Chronic pain and anxiety

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
Last year was rough: I tore the labrum in my hip - actually I tore them on both sides but don't know what the plural is for labrum and am also too lazy to look it up. ?The labrum is basically cartilage that lines the hip socket and protrudes a bit - it helps stabilize the femur in the hip socket. By the time I was done getting imaging completed I also had congenital hip dysplasia, hip impingement, sciatica, calcific tendonitis in my glute, and arthritis in both hips. But the labral tears were hell. They really hurt and I used a cane for much of the winter while trying to navigate my job, my public transit commute, by pain level and pain medication and anxiety. Labral tears never really heal but they usually stop hurting eventually - mine did about a month ago. ?

While I was in the thick of all of this, my pain level was consistently out of hand since I needed to maintain a certain level of sobriety to do my very fast-paced job. My pain level would hover around a 7 for most of my work day. Looking back, I remember very little of my winter and I have little concept for how I didn't just walk out in front of a forklift at work.

As this was happening, I struggled hard to speak to people due to extremely high anxiety - my boss, doctors, etc. I refused phone calls. I had nightmares. I had to get rid of my weighted blanket because I felt like it was smothering me. I wasn't able to make decisions.

Things have been wild lately with the pandemic and protests but in a lot of ways I feel like I am sobering up from an extremely severe anxiety and chronic pain bender. Most of my memories of the last year are really blurry and strange.

Has anyone else ever experienced this from dealing with long term pain in conjunction with PTSD? I understand that anxiety and pain affect the same parts of the brain and it stands to reason that with all my faculties tied up in dealing with that, maybe I didn't have much left for remembering, speaking or problem-solving but it's really weird. I am just curious if anyone else has gone through something like this.
 

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
Wow...sorry you are dealing with such a toxic combination.

Has anyone else ever experienced this from dealing with long term pain in conjunction with PTSD? I understand that anxiety and pain affect the same parts of the brain and it stands to reason that with all my faculties tied up in dealing with that, maybe I didn't have much left for remembering, speaking or problem-solving but it's really weird. I am just curious if anyone else has gone through something like this.

So...I have dealt with chronic pain - fibro, severe hip pain (which some say is referral from my severe back pain and others say no, but they don't know what it is), sciatica on both sides, costochondritis - for a very long time. I find that the worse it is or the longer it lasts, the more anxious I am. It also adds to the depression and to how hypervigilant I am. Can't say I have had issues remembering (as far as I can recall LOL), but I *have* to isolate away from people and have trouble thinking straight.

I notice that on the days when the pain isn't excruciating, I am much more functional, all-around.
 

Sideways

Sponsor
I get a couple of different types of pretty crippling headaches (managed mostly by medication, though I avoid pain meds beyond paracetamol). They're often triggered by stress.

Moving down, I chronic bilateral shoulder pain, which radiates across my shoulder blades. Sometimes the inability to move my arms determines what outfit I wear for the day:rolleyes: That's tension/anxiety related, and managed mostly through yoga, keeping the muscles moving as much as possible.

More recently we've added left hip pain, which radiates down my left leg. Add in neuropathic pain in my foot, radiating up my calf. I'm seeing a physio about that next week, and have been managing it to date (fairly unsuccessfully) with walking and paracetamol. My pdoc is trying to persuade me to see my GP about it - that's a work in progress.

The hip-based pain is bad enough to prevent me walking (at all) at times, wakes me in the night and often keeps me awake.

Interestingly, lying flat on my back with my legs flat and together is about as painful as it gets. I do a half hour yoga nidra (guided relaxation, yoga-style, without any movement) session like that, and by the end, I can lie flat and be only mildly bothered by the pain by the end of it. That's now how I get myself to sleep. It wears off, but doesn't involve more pills or additional medical professionals, so what the hey, if it works it works!

Chronic pain? Yup. Totally get it. I have a lot of trouble motivating myself to get it all diagnosed properly - so far I've stubbornly refused scans of my spine, shoulders or hip. It all gets worse when my ptsd or anxiety symptoms are peaking, so whatever physiological condition might be causing it, managing my anxiety levels is always going to be part of my own pain management plan.
 
Has anyone else ever experienced this from dealing with long term pain in conjunction with PTSD?

^Yeah I think so. I've certainly had long term pain & ptsd together. I think I'm much less resilient in terms of mood, tolerance & memory when dealing with chronic pain.

Most of my memories of the last year are really blurry and strange.

^I reckon memories get blurred because I'm trying to block out the pain & whilst doing so, I also start to block out events that occurred whilst I was experiencing that high level of pain. If not completely blocked, distorted & time warped?

I am just curious if anyone else has gone through something like this.

^I hope you're now feeling a little better? As with any pain that the cause is known, it's good to get in front of it. Idk how you do that with your conditions but I hope you do.

Best of luck...
 

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
I get a couple of different types of pretty crippling headaches (managed mostly by medication, though I avoid pain meds beyond paracetamol). They're often triggered by stress.

Moving down, I chronic bilateral shoulder pain, which radiates across my shoulder blades. Sometimes the inability to move my arms determines what outfit I wear for the day:rolleyes: That's tension/anxiety related, and managed mostly through yoga, keeping the muscles moving as much as possible.

More recently we've added left hip pain, which radiates down my left leg. Add in neuropathic pain in my foot, radiating up my calf. I'm seeing a physio about that next week, and have been managing it to date (fairly unsuccessfully) with walking and paracetamol. My pdoc is trying to persuade me to see my GP about it - that's a work in progress.

The hip-based pain is bad enough to prevent me walking (at all) at times, wakes me in the night and often keeps me awake.

