OVER THE COUNTER MEDICATION FOR BACK PAIN AND FIBROMYALGIA…

This is a question that millions of back pain sufferers ask all the time. Is there any medication that works? The truth of the matter is that it all depends on the type of back pain that an individual has.

If the back pain is acute due to some injury, over-the-counter medication may be enough to relieve the symptoms while the body heals naturally. However, if you suffer from chronic back pain due to more serious issues such as degenerative disc disease or osteoporosis, the medication will only help to a minimal extent.

Medication is not the be-all and end-all of back pain treatment. You’d do well to lose excess weight, maintain a good posture, avoid sitting for long periods and even try out acupuncture or acupressure to help aid in the healing process.

The medication that you take will help to relieve the pain and discomfort so that you can exercise and improve your condition. Most over-the-counter medication will not only provide temporary pain relief, but will also relax your muscles and reduce swelling and inflammation while altering your perception of pain.

Holistic remedies are great, but when the pain is bad, there’s nothing like painkillers or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to bring fast relief. There’s nothing wrong with using these medications.

You’ll need to see what side effects you experience. They can vary from person to person. You may not even have any. You’ll only know when you try.

 

• Acetaminophen

Most over-the-counter types of medication contain paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen. These can be used to treat anything from headaches to fevers to back pain. It works by preventing the body from releasing pain chemicals. In this way the pain signals going to the brain are altered and you feel less pain.

While generally harmless, consuming these in the long run can lead to a toxic buildup within the body, and the liver may be affected.

 

• Opioids

Another type of medication that is used to treat back pain is opioids. Only a doctor can prescribe opioids because they’re much stronger drugs and usually used to treat chronic back pain.

The drugs work by increasing your tolerance to pain and reducing the body’s perception of pain. They’re similar to the acetaminophen, but on a much higher degree.

While opioids are powerful, in some cases, the back pain may be so bad that even though it’s mitigated, you can’t eradicate it. To make matters worse, the body develops a tolerance to opioids over time and they lose their effectiveness.

Therefore, it’s imperative that you use these painkillers as a temporary measure while you go about changing other aspects of your life to make the back pain more manageable. Maintaining a good posture and an ideal weight is far more beneficial to your back in the long run than any opioid or medication could be.

 

• NSAIDs

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs_ are extremely effective for pain treatment. In most cases of back pain, there will be accompanying inflammation of the soft tissues around the area. NSAIDs will reduce the inflammation and bring about much relief.

They’re more powerful than both acetaminophen and opioids. However, they do have side effects like nausea, indigestion, fatigue, etc.

At the end of the day, when it comes to medication for your back pain, it’s best to speak to a qualified doctor, and if possible, get a second opinion too. Use medication as one of several tools to treat your back pain. Don’t rely on it completely. As long as you adopt a multi-pronged approach to treating your back pain, you’ll find relief sooner and may even get rid of the pain totally.

ANTIDEPRESSANTS AS A TREATMENT FOR FIBROMYALGIA…

If, like me you have had Fibromyalgia for some time now you will probably have been given an antidepressant to try for the pain, or maybe even tried a mixture of these type of medications.

If you read all the information on the drug it could immediately put you off trying one but I’ve always felt you should always try before you decide if you want to stay on this type of meditation long term.

I will use my own personal usage of these as an example. Back in 2002 when I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia I was put onto ‘Fluexetine (Prozac)’ of 20 mg once a day. I seemed to get along well with this during the early years but it wasn’t long before they also offered me Amitryptyline (Elavil) of 10mg x 3 going up to 50mg, which I took alongside my Fluexetine.

I stayed on both these for a number of years but as I increased the Amitryptyline, it left me with one particular side effect of a very dry mouth. I mean really dry whereby I would sometimes struggle to get my words out and I also started having problems with my gums. My dentist suggested eating sugar free gum but to be honest with you I’m just not a lover of gum.

The pain team decided to then change me from Amitryptyline to Nortryptyline (Pamelor) as it was known to not cause as many side effects and could help me sleep better at night which was another symptom of Fibromyalgia that I was suffering from. The dosage was the same dosage as the Amitryptyline.

Fast forward 16 years and this year I was also advised to come off the Fluexetine as I had been on it for so long. They told me to come off it gradually and to see how I felt. I did exactly as they said and even though I was only taking 20mg I struggled so hard not just because I’m in more pain but from feeling extremely low and tearful, which isn’t me.

