everyone can see what I look like. My right hip is rotated out toward the rear of my body and rotated up towards my ribs. My chest is pushed out, likewise my shoulder blade sticks out and my collar bone is uneven. It is plainly obvious I am a spinal deformity. I might as well have a huge sign over my head. Now everything else though is perfectly manicured. Hair, nails, skin, clothing, social skills, lifestyle.... I just happen to have curves. By God if I am going to look like this I am going to make darn sure I look great and feel great on the inside. I go out of my way to look good even for myself when I will only be home all day. You have to enjoy yourself and the way you look / feel while you are alone, before you can exude that around others.
     I really hope you are doing okay tonight. I hope you are able to get plenty of rest.

Pain Linked to Emotions

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood

Chronic Pain Moderator

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 62
   Posted 3/10/2011 6:52 AM (GMT -6)   
You know the worthless issue in the pain clinic I went to they had us try to develop interests or learn how to do things we enjoyed before the condition now but in a different way. I remember this man he was an artist but could not draw because of his condition and they taught him plus gave him motivation to attempt to do it again. Even if he was not as good as before it was still a success to even attempt to do it.

Monty's Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 664
   Posted 3/10/2011 8:59 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you all for responding. Dani, thank you for the link also.

I guess that is where I am stuck sometimes. Just not done mourning the woman I lost some days. There are other days that I celebrate the good changes, like having time to make prayer shawls, being home for the boys and here to take care of them.

Dani, you said about not looking to the future. I need to practice that, living in the moment. I worry about my fiance and boys, about how I can continue to care for them and what is in store for my future husband. It will all work out whether I worry or not.

Thank you all for your support. Between the surgery, the returned pain, new kidney stones, and some emotional changes I have undertaken things are a mess. The only thing that is going well right now is family, here at home, and here at HW. Without support of others here and the understanding of my sons, fiance and friends, life would be unbearable. The loneliness is terrible when you have no one to understand or turn to.

Thank you all. When I feel better, I hope to post more. You are all in my prayers.

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. George Bernard Shaw

Pelvic adhesive disease, Irritable bowel syndrome, SI joint pain, arthritis, kidney stones, depression, 7 pelvic surgeries for pain, ovarian cysts, adhesions. Fentanyl patch, Vicodin, remeron, trazodone, dicyclomine, Miralax, Colace, Multivitamin
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