Fractures and Depression

Question for anyone:
Do you get depressed whenever you fracture a bone?
I fractured my ribs twice last year. Both times, I was plagued by a sudden deep depression, which is very unusual.
Does anyone know if fractures lower seratonin levels?

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Hi Cindy, I was very depressed each time I fractured vertebrae - 3 times in all since last March. I was so angry at my body for its betrayal. I couldn't believe this was happening to me. Each fracture took me lower and lower. Now I still have back pain - esp when I'm tired - but am back to work doing a job that has been tailored to my limitations and feeling useful and productive (if abit shorter!) again. I am on Forteo and with each shot I imagine my bones rebuilding making me stronger and stronger so that I truly do feel stronger. I don't know about fractures and Seratonin levels - I have been an ER RN for 22 years and have never heard mention of it!


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Hi Cindy,
That's a really interesting question. Between Nov 2nd and Dec 6th of 08, I fractured two ribs on the left, two on the right and my left tibia. I'm on antidepressants, so I wasn't in the pit of despair, but I was depressed. The only thing I could think of was the rib pain limited deep breathing. Not enough O2 possibly changes the seratonin levels? Or pain itself produces a chemical that changes the seratonin levels? Whatever the case, I hope you stay fracture free and feel better !

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I became depressed last year when I fractured a vertebrae in my back and again in December but I am feeling so positive after reading the book recommended by members on this site: The Pain Cure. I have always suffered from migraines and this book helped me with so much more than the "Pain". I am really learning how to "live" with my osteoporosis and I am beginning to accept that I can only try one option for treating it and hope for the best since none of us seems to know what works. What really helps is all the concern and support I find on this site.

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Cary625, that is exactly what I was talking about.
Thank you for your insight. And thanks for pointing out that it's possible that rib fractures could indirectly cause seratonin levels to lower from limited O2.
I have only experienced rib fractures.
The only times I ever experience depression are when my ribs are fractured.
Therefore, I only have rib fractures to question.

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SDivas, thank you for your reply.
Fortunately, I am not suffering from depression.
I can find no reason to be depressed when I break a rib. Believe me, I've been through a lot worse than that. So it was curious to me as to why I would suddenly get quite depressed the day after the ribs cracked, then as they healed, the depression eased up and went away. Since I could find no reason for the depression, I assumed it must be organic.

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I've fractured 6 ribs thus far, all pathological but doctors (8 total AND the mayo clinic) have NO CLUE as to why.

My experience with depression was a side effect of the pain meds (opiates), especially when I stopped taking them. I have talked to many people that have had to take pain medication for other reasons (surgery, injury, etc.) and so far everyone experienced depression.

This may not be the case for you, but the information is out there. One is to be especially cautious when discontinuing pain meds--it is supposed to be done gradually.

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Oh, Yes! I totally understand about the depression. It can drag you under. I had severe pain with 2 fractures in the Thorasic area of my back. T5-T6. I don't do well on pain medication but had to have it. I think that it contributed to the depression. When I got off it the depression pretty much left. But I honestly think it is a combination of things that I wrested with and not just the pain medication. . The lack of ability to do the things that I had always done and loved to do, Llke walking any distance for one thing and fear that I may be an invalid. But, though I still have pain after 2 years, it is not anything like it was and I have resumed my normal life. I lay down to get the pain to ease off rather than take medication when it gets too bad. That works for me because I don't have a job outside the home. The depression is very real but with a lot of prayer and the help of the good Lord I survived it.

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