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Feeling Crummy with PF

Posted by Carlos N. on 4/15/04 at 10:55 (148954)

I want to thank everyone who has been responding to my posts. After a slight improvement in my PF I started gaining hope. Since December of 2003 I have seen a new podiatrist, acupuncturist, and a physical therapist. I've also been stretching a lot, too. Friday I'm getting a new pair of custom made orthotics. However, I'm still feeling crummy. I have trouble getting out of bed in the morning because my feet/legs feel so heavy, tired, achy, and burning. I wince at the thought of getting up to go to work or for anything else. I'm lethargic and unmotivated.

I have had bouts of depression because of PF. I'm starting to wonder if my pain is now more psychological rather than physical. Has anyone ever felt like this before?

Re: Feeling Crummy with PF

john h on 4/15/04 at 11:21 (148957)

Calos: Your pain is real! Believe it! You bet it can depress you as it has most of us who have had this for any length of time. How can you not be depressed when your whole life is turned upside down. The depression will be more easily treatable than the PF. Most people do get better but not necessarily cured from PF as time goes by. Actually some of the pain meds are meds that are also used to treat depression so talk to your Doctor. In this case an MD. If you are not getting a good nights sleep because of pain tell your Doctor and get some medication to get you through this rough period. You have to have sleep to function and without it you will just get more depressed. Coming to this board and letting it all out is thearpy in itself. There will be a light at the end of this tunnel.

Re: Feeling Crummy with PF

Carlos N. on 4/15/04 at 11:58 (148964)



Re: Feeling Crummy with PF

Lari S on 4/15/04 at 13:38 (148970)

I agree with John. It's hard to deal with every day life when you are in constant pain, plus not having had a GOOD nights rest. That leads to even more depression. Your doc should be able to help you with meds, etc., so you can live as normal a life as possible while you work on the PF problem. Good luck to you.

Re: Feeling Crummy with PF

Angela A. on 4/15/04 at 18:12 (148982)

I agree with you all.

I think I could treat depression MUCH easier than I can treat my PF.

Re: Feeling Crummy with PF

Carlos N. on 4/15/04 at 18:41 (148984)

I think I could treat my depression if it weren't for the insidious pain. At the moment I'm taking herbal medicines for my pain and depression. It's okay, I'm sure the real stuff from my doctor has a better effect. I just don't want to get addicted.

Re: Feeling Crummy with PF

Suzanne D. on 4/15/04 at 19:01 (148987)

As everyone else has stated, Carlos, YES, it is normal to be depressed, and it can be quite beneficial just to realize you're not alone - not making up this pain. Your pain is very real, and it is so hard to deal with because it is ever-present. Without wanting it to be, it is on your mind almost all the time. I remember sitting in church thinking that if the pain would just go away while I'm sitting it would be so nice. But it hurt to just sit. Driving was painful, and I woke up every night because of the pain.

But I am better now, thankfully, and as others have said, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It seems like a mighty long tunnel sometimes, and the improvement can be so slow. But don't give up! Let your frustrations out here where people understand. Keep trying things to try to help yourself.

I wish you improvement and happier days ahead.

Take care,
Suzanne :)

Re: Feeling Crummy with PF

marie on 4/15/04 at 21:21 (148992)

Carlos you don't have to worry about addiction. I take neurontin and elavil for the pain. One of the normal medications they use to treat pain is an anti-depressent. I too had the heavy legs. sometimes I felt like I could barely lift them to walk. I came here just like you begging for help. I knew I needed something that would treat my pain and help me cope. The folks here convinced me to talk to my gp about what I was going through and I did. Fortunately one of the treatments is an anti-depressent. I take a very low dose....not anywhere close to what the dose is for a clinically depressed individual. It did take the edge off the pain and helped me sleep a little better. The pain is all but a memory now. I don't like being on medication but I have my life back and I'm glad!

best wishes to you Carlos!!!!! marie

Re: Feeling Crummy with PF

Dorothy on 4/15/04 at 23:18 (148996)

Carlos - Others have already given you very good advice and they have personal experience with the anti-depressants, such as Elavil. The likelihood of becoming addicted to something like Elavil is low, but Elavil does have side effects that some people find problematical. Marie suggests a low dose and that might help avoid unpleasant side effects. Anyone always has to weigh side effects that are just unpleasant, not dangerous, against depression and quality of life - an improved mood can often make any side effect tolerable! If you still prefer to go the 'natural' route, I understand that mindset because I am the same way. You didn't mention what herbals you are taking for pain and depression but you might want to try a fish oil product - one that is of very good quality and ideally one that contains Vitamin E to deal with any concerns about rancidity. Fish oil has been shown to be useful for both depression/mood in general and some pain as well. Also, have you considered SAM-E? It is recommended for both depression and pain (arthritic, is what it is recommended for, I think). Were you going to try the Foot Trainers and also the Muscle Release Therapy? Those are also in the more 'natural' category. I'm sorry you are hurting so and hope you feel better soon.