Interestingly, lying flat on my back with my legs flat and together is about as painful as it gets. I do a half hour yoga nidra (guided relaxation, yoga-style, without any movement) session like that, and by the end, I can lie flat and be only mildly bothered by the pain by the end of it. That's now how I get myself to sleep. It wears off, but doesn't involve more pills or additional medical professionals, so what the hey, if it works it works!

Chronic pain? Yup. Totally get it. I have a lot of trouble motivating myself to get it all diagnosed properly - so far I've stubbornly refused scans of my spine, shoulders or hip. It all gets worse when my ptsd or anxiety symptoms are peaking, so whatever physiological condition might be causing it, managing my anxiety levels is always going to be part of my own pain management plan.

I am actually a little glad to hear I am not the only one who doesn't get to the doc when I ought to for these things just for the sake of validation but I am very sorry you have so much going on. It's hard to manage all of it and continue to do anything else in life which is a big part of why I ended up in the number of conditions I have now. Congenital hip dysplasia is a from birth thing that causes hip impingement - in my case, labral tears and arthritis are basically the end stage products of those. It took me until I was 39 years old to make it through all the hoops to discover that I had been walking on two hips that didn't fit together correctly from the gate. That was kind of a long time to fail to address the problem. Of course, I did try several years earlier but there's also the issue of mental illness causing medical personnel to apparently assume that pain is part of the mental condition until proven otherwise. I might have fought for imaging then but I got discouraged and gave up. I've had tendonitis in my left lip off and on for many years.

When I was in physical therapy last year, I was told over and over and over again that my stress level was increasing my pain. I'm afraid I had a bit of a mental block at first because it felt like being told that the pain was in my head. I realize now that my blatant disregard for that advice has caused me a whole lot of repeating of the vicious cycle. I am taking big steps to change that now. The way the doctor explained it was that she would be discussing immediate hip replacement with me if I were 5 years older but since I am not, I need to find a way to get there and then have both hips replaced. So, it looks like I will have ample time to learn to take better care of myself and few other options.

I am glad that yoga helps you to need less medication. Stretching is certainly helpful for me. I still do my PT exercises, too. What I also should do is meditate but that's nearly impossible. It's even on my schedule and I don't do it. ? My yoga ball is super helpful for stretching my back - I use that sometimes as I have some issues in my back that seem to make the hip problems worse.

Ptsd sets off my fibro which then sets off my ptsd....etc....
between the two of them it can seriously mess with my brain - especially my memory.

have you read The Body Keeps the Score? It's a great book about the mind/ body pain connection

I have not but it definitely sounds interesting. I will look it up on Amazon.

I also have fibromyalgia and that has been an ongoing complication. Granted, there are a lot more. I have been kicking through the hurdles full-force for a lot of years which is obviously not working but I'm afraid my stubbornness isn't especially smart.

Thank you for the book suggestion. I think having more information on the topic could really help me get out of this muscle through this now and wonder why it hurts later frame of mind that I have lived my life in. In the grand old PTSD story, it served me well as an abused child but as I got older, it started causing problems.
 

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
^Yeah I think so. I've certainly had long term pain & ptsd together. I think I'm much less resilient in terms of mood, tolerance & memory when dealing with chronic pain.



^I reckon memories get blurred because I'm trying to block out the pain & whilst doing so, I also start to block out events that occurred whilst I was experiencing that high level of pain. If not completely blocked, distorted & time warped?



^I hope you're now feeling a little better? As with any pain that the cause is known, it's good to get in front of it. Idk how you do that with your conditions but I hope you do.

Best of luck...

Thank you. I am doing a lot better since my labral tears stopped hurting so badly. I mean, my hips are going to need to be replaced and probably would have been already were it not for me being so young - but apparently my pain level was unexpectedly high even in those circumstances, though labral tears are mysterious - sometimes they are extremely painful and are surgically repaired and sometimes they don't hurt at all. Mine hurt badly but they couldn't expect surgery to go well since I have arthritis. I guess I was pretty lucky that they stopped hurting like they did because arthritis can also complicate that. I'm still having pain and it is still chronic but it's really nothing like it was. I'm also taking medication for my fibromyalgia now, so that helps lower my overall pain level.
 

Strangelongtrip

MyPTSD Pro
I have the same injury as you, a right labrum tear along with a hip impingement and sports hernia and some other tearing. I probably have a tear in the left too, but don't feel like getting imagery because it's pretty well maintained at this point. Doctors suspect mild EDS as well. My labrum tear bothered me every day until I turned 19 (I injured myself at 14/15), and now I just have occasional flare ups and endometriosis that irritates the whole pelvis. Painxiety is real: pain causes anxiety, anxiety causes pain. I take steps to control the anxiety and steps to control the pain and that's all I can do. I have a "playbook" for high pain times, depending on the type of pain, so I don't have to think about it and can just pull up notes. Mediation really helps for me, dissociating from my bodily form in a healthy way. I use cannabis and Aleve as well. I also have fibromyalgia like pain, but meditation and yoga knocks that right out and it flares when I'm stressed. The pain makes everything worse, concentration, anxiety, depression. I think it activates our PTSD bc it makes us feel unsafe in our own bodies. I would forget how I got home when I was working full time and school full time. You're not alone!!
 

SeekingAfrica

MyPTSD Pro
I have a "playbook" for high pain times, depending on the type of pain
Just dropping in on the thread, but do you have any helpful playbook tips for physical pain? I feel like I already sort of know some things that work or not with anxiety over the years. However physical pain is quite new to me, at least the chronic type. I've been having super bad hernaited disc/sciatica issue since last December and any tips for coping with daily pain and also bad days when the pain is worse than 'normal' are helpful.
 
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