Chronic Pain and Bi-polar- related?

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fireflyhillary
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 148
   Posted 2/20/2012 9:26 AM (GMT -6)   
So my husband told me tonight that he read that people with bi- polar suffer with chronic pain? Has anyone heard this? He proceeded to tell me that these people exaggerate their pain but don't know they are doing it. I guess the neurotransmitters for both conditions are in the same place as each other, so the brain can't distinguish between the two. I just don't know what to think about this. The thought that I am exaggerating my pain ticks me off as I would never do that. And why wouldn't any of my Dr's mention this to me? All of my Dr's know I suffer from chronic pain and being bi-polar, so if they exaggerate each other wouldn't one of them tell me this? What do you think about this? Have you heard this before?
eyes
Current: DDD L4-S1, Arthritis L4-S1, Facet Syndrome, Interstitial Cystitis, Vulvodynia, Restless Leg Syndrome, Bi-polar, IBS, Fibromyalgia, PTSD. In past 6 months have had epidurals, facet blocks and radiofrequency ablation.
Past: Endometriosis, Adenomyosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. 3 laparoscopies, 2 cystoscopies, total hysterectomy, appendix & gallbladder removal.

Snowbunny21
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Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3557
   Posted 2/20/2012 9:56 AM (GMT -6)   
Where did your husband read this? On the internet?

No offense to him...but he is not a Dr. treating you...so I would not give much attention or thought to something he or anyone reads online.

If you are worried about anything...bring it up with your Dr. at your next visit.

The only correlation that I know of is with chronic pain and mild depression...In that go hand in hand many times....And that can cause a cycle....Living with chronic pain changes our life which can then have situational depression set in.

But that is just a normal occurrence when we are feeling very happy and absolutely absorbed in something we completely enjoy....we tend to rate our pain less. When we are having a terrible day...filled with sadness or stress....we "feel" our pain more.

So...your husband may be confusing this with what he is reading.

This is different from actually being diagnosed with Bi-polar which you have.

It's certainly important for your Dr. who is treating your pain to be working with your Dr. who treats your Bi-polar...so that you can learn tools along with taking medication that you need to try and stay at the middle as often as you can.

This goes back to all of us learning what triggers more pain and finding ways to deal with it...

But to say that you deliberately "exaggerate" your pain...or it somehow is not real....that is absurd...

Has your husband come with you to any Dr. appts? This is very helpful to have them understand and hear things straight from the Dr. on your conditions and exactly how real they all are...

Again...don't let him get to you by his ignorance on this subject...And I use this word in the true dictionary explanation, not as an insult....It means.."not having knowledge or awareness on an issue".
SB and "the pup who snores loudly" 
 
ACDF C5-C7, (no hardware), with autograft bone Nov. 2001
(reabsorption of bone 2 years later...still lost in body..expect to burp it out at anytime..haha")) 
ACDF with hardware, allograft bone Nov. 2005 
Anterior and Posterior CDF, allograft bone with BMP, removal of old hardware, use of titanium plates, rods, screws, & kitchen sink (lol) Oct 2006
 
 

fireflyhillary
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Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 148
   Posted 2/20/2012 10:33 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for your reply! He did read this online and I looked it up after he told me and I found some sites that said the two can be related, but not always. I know that chronic pain and depression go hand in hand, for obvious reasons, and I also wonder if he is confusing the two. It really annoyed me that he said pain can be exaggerated, as I pretty much put on a fake face everyday unless I'm having a really bad pain day. My Dr's are not working together, but this is something I am going to bring up at my next appt's with both of them. My husband went to my first appt with me at the PM office, and the only time he's gone with me since is when I have to have a driver because of procedures. I know he knows my pain is real, I think he was just trying to help as he was so worried about me yesterday with my pain being so severe, but he doesn't realize that his "help" is not always good help. What is really funny is that when he told me this last night I asked him how he knows this and he said "I just do, I know a lot about it," which is complete bs!
Current: DDD L4-S1, Arthritis L4-S1, Facet Syndrome, Interstitial Cystitis, Vulvodynia, Restless Leg Syndrome, Bi-polar, IBS, Fibromyalgia, PTSD. In past 6 months have had epidurals, facet blocks and radiofrequency ablation.
Past: Endometriosis, Adenomyosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. 3 laparoscopies, 2 cystoscopies, total hysterectomy, appendix & gallbladder removal.