Re: Feeling Crummy with PF

Necee on 4/15/04 at 23:54 (149002)

Hang in there Carlos.....you must keep thinking positive thoughts, don't give in to thinking anything negative, it will consume you if you do.

It sounds like you're slowly getting some relief, and with your continued therapy I just know you will get better. PF isn't something that goes away over night, you have to really keep working at healing your feet.
Resting, icing, non-weight bearing stretching, wearing good support shoes, etc...that all becomes a way of life for those of us suffering from PF.

As with any health condition, depression is a major problem, it's that helpless sinking feeling that we will never get better, how easy it is to give in to depression when we are hurting and nobody seems to understand.
That is why you should stay tapped in to this message board, everyone here completely understands what you are going through, as you continue to read others posts you will gain knowledge, and along with that comes hope.
So, read all you can, respond all you can, and we will do our part to help you through.


Re: Feeling Crummy with PF

john h on 4/16/04 at 09:53 (149005)

Carlos from most of my reading people who are in real pain are a lot less likely to become addicted to pain meds.

Re: Feeling Crummy with PF

Carlos N. on 4/16/04 at 11:11 (149007)


I'm taking Valerian Root for the pain; and hypericum for my depression. What's SAM-E? Do I need a perscription for it? I have not tried the foot trainers, but I have done muscle release therapy. My problem is more of a posture problem where most of my weight sits in the front of my feet thereby pulling on my calf muscles and hamstrings. I'm not at all overweight, but this misalignment has taxed my muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Hopefully my new orthotics will alleviate this strain.

Everyone here has been wonderful with such great information and positive thinking. It really picks me up when I'm down. Thanks!

Re: Feeling Crummy with PF

Dorothy on 4/16/04 at 15:30 (149020)

As you probably already know, Valerian is usually recommended as a sleep aid. It is generally regarded as safe and effective and has a long history of use - but as a sleep aid. Its primary use is for insomnia and its secondary use is for anxiety. If used for anxiety, the combination of valerian with passion flower is said to be the useful way to use it. It is not listed in any source I have ever seen as recommended for depression. Hypericum, or its more common name St. John's Wort, is recommended for mild depression. It has been shown to be ineffective for 'deeper' depression. Studies were much reported last year about how St. John's Wort had been found to be ineffective for depression - but, in fact, what was shown was that it was ineffective for deeper, e.g. clinical, depression and that is something that herbalists, naturopaths, et al. have been saying all along. That study seemed to be reported in more of a way to discredit St.John's Wort generally, rather than to report on the study accurately. Could this be the concern of what is often called 'Big Pharma' (the pharmaceutical bigs)
On to SAM-e. First, let me say that its only drawback is its cost. It came onto the U.S. expensive and has stayed pretty expensive, although it did come down a little. Some brands are reported to be consistently reliable (Nature Made is one of them and is sold at Walgreens, for example). SAM-e (pronounced like 'Sammy')stands for S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine. *SAM-e is normally produced in the liver from the amino acid methionine which is abundant in most diets. Folic acid and Vitamin B12 are necessary for the synthesis of SAM-e, and deficiencies of these vitamins results in low concentrations of SAMe in the central nervous system. Low blood or central nervous system levels of SAMe have been detected in people w/cirrhosis of the liver, coronary heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and depression. SAMe appears to raise levels of dopamine, an important neurotransmitter in mood regulation and higher SAMe levels in the brain are associated with successful drug treatment of depression. Oral SAMe has beend emonstrated to be an effective treatment for depression in some, tough not all, double-blind studies. While it does not seem to be as powerful as full doses of antidepressant medications or St. John's wort, its effects are felt more rapidly, often with 1 week. Its ranking and health concern is Primary Osteoarthritis and Secondary Depression and Other Fibromyalgia (and others listed) SAMe possesses anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and tissue-healing properties that may help protect the health of joints. Several double-blind studies have shown that SAMe is useful for people with osteoarthritis, increasing the formation of healthy tissue and reducing apin, stiffness and swelling better than placebos and equal to drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen.* (From * to * is taken from the book The Natureal Pharmacy, 2nd Edition (S. Lininger, DC; A. Gaby, MD; S. Austin, ND; D. Brown, ND; J. Wright, MD, A. Duncan, DC, CCH). There is much more information about it in this book and many other sources, but I can't write anymore and would refer you to a google search and your library or bookstore. A prescription is not needed; it is over the counter and available at all the Marts, drugstores, online (such as Vitamin Shoppe - http://www.vitaminshoppe.com - theirs is reported to be of very good quality, too).

