Thursday, September 28, 2023
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Chronic Nerve Pain and Mental Health

If you have been struggling with chronic nerve pain associated with spinal nerve root compression, you are probably well aware of how this symptom can diminish your quality of life. Unlike other types of orthopedic pain, treating the etiological source of your symptoms is rather difficult for individuals with conditions such as cervical spondylosis or stenosis. It is important to be conscientious about how your pain is affecting your mental health. Learning more about the association between nerve root compression and mental health can equip you to better cope with your situation and pursue meaningful ways to care for your well-being.

Nerve Pain Is Unique

Of course, no pain is pleasant but nerve pain is arguably in a class by itself. Typical orthopedic pain is limited to the area where inflammation is present. Pain from nerve root impingement may affect multiple parts of the body.  

Nerve pain can dominate your perception so greatly that it can be hard to think about anything else. For this reason, patients with nerve pain are especially vulnerable to feelings of depression or hopelessness.   

Treating Nerve Pain With Medication Is Challenging

Effectively interrupting radiculopatholgical pain is not as simple as taking an anti-inflammatory medication. Popular medications that inhibit nerve pain work differently from the most common types of analgesics such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. 

Drugs that target nerve pain such as pregabalin or gabapentin may offer patients some relief by blocking neurosynaptic, but they can also carry a host of unwanted side effects and become addictive. Is Gabapentin addictive for patients? Anticonvulsants may carry fewer risks and they are less addictive than traditional opioids, but prolonged use can lead to dependencies. People who stop taking this medication suddenly may experience acute mental health concerns.

Combined with opioids, taking large doses of gabapentin can be lethal. One study addressing gabapentin and opiate overdoses found that 41% of individuals who died as the result of an overdose had gabapentin in their systems. Ultimately, the drugs for treating nerve pain that doesn’t raise the same red flags as codones for care providers still present both physical and mental health risks. 

Continuing to Pursue Care To No End Can Be More Than Stressful 

In addition to having to contend with unrelenting pain and discomfort, the stress and ordeal of pursuing treatment with no success could certainly seem downright disheartening. Patients with orthopedic problems can understandably feel isolated by their pain and powerless to change what’s happening. When you can’t get help, you might feel like nobody wants to help you.

Nevertheless, it’s crucial that patients with disorders of the spine stay engaged in care. If you give up on treatment altogether, your outlook is going to become increasingly hopeless. Ongoing physical therapy to strengthen muscles and ease inflammation can improve your condition, and being able to stay active may support your mental wellness. Even if you can’t wholly eliminate your symptoms, it is important that you take action to maintain a sense of control over your own health. 

Including mental health care as a part of your treatment plan for your condition could have invaluable benefits. Begin a dialog with your care providers about safeguarding your mental health. 



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