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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.

 

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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.

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DIFFERENT TYPES OF TESTS FOR BACK PAIN PROBLEMS…

The first thing that most doctors will do when you see them about a persistent case of back pain will be to ask you a series of questions. They’ll want to know when the pain started and for how long you’ve been having it. You may be asked if your family has a history of back pain.

All these questions serve a purpose. The doctor is trying to ascertain if you have chronic pain, acute pain or if there’s some other underlying cause. In most cases, back pain tends to diminish and disappear after about a month or six weeks.

However, if the pain persists, there are a few diagnostic tests that your doctor may resort to. These tests have several purposes. They’ll be able to detect if the back pain is due to a tumor, cancer or some other problem.

If the patient has lost bladder control, it could be a serious problem where the spinal cord is under pressure. These tests will be able to detect why the problem is occurring. There are many possible causes from spinal infections to osteoporosis. These are best detected using advanced diagnostic tests.

X-ray

Of course, this is the most popular and common one that doctors resort to in the first stage. The high frequency radiation, will detect bone problems, tumors, infections, etc. It’s a painless process and this test will reveal several issues that aren’t outwardly visible.

Computed tomography scan

Also known as the ‘CT scan’, this diagnostic test is similar to an X-ray and often done together with a myelogram. A CT scan can detect nerve issues in the back, affected discs, spinal stenosis and much more.

Unlike an X-ray which can be done standing up, a CT scan will require you to lie on a table while your body is scanned.

Magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI)

Like the CT scan, you’ll need to lie down while the scan is being done. Unlike an X-ray machine, MRI scans use radio and magnetic waves to produce the images that you see on the screen. These scans can detect dehydrated discs, facet joint issues and many other possible causes of back pain.

In many cases, the point of pain may not necessarily be where the pain originates. For example, shooting pains down your leg is an indicator of sciatica. The issue is not with your leg, but your lower back.

Bone scans

This is the type of scan you’d expect to see in a movie. It is very useful for detecting the specific part of the spine where the problem is occurring. The test is done by injecting the patient with a chemical that goes directly into their bloodstream.

The chemical will adhere to parts of the bone that are affected. A special camera is then used to detect the chemical in the body. The parts of the bone that are darker are the parts that are affected. This is an excellent way to detect bone density problems, tumors, infections, etc.

Blood tests

These can help determine whether you have an infection or other condition that might be causing your pain like inflammatory arthritis.

Nerve conduction tests

Electromyography (EMG) measures the electrical impulses produced by the nerves and the responses of your muscles. This test can confirm nerve compression caused by herniated disks or narrowing of your spinal canal (spinal stenosis).

I have personally had all of the above except the bone scans and I have found in the past that the MRI and nerve conduction tests have shown up my problems the best but everyone is different. The 4 scans above are the most commonly used ones. You can also find out lots more on the NHS website.

Your doctor will be the best person to advise you on the different tests and which ones will yield the best results when used to diagnose your condition.