So, I decided I would go back onto Fluexetine (it’s still on my repeat) but it made me realise how you really can get addicted to these types of medications and that maybe someone should have suggested I tried to come off it a long time ago. I’ve never shied away from taking any medications they have offered me for pain relief and believe you really do have to take them for a few months to see any difference but it is also important that long term use should be taken into consideration.

On the website My Fibro Team they have a page on all the medications offered for Fibromyalgia and its overview of the three I have mentioned are – ‘Nortryptyline Pamelor is a prescription medication originally approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1964 for the treatment of depression. In cases of fibromyalgia, Pamelor can help reduce pain. The drug name of Pamelor is Nortriptyline.

Pamelor should be used with caution in people with a history of depression, bipolar disorder, or glaucoma. People who are recovering from a recent myocardial infarction (heart attack) should not take Pamelor.

Pamelor is a tricyclic antidepressant. It is believed that Pamelor works in cases of fibromyalgia by changing the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain.’

And ‘Amitryptyline Elavil is a prescription medication originally approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1961 for the treatment of depression. The drug name of Elavil is Amitriptyline. In cases of fibromyalgia, Elavil can reduce pain and improve sleep problems and fatigue.

Elavil should be used with caution in people with a history of depression, bipolar disorder, glaucoma, liver or kidney problems, high or low blood pressure, diabetes, seizures, trouble urinating, or alcohol dependence. Elavil is not suitable for use by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. 

Elavil is a tricyclic antidepressant. It is believed that Elavil works in cases of fibromyalgia by interfering with nerve signals that communicate pain.

And as for Fluexetine- Prozac is a prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987 to treat depression. In people with fibromyalgia, Prozac can help improve mood and reduce fatigue. Prozac may also help reduce pain, sleep problems, and fatigue. Prozac is also known by its drug name, Fluoxetine hydrochloride.

Prozac should be used with caution in people who have a history of depression, seizures, anorexia, glaucoma, and heart problems, as well as those who are taking diuretics.

Prozac is an antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) class. Prozac is believed to work by changing the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. 

The My Fibro Team website has lots more information on medications taken for Fibromyalgia and is well worth reading if you are trying something new. Do you take any of these medications and if you have did they help with your pain?

ANTIDEPRESSANTS FOR CHRONIC LOWER BACK PAIN…

I read an article recently in The Daily Mail Good Health about how antidepressants may reduce chronic lower back pain.

In the journal Pain Medicine, a study led by Fukushima Medical University in Japan, 150 patients were given the antidepressant duloxetine once a day for a year. Their pain levels dropped significantly from the second week onwards. One theory, they say, is that antidepressants raise levels of the brain chemical serotonin in the spinal cord, which reduces the pain.

Serotonin is a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness. The NHS point out how they think serotonin works. It’s thought that SSRIs work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (a messenger chemical that carries signals between nerve cells in the brain). It’s thought to have a good influence on mood, emotion and sleep.

After carrying a message, serotonin is usually reabsorbed by the nerve cells (known as “reuptake”). SSRIs work by blocking (“inhibiting”) reuptake, meaning more serotonin is available to pass further messages between nearby nerve cells.

It would be too simplistic to say that depression and related mental health conditions are caused by low serotonin levels, but a rise in serotonin levels can improve symptoms and make people more responsive to other types of treatment, such as CBT.

I have taken a number of different types of antidepressants for my back pain and they have swapped me around every now and then to try a different one. At the moment I am taking Nortriptyline which I have found the best of all to help me get a more comfortable sleep. The only problem with all these types of medications is that you can soon find them hard to come off if you have taken them for a while, but if they work then that’s all that matters.

 

CAN LONG TERM USE OF OPIOIDS CAUSE RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS AND IS IT TIME FOR A CHANGE…

Can long term use of opioids cause respiratory problems and is it time for a change?

The straight answer is ‘yes’, according to Desert Home Treatment who say that ‘ The long-term effects of opioids on the bowels are significant, but it is the damage they do to the respiratory system that is behind most of the overdoses and fatalities that are related to opioid use. As opioids depress the central nervous system, they directly interfere with the body’s breathing mechanisms.’

Science Daily pointed out that ‘ Opioids are highly effective at killing pain, but they can also kill people by depressing their breathing and at the same time sedating them so that it can be impossible for them to wake up from oxygen deprivation,” says Richard Horner, a professor in the departments of Medicine and Physiology.’

Most pain killers opioids or otherwise can cause side effects but they tend to improve shortly after starting the treatment or following an intended dose increase. The most common side effect being constipation and itching but a respiratory problem is feared by many. They say it is mostly a concern in acute pain management where patients have not developed tolerance.

