Daily Archives: January 18, 2013

Pain Begets Problems

For the last couple years, I’ve had some fairly elusive sinus problems. This time in 2011, I had a sinus headache that lasted six weeks without relief, quickly adding to my already serious round of depression and landing me in the hospital.

I saw doctors, specialists, had CT scans, MRIs, but nobody could figure out the solution, eventually the pain stopped on its own. My neurologist uttered, “we’ll just have to see if it happens again sometime,” which isn’t a very comforting thought.

Lately the headaches are getting worse again. The pain is ramping up, more frequent and more severe. I find myself becoming desperate for relief, irritable and on the verge of trying anything and everything to make the pain go away.

A couple days ago I was at the dentist. I’ve apparently also contracted TMJ (as if my face didn’t already hurt enough) but upon examining me the dentist was flabbergasted by the amount of sinus pain I have been having and said I should really see a doctor, but he gave me a remedy to try for a week or two first to see if it would help.

Yesterday as the pain started coming on, I began the (dentist) recommended series of treatments. Decongestants. Sinus wash. Hot compress. Etc, etc. Then, by the afternoon, something amazing happened.

I felt better than I have felt in a very long time. Not the sort of better where hypomania is influencing my state, but the sort that means attentive, physically active, and level headed (bordering on cheerful). What was once normal. This was it.

It can be infuriating when physical pain is so overbearing it takes a toll on us emotionally -something that happens to most people, not just those with bipolar disorder. Of course, with bipolar disorder, intense pain can set off episodes and trigger cycling after periods of stability… which, of course, I know I’d rather avoid.

The trouble I think is how best to deal with pain. There are drugs that mask the pain, there are ways to lessen the pain, and sometimes there are ways to eradicate the pain at its source. What makes pain so depressing is that sometimes it seems like we can try everything (like I did in 2011) and it doesn’t abate. At other times (like this week) we can find solutions in unusual places.

So? Don’t give up hope. If you experience pain that causes episodes or cycling that you just can’t shake off, there are millions of people out there with views on things that could help. Keeping an open mind is half the battle, and heck -your dentist might be a lot more intelligent than he looks. And if you’ve been treating bipolar disorder without addressing the pain, it might be time to talk to your doctor about it. Alleviating it could also alleviate many bipolar symptoms, so why not go straight to the source?