WEGO HEALTH AWARDS – BACK PAIN BLOG HAS A NOMINATION…

 

Wego Health Awards...

WEGO Health is a mission-driven company connecting healthcare with the experience, skills, and insights of Patient Leaders.

They are the world’s largest network of over 100k Patient Leaders, working across virtually all health conditions and topics. Their network collaborates with pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, agencies, consultancies, startups, and all types of organizations across healthcare.

WEGO Health offers enterprise and on-demand solutions that allow organizations to leverage the patient experience and expertise in the design, development and promotion of their products and services.

Nominate the exceptional patient advocates, influencers, and experts who make a difference in the lives of patients and caregivers. They say it is an honour just to be nominated, but they think the honour is all in the nominating itself!

After being nominated, connect with others in their Patient Leader Network:

  • Nominate another Patient Leader
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Join them and help celebrate the inspiring and impactful nominees. Feel good while honoring these Patient Leaders and then join in on the festivities.

I feel honoured to be nominated for Best in Blog Show.

If you know someone who deserves any of the awards at WEGO Health then pop down to their website and nominate someone and make their day. If you think I am worthy of this award I would be delighted if you could endorse me. Just click on this Wego Health link and click on the thumbs-up sign. Thanks very much

 

4 DRUGS THAT MIGHT BE EFFECTIVE AS A FIBROMYALGIA TREATMENT…

According to a recent article in Pro Health there are four drugs that might be effective as a Fibromyalgia treatment. Although these four drugs are not knew ones they could still help with Fibromyalgia. These drugs will likely never be the subject of big clinical trials because there’s little profit to be made given their age. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t effective.

1. Ketamine

A growing number of pain clinics are now offering ketamine infusions for chronic conditions like fibromyalgia, but do they actually work? Early research suggests they may – at least temporarily.

In a small Swedish study, 11 fibromyalgia patients were randomly selected to receive either a low-dose ketamine infusion or a placebo infusion. Eight of those patients experienced at least 50% less pain using ketamine.

Web MD say Ketamine it could also be one of the biggest breakthroughs in treating severe depression in years.

How can one drug hold such promise and peril? The answer lies in how it affects your brain.

Ketamine works like a flash mob, temporarily taking over a certain chemical “receptor.” In some cases and with expert medical care, that can be a good thing. But cross that line, and it’s big trouble.

2. Memantime

Sometimes the brain fog caused by fibromyalgia literally can feel like early-stage dementia so it isn’t surprising that an Alzheimer’s drug might be helpful in treating fibro.

Memantine is frequently used for moderate-to-severe Alzheimer’s disease, but two small Spanish studies have shown it may benefit those with fibromyalgia, too. In 2014, researchers from the University of Zarogoza reported memantine significantly reduced fibromyalgia pain when administered to 63 patients at a dosage of 20 mg per day.

3. Metformin

The subgroup of patients who had undergone pharmacological treatment of [insulin resistance] with metformin, in combination with the [standard treatment], experienced a dramatic decrease in pain scores,” reads the study. “Response to metformin plus [standard treatment] was followed by complete resolution of pain in eight of 16 patients who had been treated with metformin, a degree of improvement never observed before in such a large proportion of fibromyalgia patients subjected to any available treatment.

4. Naltrexone ( low dose) –

Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) is the dark horse of the fibromyalgia community. Very few patients and doctors know about it, and yet I frequently hear from persons with fibromyalgia who say LDN has changed their lives for the better.

An opioid receptor antagonist, naltrexone has been used to treat alcohol and drug dependence since the 1980s at full doses of 50 mg or higher.

 

PROZAC, NORTRIPTYLINE & TRAMADOL – POPULAR DRUGS USED FOR CHRONIC PAIN…

One of my previous posts was about my new pain team suggesting that I came of all my pain relieving drugs except paracetamol as I have been on them for many years.

The idea was to see a couple of things (a) was my pain a lot worse without them? and (b) how did I feel mentally without the many side effects of the drugs listed above which I was taking.

My GP however suggested I go straight onto Tramadol hydrochloride/Paracetamol which was a mixture of both Tramadol and Paracetamol but the dosage was much lower than my usual Tramadol.

I had a follow up phone call 6 weeks after the meeting with the pain team which was last week. The team also told me to take Turmeric and we’re convinced some of my symptoms were Vitamin D deficiency so also sent me for a blood test and bone scan to check for Osteoporosis.

