Depression – The Link to Pain, Inflammation and Stress
Its Not In Your Head – Its in Your CNS, Immune and Endocrine
All people with pain including people already suffering with a depressive
disorder, who are recovering from any tissue damage will have reduced
neurotransmitters and suffer with a form of depression that is a natural
occurrence. The longer a person experiences unresolved pain the more these
chemicals are affected and the greater become the signs and experience of
Depression is a normal immune system response. The immune system changes the
chemicals in an injured person to slow them down in order that more energy can
be channeled into healing the body. Among other things that happen is a drop in
the levels of serotonin (the feel good chemical.) This is generally a temporary
chemical change until the body heals. Under-treated, ongoing chronic pain
conditions or the dis-ease of pain, maldynia, eat up and deplete levels of
serotonin and other neurotransmitters at unbelievable rates.
Under-Treated Pain and Depression
Under-treated pain/depression imbalances can increase all 17 “Stress” hormones.
Additional pain and inflammation can be the consequence. All of our body’s
systems depend upon each other for correct communication but when the chemical
balance becomes ‘unnatural’ a negative chemical loop-back happens, as the body
strives to maintain balance. The result is the pain creates stress and
inflammation and depression, which create more pain, stress, inflammation and
depression. This “state” of depression makes it difficult to function normally
at all levels of life – it makes it even more difficult to deal with the pain.
How You Think and Feel is a
Chemical Process Too.
How You Think and Feel is a Chemical Process Too
Now you may be worrying about what is happening to you. Do you have some dreaded
condition? Are you only going to get worse? How will you support yourself if you
can’t work? You might become angry, or frustrated. These negative thoughts and
emotions become a part of the ‘depressive’ chemical loop, and outward
(behavioral) depression symptoms increase and can appear more prominent than the
symptoms of pain. Depression begins to take on a life of its own, but it doesn’t
mean the pain is all in your head. It’s really all about the chemical changes
that naturally occur because of the unrelieved pain.
How All This Appears to the World
Unfortunately, as pain and depression increase, a person’s ability to cope with
their life decreases. Many people, including loved ones often do not understand
what the person is going through. This includes many orthodox physicians. As
people strive to obtain adequate pain relief they are often seen and treated as
“whiners” and “slackers” even as “addicts.” Such “behaviors” are a confirmation
to many orthodox physicians the person is suffering from “depression” and if the
depression is treated the” pain will go away.”
Studies show, orthodox physicians more often treat women seeking adequate pain
relief in this negative way, than they treat men. Women are much more likely to
receive anti-depressant treatment than pain treatment.
Anti-Depressants For Pain Treatment
Within the field of pain treatment there still exists a body of doctors who
believe the majority of pain can be best managed with anti-depressants. If you
“fix” the depression a person is experiencing then their pain will go away. This
seems to be especially true for undiagnosed maldynia. Many of these doctors
still do not recognize maldynia as a dis-ease or cause of pain. Pain with no
identifiable physical cause requires anti-depressants. In other words, if the
person was not “depressed” the pain would have healed longed ago. This treatment
MAY help reduce that person’s level of pain, and “lift” some of the depression,
but more often then not it creates numerous other problems and in the end, the
condition causing the pain remains untreated. This means long-term
anti-depressant treatment and the Pain is not being addressed.
This form of treatment demeans the person. It makes the person feel their
experience of pain is not real –“its all in their head.” The best way to relieve
the depression that started with tissue injury and progressed to chronic pain is
to relieve the pain and serotonin levels automatically increase.
A substantial number of recent studies show anti-depressants do not help relieve
pain and they come with a host of pretty severe adverse reactions. Perhaps it’s
because pain manifest and interacts with the very chemical systems
anti-depressants attempt to work in. Imbalance in this system can only be made
worse with the introduction of a highly specialized man-made chemical.
Both pain and depression interferes with restorative sleep. Good health requires
restorative sleep for the body to repair itself properly. Non-restorative sleep
can result in system imbalances and system imbalances can result in
non-restorative sleep. For people with chronic pain non-restorative sleep is
very common and contributes to their pain load.
There are a number of ways the body can be encouraged into restorative sleep
patterns naturally, and a doctor of naturopathy can help with this, in fact
under their care – you will be able to discover the real underlying cause of the
condition causing the pain and begin to correct it.
One of the ways to encourage restorative sleep is by using the
Heat Treat Backpack for a bedtime
pain treatment – not forgetting the stress reduction experienced during the
Tricyclics are a special class of anti-depressants when given at bedtime has
some success with encouraging restorative sleep. In general we don’t like to see
man-made chemicals used. They do have their uses in certain circumstances. On
balance, it is more important to get restorative sleep than to worry about the
manmade chemical you are taking. But, these do have their side effects and not
all tricyclics work for all people. That means experimentation. If and when you
manage to begin treating the pain and rebalancing the metabolic system –
restorative sleep is one of the first things to return and you can then taper
off the drug.
Under-treated pain and the stress and depression it creates cause mixed chemical
signals within all the body’s systems – the addition of a powerful man-made
anti-depressant chemical that interferes at only one specific level of this
loop-back communication system does not address the main problem, and it can and
does create more problems for the body’s systems to address.
Proper metabolic tests need to be done to determine
what the body most needs to return balance. The pain must be treated separately.
The longer the body has been out of balance - the more serious those imbalance
become, and- the more time it will take to correct. Once on the right track both
the underlying condition and the pain will begin to improve immediately.
Finding those system imbalances are difficult if not impossible to determine if
under the care of an orthodox physician. Orthodox medicine does not allow for
tests unless a person’s symptoms are pointing toward a serious medical condition
or dis-ease. In other words, orthodox medicine does not work toward dis-ease or
conditional prevention. A doctor of naturopathy can have highly sophisticated
metabolic tests performed and is able to identify those systems that are no
longer balanced. Once identified rebalancing is undertaken.
There are supplements, foods, and herbs that can manage pain, inflammation and
its depression while treating the underlying metabolic imbalances. They are just
as effective if not more so then chemical drugs. They are far less apt to cause
serious adverse reactions found in chemical drugs, but only when given under the
care of a doctor of naturopathy.
They won’t interfere with any treatment you do receive for the pain causing
Condition. Just remember the body has a wonderful ability to heal itself and it
does this fairly rapidly once it is given the right tools. If it were unable to
do this we would never have survived as a species. We would all have been laying
about waiting to get better instead of hunting and gathering and eating and
enjoying making little copies of ourselves.
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