LACKING IN VITAMIN D – IS THAT CAUSING BACK PAIN AND/OR FIBROMYALGIA?…

After meeting my new Pain Team last week I was sent for a blood test to check my Vitamin D levels.

Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency include –

Getting sick and infected often

Fatigue and Tiredness

Bone and Back Pain

Depression

Impaired Wound Healing

Bone Loss

Hair Loss

Muscle Pain

Any Fibromyalgia or Back Pain sufferer will pick up on some of these symptoms and I know people say you should never read into these things but if you have the symptoms you can’t help but look into it.

Today I received a call from my GP to say I am Vitamin D deficient and I have been put on a strong course of Vitamin D only available from your GP for one month.

According to Biomed Central “Vitamin D is a pleiotropic hormone with a critical role in modulating several inflammatory and pain pathways in addition to calcium homeostasis. Observational studies suggest an association between vitamin D deficiency and chronic pain, most promisingly in fibromyalgia “.

On one NHS website they explain why Vitamin D is vital for health?


Vitamin D is needed by the body for both physical and mental health, but is best known for making sure bones are strong and grow properly. Vitamin D is needed all through life and even before birth. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need to have enough vitamin D so that developing and growing babies form healthy bones. Vitamin D is also essential for calcium to enter the body and strengthen bones.
Recently, it has been found that not having enough vitamin D is also related to other physical conditions such as diabetes mellitus, heart disease and certain cancers. The development or worsening of mental health conditions, such as depression, low mood and schizophrenia, may also be related to inadequate levels of vitamin D.

Where is vitamin D found?
Sunlight
Vitamin D is made in the skin by the action of sunlight. This is the best natural source of vitamin D. In northern countries, such as the UK, sunlight is only bright enough to make useful amounts of vitamin D from April to October and between 11am to 3pm. Sunscreen and clothing blocks out sunlight, so vitamin D cannot be made in the skin. Being out in the sun without sunscreen is associated with skin cancer, however sunbathing for about 10-15 minutes without sunscreen is considered safe for most adults. You should aim to get out of doors everyday. Sun beds and tanning salons are not recommended.
Some medication used in mental health can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, therefore discuss safe sunbathing with your doctor or pharmacist.


Food sources
Vitamin D can be found in some foods, but is usually only present in small amounts, so dietary sources are unlikely to provide enough.
Some vitamin D can be found in oily fish (such as kippers, sardines, mackerel, trout and salmon), meat and eggs. A few foods have vitamin D added to them, such as some margarine and low fat spreads, some breakfast cereals, powdered milks, dairy and soya products.


So Vitamin D is really important to our health and well being and I just have to wonder that had I not moved to a new GP and Pain Clinic who are looking at my chronic pain in a completely different light if it would ever have been spotted that I am deficient in it. Have you had your vitamin D levels checked?

I am also now waiting for an appointment for a bone density cytometry appointment. Not sure what that is as again I’ve never had one done before, have you?

THE NHS NEW WAY TO TREAT CHRONIC PAIN AND FIBROMYALGIA…

As most of my readers will know I moved from the Midlands last July to the South. For the past 20 years, I had a great Pain Team looking after me in the Midlands and registered with a new Doctor the minute we arrived in Sussex so I could get the ball rolling to sort me out with a Pain Management Team here.

Just before I left the Midlands my Pain Consultant had referred me to a new PICS service which had just been set up near me. “PICS does not treat pain, they treat the patient which means using more holistic methods. Chronic pain can often lead to low mood, depression and anxiety because of being in pain all the time, so they work to try and get people back to what they enjoy and give them some quality of life. They have wellbeing practitioners who focus on support and activities. Hobbies and distractions are very important. Working through the pathway is proven to be successful with reduced GP visits and people returning to meaningful function – they start to do more in their daily lives.”

Unfortunately, with the move to Sussex I was unable to take advantage of this new facility for treating chronic pain, but a similar method is run here in Sussex, and yesterday I had my first meeting with my pain team which consisted of a Pain Consultant, a Clinical Nurse Specialist and a Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist.

Before the meeting, I had been given a number of Q & A’s to fill in all about my pain and how I dealt with it and I have to admit I was hoping that they would simply slot me in for some more injections and just discuss my medication.

We probably chatted for a good hour where they explained their program similar to PICS. The main points they felt about me was that I was not dealing with my pain well at all. They basically said that if the pain medications we’re working then I would not be asking for an injection and so they clearly were not working for me. They said I need to come off all my medication some of which I’ve been on for over 20 years. They made it clear that I will never have any more spinal surgery as the last two have left my spine in such a mess. “Your pain is never going to go away”, they said, “In fact it will probably get worse, so the only option is to show you how to cope and manage it”.

The sort of surgeries I had in the past is just not done anymore as they can now see how it affects the rest of your spine. ”Morphine”, was also given year’s ago they said but they now realise it’s the last drug they would ever give. With time everything changes and so I am about to embark on a journey I have never been on before.

All three of the team felt I was not pacing myself properly which is something they can teach me. I thought I was in control as long as I had my afternoon rest but they felt I was permanently pushing myself too hard.

Some of what they said did truly take me by surprise as deep down I thought I was doing ok and felt slightly intimidated by their opinion that I am actually not dealing with it well at all.

When I told my daughter she actually asked how I felt when they said “you obviously do too much”, ( as my family constantly tell me this ) and I said I guess it had to come from someone in the medical world for me to realise that maybe I am “sometimes” pushing myself too hard.

I was then sent for a blood test and they are organising a bone density scan ( which I’ve never had before) and the Pain Consultant told me to go and buy some Turmeric tablets as they are brilliant for inflammation.