The blood test showed I was extremely Vitamin D deficient so I was put onto a large dose of it and told to continue taking it but just a normal dose from the chemist after I had finished the strong course. My bone scan was cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus.

So, for the last eight weeks I’ve taken Vitamin D, Turmeric and the Tramadol hydrochloride/Paracetamol which I’ve not had before and tried to get myself off the rest of my medication except for the paracetamol.

I have managed to get myself completely off the pure Tramadol like my GP suggested and I am now only taking 50mg of the Tramadol hydrochloride/Paracetamol which is a massive drop. I have reduced the Prozac to just three times a week but feel happy taking that small dose. I was unable to drop my NORTRIPTYLINE even by 10 mg as the pain in the night was just too severe and kept me awake. I still take up to 8 paracetamol a day for pain.

In conclusion the answer to question (a) my pain was much worse without my nortriptyline and (b) my head and mental state felt 80% more clearer and I hope to come off the 50mg of the Tramadol hydrochloride/Paracetamol soon. All in all I’m pleased the new pain team suggested this review on all my meds as you just take them without thinking when you are in constant pain and I feel so much better in myself without the side effects from the Tramadol.

TRAMADOL FOR CHRONIC PAIN AND WITHDRAWAL EFFECTS WHEN COMING OFF IT…

Tramadol, sold under the brand name Ultram among others, is an opioid pain medication used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. When taken by mouth in an immediate-release formulation, the onset of pain relief usually begins within an hour. It is also available by injection. Wikipedia

Side effects include constipation, itchiness, dizziness and nausea to name a few. It was patented in 1963 and launched under the name “Tramal” in 1977 by the West German pharmaceutical company Grünenthal GmbH. In the mid-1990s, it was approved in the United Kingdom and the United States.

On the NHS website they say that it works by blocking pain signals from travelling along the nerves to the brain. It’s possible to become addicted to tramadol, but this is rare if you’re taking it to relieve pain and your doctor is reviewing your treatment regularly. It’s best not to drink alcohol with Tramadol as you’re more likely to get side effects like feeling sleepy.

Tramadol comes as:

  • fast-acting tablets – these contain 50mg of tramadol
  • slow-acting tablets – these contain 50mg, 75mg, 100mg, 150mg, 200mg, 300mg or 400mg of tramadol
  • fast-acting capsules – these contain 50mg of tramadol
  • slow-acting capsules – these contain 50mg, 100mg, 150mg or 200mg of tramadol
  • drops that you swallow – these contain 100mg of tramadol in 1ml of liquid
  • an injection (usually given in hospital)
  • soluble tablets – these contain 50mg of tramadol
  • tablets that dissolve in the mouth – these contain 50mg of tramadol
  • an injection (usually given in hospital)

There is also a new type now called Tramadol hydrochloride/Paracetamol 37.5 mg/325 mg film-coated tablets.

Medicines explains Tramadol hydrochloride/Paracetamol Tramadol/Paracetamol is a combination of two analgesics (pain killers) tramadol and paracetamol that act together to relieve your pain. Tramadol/Paracetamol is intended for use in the treatment of moderate to severe pain when your doctor recommends that a combination of tramadol and paracetamol is needed.

I have been on Tramadol for around 19 years. I started on a small dose then increased it but then my pain consultant changed me to the slow release dose which I took for many years. My pain was starting to increase and so it was decided that maybe I should go back to a normal dosage which meant on bad days I could take extra.

As you know the pain team here wanted me off the Tramadol completely but my GP decided the best way to do it was to take the one thar has paracetamol in it and wean myself off it that way. When I read up on withdrawal from Tramadol on the Very Well Mind website, it said you can expect to feel “flu-ish and sick to your stomach. You may sweat and have the chills. You might have trouble sleeping and feel much more irritated and aggravated than usual. You might also experience varying degrees of anxiety and depression.” Reading those symptoms filled me with dread.

Although the sweating and shaking were the biggest withdrawal symptom to me I think overall it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. My sleep was no worse as it’s problematic anyway but I think if you are in the right mindset to come off a drug then that’s half the battle.

I have now managed to get right down to just 50mg once a day of the Tramadol/ Paracetamol mix and for the time being I’m happy to be taking so much less. It’s a fine line to be able to control chronic pain but the biggest difference to me has been my clear head. It feels so different, less fuzzy and fresh. My left had still shakes but I know part of that is due to my cervical disc problems.

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?