White Beard
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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3694
   Posted 2/20/2012 1:35 PM (GMT -6)   
fireflyhillary
 
You got some excellent advice from snowbunny21, so please take her  advice seriously! Everyone experiences pain differently just as everyone reacts differently to different pain medications. What might work for one person to control pain might not work at all for another person with the same type of pain. And for a certain condition, one person might experience excruciating pain and another with the same condition might not experience hardly any pain at all. Yet both of them are completely correct in what they are feeling! So do not let anyone try to convince you or insinuate that what you are feeling is not necesssarily real or correct. Pain is what a person says it is! Period! Because pain is subjective and nobody can feel what another person is feeling, so pain is for you what ever you say it is! And pain is for me what ever I say it is, and that is the bottom line!  You do not need to feel ashamed or apologetic or think of it as a weakness or anything else, for having pain, hopefully it is just something that can be dealt with and adequately treated, like any other medical condition.
 
I do wish you well!
 
White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
After spending nearly 22 1/2 years in the USAF, I retired in Sept, 1991. I then went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, and I worked on Oncology and then a Med Surg Unit, I became disabled in late 1999 and was approved SSD in early 2002!-- DDD, With herniated Disk at T-12 and L4-5. C5-C6 ACDF in Sep 2009, C6-C7 ACDF in Mar 1985, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!) Medications:Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV I am White Beard with a White Beard!

di43
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 108
   Posted 2/20/2012 2:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Interesting topic! I don`t know much specifically about bipolar and pain and I think Snowbunny answered your question much better than I could.
 
I think I`ll be going off topic, so I`m sorry in advance lol. But I am very interested in the point you said about  `exaggerating` the pain. (By the way here I`m referring to my experience and people in general, I`m not implying at all that your husband is in this category, it sounds like he does genuinely care.) Anyway it`s very easy to begin to believe it yourself if you have people close to you suggesting you are responsible for the pain, making it worse, making it up, being overly dramatic or need to suck it up. I have been accused of all of these from `friends`who have not really tried to understand my condition or treatments and they were very convincing, I started believing them. I`ve also been labelled a drug seeker, one friend said she didn`t approve of what I was doing, meaning trying out many medications which did happen to be narcotics as a last resort after exhausting non-narcotics. Also I apparently got in the way of getting better by refusing to do certain treatments, lots of exercise or constantly searching for a cure (after years of trialling things and becoming fed up and exhausted).
 
It used to upset me but not any more. Now I believe the reason they blamed me for causing it is that it`s probably easier for them to tell themselves that it`s my fault and I`m in pain because I`m `preventing my treatment`etc than it is to accept that the agony is real and permanent and there are no other options. Still most of these people I think were trying to `help` in their own way lol.
 
So, sorry I`m rambling but wanted to say you know and we know the pain is as intense and real as it is and please don`t pay any attention to theories like you `exaggerating`, you already have so much to deal with! xxxx Di

Snowbunny21
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Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3557
   Posted 2/20/2012 3:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Di...just to interject...I wanted to say that I learned many years ago to never discuss my medical issues with my friends or family members in detail. As in...no one...besides my mom with whom I live with right now to help take care of her....knows that I take medication or what I take...Not my dad, brother, or any of my wonderful girlfriends....

I am blessed as they are very caring and supportive...and they come to sit with me for surgeries..and know that I live in pain....but I leave all the medication details out of the conversation...

Even the most encouraging and well meaning people just don't understand opiates and chronic pain...

Fireflyhillary...I would think that a conversation with your husband saying something like, "I know how much you love me, and I know it is hard for you to see me in pain...I would really like for you to come with me to the next Dr.s appt. so that you can learn a bit more about my physical conditions...It would mean a lot to me if you could do this for me."....And see what he says...Tell him you need him on your team...

Also..you said that your Dr.s aren't talking to one another...I think that would be extremely helpful for them to understand and maybe even brainstorm about the best treatments for someone with both bi-polar and chronic pain and what extra challenges come with this...
SB and "the pup who snores loudly" 
 
ACDF C5-C7, (no hardware), with autograft bone Nov. 2001
(reabsorption of bone 2 years later...still lost in body..expect to burp it out at anytime..haha")) 
ACDF with hardware, allograft bone Nov. 2005 
Anterior and Posterior CDF, allograft bone with BMP, removal of old hardware, use of titanium plates, rods, screws, & kitchen sink (lol) Oct 2006
 
 

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 2/20/2012 4:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Fireflyhillary,
I think you've been given some good responses, so what I'm about to add isn't meant to disagree with any of them, just add a perspective that might relate to what your husband may have been reading (tho' of course I don't know what he was reading!).