So should we be right to be sceptical about taking opioids for long term pain when they keep appearing in the news as sceptical ? Drug Abuse has written a great article on a ‘Need for Change’ with a list of 10 opiate alternatives. They include –

Over-the-Counter Acetaminophen

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Cortiosteroids

Serotonin and Norephinephrine

Reuptake Inhibitors

Neurostimulators

Anticonvulsants

Injections

Physical Therapy Massage, Acupuncture and Chiropractic Care

Exercise

It’s certainly something to ponder about.

 

EFT THERAPY FOR CHRONIC PAIN…

The Energy Therapy Centre

EFT Therapy is a method based on the discovery that emotional trauma contributes greatly to disease. It’s a ground-breaking tool for releasing emotional blocks and healing for phobias, trauma, pain and more.

Studies have shown that EFT can help to reduce the emotional impact of memories and incidents that trigger emotional distress. Once that is removed, then the body can often rebalance itself, which then has a knock-on effect to accelerate healing.

Eastern health practices have been based on the fact that the energies that circulate throughout our bodies are vital to our health. Interrupting these energies can result in pain and disease. This has been their concept for over 5000 years. Therefore, it is no surprise that repairing any disruption in your energy channels can lead to symptom and pain relief.

Wikipedia describes it as a ‘form of alternative psychotherapy that purports to manipulate the body’s energy field by tapping on acupuncture points’. Some call EFT ‘a new acupuncture without the needles’ and ‘energy psychology’. Success rates for EFT are not 100% but it certainly has a high success rate for some.

The Energy Therapy Centre in London explains the concept of EFT –

Often referred to as “Psychological acupressure”, the technique works by releasing blockages within the energy system which are the source of emotional intensity and discomfort. These blockages in our energy system, in addition to challenging us emotionally, often lead to limiting beliefs and behaviours and an inability to live life harmoniously. Resulting symptoms are either emotional and/ or physical and include lack of confidence and self-esteem, feeling stuck anxious or depressed, or the emergence of compulsive and addictive behaviours. It is also now finally widely accepted that emotional disharmony is a key factor in physical symptoms and dis-ease and for this reason, these techniques are being extensively used on physical issues, including chronic illness with often astounding results. As such these techniques are being accepted more and more in medical and psychiatric circles as well as in the range of psychotherapies and healing disciplines.

An EFT treatment involves the use of fingertips rather than needles to tap on the endpoints of energy meridians that are situated just beneath the surface of the skin. The treatment is non-invasive and works on the ethos of making a change as simple and as pain-free as possible.

EFT is a common sense approach that draws its power from Eastern discoveries that have been around for over 5,000 years. In fact, Albert Einstein also told us back in the 1920’s that everything (including our bodies) is composed of energy. These ideas have been largely ignored by Western Healing Practices and as they are unveiled in our current times, a human process is reopening itself to the forgotten truth that everything is Energy and the potential that this offers us.

In the short time since it’s inception by Gary Craig in the 1990’s, EFT has provided thousands of people with relief from all manner of problems and conditions, often in startlingly quick time and after long and painful periods of searching for a cure. The diversity of successful treatments have ranged from trauma and abuse, phobias, self-sabotaging behaviour patterns, to deep-set emotional conditions of anxiety and depression, addictions, physical illness, to name but a few.

EFT is drawing attention from the broad spectrum of healing professionals; from the scientists to the spiritualists and everyone in between. It is at the heart of the rejoining of the old and new paradigms.

EFT restores awareness and trust in the natural healing abilities of our mind and body, providing ground-breaking opportunities to achieving physical and emotional well-being in a faster time frame.

Because the techniques are so simple, they can be used effectively as a self-help tool, which empowers people to actively contribute to their own healing and development process. This facilitates a much faster relief process, previously believed impossible by healthcare professionals who advocated lengthy (& often painful) hours in psychotherapeutic or medical care, often with limited results. These techniques do not discredit the medical and psychotherapeutic professions, but rather serve to contribute to a holistic healing process.

It works by working on its discovery statement that:

Our negative emotions are caused by a disruption in the body’s energy system

EFT works to clear such disruptions and eliminate the resulting emotional response or intensity to restore emotional harmony and offer relief from physical discomfort.

This is done by focusing on the specific problem whilst tapping with fingers on the endpoints of energy meridians. The combination of sending kinetic energy to our energy system, whilst uncovering and focusing on root causes, facilitates a “straightening out” of the energy system thereby eliminating the “short circuit” to the body’s learnt response or negative emotion.

The EFT points in a helpful chart.