You know, you might want to try Michael Young's stretching videos to address the muscle problems and the Foot Trainers and consider Alexander Technique and some good yoga to address posture and muscle strength and flexibility. We have just started (very newbie) Michael Young's 'Ordinary Stretching for Ordinary People' in my household and all of us said today, 'I feel better....how about you?' So, while it's early yet, this may be good for lots of issues. And I think that the Foot Trainers and Michael Young's tapes may be very nicely complimentary programs. One thing that Michael Young mentions is improved circulation and I think circulation is a key aspect of these problems that we foot people have, one that doesn't get discussed very much. Plus, any circulation problems that do exist can only get worse as we all do that thing that is so often recommended: rest.

Carlos, this is long. I always have too much to say and people get annoyed because I go on and on. I hope you find something useful in here. Please do everything you can to educate yourself about anything that you take because you don't want to take anything that is not useful for your problem, first of all, and second, that might not be good for you. Valerian might well help you if you have insomnia or anxiety, but probably not for depression alone (although as others have said, too, loss of sleep can sure make us feel rotten and probably more prone to low mood. I have had bouts of insomnia myself and it can have a terrible affect on quality of life.). If anxiousness is a problem, you might consider L-Theanine which is derived from green tea and has been found to be very helpful for anxiety without sedation. It's got good reports. And don't forget that old tried and true standby, chamomile tea at bedtime.
I also want to emphasize a good quality fish oil because it has been found to do both: mood improvement/anti-depression and anti-inflammatory/pain reduction. Best wishes to you.

Re: Feeling Crummy with PF

john h on 4/16/04 at 19:22 (149037)

Carlos I am not knockin herbal meds but I would go to a qualified Doctor and not try an treat depression/anxiety/pain/etc with off the shelf meds. Many of these have adverse reactions to other meds and there is no required FDA approval on these drugs. I have tried some but would suggest you talk to a qualified Doctor to treat your condition.

Re: Feeling Crummy with PF

Kathy G on 4/17/04 at 10:13 (149047)


Natural remedies have been around for hundreds of years so I'm sure that they have some merit but as John points out, there no FDA approval is required of these substances. Sometimes you end up getting more filler than ingredient and the potency of these natural 'drugs' can vary from lot to lot, within the same company. Consumer Reports did a good article on that subject a few years ago. As for St. John's Wort, more and more studies are being done that show that it just doesn't alleviate depression the way a mainstream antidepressant can.

I have been on Zoloft, 50 mg., which is the lowest dose, for about four years. When my PCP put me on it, I was not suffering from depression. Depression runs in my family and I am painfully aware of the symptoms and knew that I didn't have any of them. He wanted me on it because he says it helps one to cope with chronic pain by increasing the seratonin levels in the body. Seratonin makes us feel better and if we feel better, we can more easily cope with chronic pain. I have some other issues that also cause chronic pain and he absolutely thought I should give it a try.

Has it helped me? I don't know but I do know that in those four years, my PF has improved although it hasn't become cured to the degree that it has for so many posters. But, and this is what should encourage you, I can do much more than I was able to do five years ago and if I overdo it, my bounce-back time is only a day or so, as opposed to a couple of weeks back when the PF was acute. And in these last years, I've developed acute arthritis in many joints of my body and with pain medication and a couple of cortisone shots, I've continued to cope without falling into a depression. I have no intention of going off the Zoloft to see if it's helped me cope because I truly believe it has and why risk suffering from depression, too?

Studies show that chronic pain does cause a certain amount of depression. It surely causes great frustration. With PF, I think every one of us thought that we could conquer it by 'walking through it.' We all have asked ourselves if this pain could possibly be psychological. And we've all come to the conclusion that it's very real and no amount of mind control is going to conquer it.

Once you get your orthotics and find the right combination of treatments, you, too, will start to get relief. In the meantime, don't worry about addiction. Go to your doctor and discuss exactly how you feel with him. You need to be on the right meds to cope with that pain and the way it's affecting you. As John said, very few people who need pain medications ever become addicted to them. And a vigilant doctor and pharmacist would pick up on any signs of addiction very quickly.

I wish you the best and hope that you keep us posted on your progress. Come back often because we have a great support system in place for PF'ers who are suffering because all of us can identify with what you're going through.

Good luck!