There is a lot science doesn't know. There's a lot doctors don't know (tho' they may not act like it - lol). I'm wondering if your husband read something relating to what's called the neuroplasticity of the brain.

I'm retired now but used to be a mental health professional. Not in anyway giving you professional advice here, but yes, all these conditions - depression, bi-polar and host of other ailments - can all utilize the same or similar neural pathways. How the nervous system communicates signals throughout the body. Science is learning that certain things actually change the brain, the way the brain perceives something, overtime. That's why some of the scientists now are saying chronic pain is not a symptom but a condition unto itself. Because the brain has been permanently changed by the pain signals it's been receiving for so long, and it now has difficulty interpreting different pain signals. This science is still new and evolving, but in a way can hold some promise for us. Won't go into that now.

But I think the word "exaggerate" isn't accurate, although I can see why your husband may have used it, not quite understanding how sensitive we all are to anything that seems to say we're making up, or exaggerating our pain. What he MAY have been reading is that when someone's brain has been changed by chronic pain (and perhaps other conditions) it may interpret all pain signals as intensely painful, and no longer able to differentiate. I saw a brief presentation once where a doctor who's studying all this was trying to teach an audience by showing the difference between the sensation of a feather on one's arm, and the sensation of a blow torch. And he said in the brains of many chronic pain patients, what feels like a feather to a non-CPP feels like a blow torch to the CPP. But it isn't about exaggerating. It's the actual way the person is experiencing it, and thus why it's so difficult to understand and treat CP. Am I making any sense?

I hope this helps and doesn't further confuse things!

PaLady
p.s. BTW bipolar disorder is still poorly understood. There are still only theories about what starts or causes it, and doctors and therapists just do their best to treat it. And it's a struggle for patients, too, which I'm sure you know.

Post Edited (PAlady) : 2/20/2012 3:35:43 PM (GMT-7)


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 2/20/2012 4:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, again!
I found the link to the video presentation I watched recently on chronic pain by a doctor who treats pain, and I think he explains what I was trying to say in a way the average person can understand. I initially watched it on tv on an internet channel, so I went to the website and found the video. It's only about 8 minutes long. I hope it's ok to post, as I'm not advertising anything, nor do I have any connection with this site except as a viewer. It's purely educational, but if the moderators find otherwise they can certainly delete it. Here's the link:

www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/elliot_krane_the_mystery_of_chronic_pain.html

Hope I did this so you can just click on it and go to the video! It also may be what your husband was referring to. Maybe you both can watch it together (but if you watch it first you'll see if you think it's useful!).

PaLady

di43
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 108
   Posted 2/20/2012 5:09 PM (GMT -6)   
Yes Snowbunny, that`s a good general rule I think, I`ve learnt the hard way on that, even sometimes innocently people seemed to care and insisted on helping but once they realised the whole situation made up their minds quickly. Despite everything I said though I have been lucky to have some people who accept everything including my meds with no judgements, though it is rare!

I understand what you said PALady, that`s also another interesting point. The way you described it coming down to the way an individual experiences pain is a lot more sympathetic than the word `exaggerate`indeed! It`s very hard to define and measure CP, even from the language we use. A very interesting topic!

fireflyhillary
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 148
   Posted 2/20/2012 6:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for all of the input- this has really given me something's to think about. PaLady- I am going to watch that video, thanks for providing it. I will give a proper response in just a bit- husbands about to get home and I have some homework to try to do.
Current: DDD L4-S1, Arthritis L4-S1, Facet Syndrome, Interstitial Cystitis, Vulvodynia, Restless Leg Syndrome, Bi-polar, IBS, Fibromyalgia, PTSD. In past 6 months have had epidurals, facet blocks and radiofrequency ablation.
Past: Endometriosis, Adenomyosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. 3 laparoscopies, 2 cystoscopies, total hysterectomy, appendix & gallbladder removal.
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