One thing they could not stress more is how they say “ I will feel” when I am eventually of all my meds ( except for Paracetamol) as I am dealing with so many side effects from all the different medications I take. I guess I am quite anxious about coming off my meds but I would love to feel normal again.

My next appointment won’t be until after the scan and blood tests results are back. I will then be slowly cutting my meds down while being introduced to other ways of coping with my pain. I think this is going to be a very interesting journey to write about on here.

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY FOR PEOPLE IN CHRONIC PAIN…

On the NHS website their description of Occupational Therapy is ‘Occupational therapy aims to improve your ability to do everyday tasks if you’re having difficulties

Occupational therapy is given to you by a therapist who is someone who can check your posture at work and at home, they can check your work-related positions and posture and suggest ways to help alleviate your pain at work or your work at home. They can also provide advice, look at ways an everyday task can be done differently; recommend alterations or changes at home; refer you to other services to help you and help you address work-related issues.

Occupational therapists can help you with practical tasks if you:

  • are physically disabled
  • are recovering from an illness or operation
  • have learning disabilities
  • have mental health problems
  • are getting older

Occupational therapists have specialist knowledge and can advise you on disability equipment, housing adaptations and adaptations to the workplace. They are available through the NHS and your GP can put you in contact with your nearest therapist.

Within the context of chronic pain, occupational therapists evaluate the pain’s impact on your activities and quality of life, and equip you with the skills and strategies to manage the pain.

Occupational therapists can help you to carry out activities despite experiencing pain suggesting techniques to help you to conserve energy, and provide advice on caring for your muscles.

I have to admit I have not seen an occupational therapist and until I started reading into their services I was of the opinion they were mainly for the severely disabled and elderly.

I have always said to my children that ‘if you don’t ask you won’t get’ and ‘ if you don’t try you will never know’. So, I guess I should have asked as you just might get one pointer that could help you in one way or another.

IN THE NEWS TODAY TUESDAY – HEALTH TRUSTS HEAD FOR ITALY TO RECRUIT NURSES…

In the news today from BBC Health News they say that health trusts head for Italy to recruit nurses. 

It says that two Cumbrian health trusts are travelling to Italy next month to try to recruit more nurses. It comes as a nursing union claims patients are being put at risk across England because of staff shortages. The North Cumbrian Hospitals Trust and the Cumbria Partnership Trust, which runs community and some mental health services, hope to bring in up to 60 new staff.

The North Cumbria trust says recruitment is an on-going battle, but 45 new nurses have recently been recruited. Nationally the Royal College of Nursing says the NHS is 40,000 nurses below what they believe is required.

Royal College of Nursing Logo

The Royal College of Nursing says it is calling on the Scottish government to take action now to address nursing workforce shortages in health and social care, as the latest statistics from NHS Scotland reveal the highest ever vacancy rate, with over 4,000 nursing posts unfilled.

Commenting on the statistics published today (3 September 2019) Theresa Fyffe, Director of RCN Scotland said: “Today’s figures reflect the pressures faced by Scotland’s NHS. Across both acute and community settings, there are simply too few nursing staff. Only last week Audit Scotland highlighted the Scottish government’s failure to model future demand and address workforce pressures.

“The number of nurses and health care support workers in both our NHS and care home sector is simply not keeping pace with the number of people they are expected to care for. Our members repeatedly tell us that there isn’t enough of them to do their job properly.

Can this awful situation get any worse?

Source: BBC Health News 

The Royal College of Nursing 

THE EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL AND MENTAL PAIN OF MOVING HOMES…

As I am sure most of my readers know I have been in the process for the last seven months of moving from my home of 33 years in Nottinghamshire to the sunny West Sussex countryside.

After caring for my father last year for three months while he was in hospital I had made a conscious decision that I would like to move nearer to my children to avoid the stress, pain and emotional upset of looking after me when I am older.

Dad was a sprightly 93 years young with an active brain but being in the hospital for three months changed all that which meant we could not leave him on his own at all. He was far too fragile and had good and bad days. I just knew that I would never like to my children through what I had just gone through. With both my married siblings living down south the decision was made that we would downsize and move to Sussex.

I am now 15 minutes from my daughter and 50 minutes from my son. Quite a difference from the four hours it used to take to come over to see them.

My Dad was a hoarder of papers and had bank statements going back years and years ago. In fact, we used an industrial shredder to get rid of 10 bags of paperwork of his but what surprised me was that we had about 8 bags of it and I’ve been using online facilities for years. I had to make some firm decisions on what to keep and what not to keep. After all, those school reports you keep as you are so proud of them don’t deserve to be shredded up but neither of the children wanted them so I simply kept the best of the bunch and took some pictures of others.

 

After living in our old house for 33 years it was no wonder that we had accumulated a substantial about of ‘stuff’, and it took us a good and I mean a good 3 months to slowly go through all the personal stuff and that was before we started on the furniture and ornaments collected throughout the years but we were downsizing so a lot had to go.

I must admit it was quite therapeutic going through everything and my old house seemed to look so much bigger without so much ‘junk’, and I kept telling myself that when I moved I would NOT collect the same again.

The last few weeks of the move were the most stressful with contracts not exchanged at the last minute and nearly becoming homeless, but that stressful few week was worth it all. We are now in our much ‘tinier’ but lovely home with some lovely views from upstairs windows over the South Downs.

The only way I could get through all the unpacking (as the removal guys did the packing) was by trying to pace myself but you cannot help but get a bit carried away with it all and want to get straight as quickly as possible. But my body started to slow down once the adrenalin stopped and I slowly started going back onto my Tramadol again.

I decided I needed to get myself registered with a local doctor down here as it will take a couple of months to get me into the system for my injections which are due at the end of August. I felt so organised before we moved and I know I was running entirely on adrenalin but the holiday period of this move has now gone and life has to get back to normality again soon.