DRUGS -V- BACK PAIN…

One of the best ways to treat back pain is with medication. While holistic methods like correcting your posture, yoga, acupuncture, etc. are all relatively effective in the long run… but when it comes to immediate pain relief, nothing beats the effectiveness of oral medication.

There are several different types of drugs use to treat back pain. Some can be purchased over-the-counter while others will need to be prescribed by a doctor. Generally, the more potent drugs will require a doctor’s prescription.

The symptoms and severity of your condition will dictate what drugs are prescribed to you.

 Painkillers

Most of the time, you can get painkillers over-the-counter. Panadol also known as acetaminophen or Tylenol is the most common type of painkiller. It’s used by people to treat everything from headaches to back pain to fevers.

There are also pain relief creams that are used to treat muscular aches and back pain. Usually these creams contain menthol/methylsalicylate which gives the ‘cool’ feeling when applied. Some creams may contain capsaicin too.

The creams while effective, take time to work. The most immediate relief is that your pain signals get altered when your skin is feeling hot and cool at the same time because of the creams.

Aspirin is another painkiller that can be used to treat back pain, but you should avoid taking NSAIDs if you’re already taking aspirin.

 

NSAIDs

NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that block the body’s production of chemicals which are produced when there’s a strain or injury, and causes pain. Do not take these if you’re pregnant.

Common anti-inflammatory drugs are naproxen, ibuprofen, diclofenac, etc. These relieve back pain that arises from arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, musculoskeletal issues, etc.

Whenever there’s back pain, there’s a high chance that the joints and soft tissues surrounding the affected area are inflamed. By using anti-inflammation medication, you’ll be able to soothe these areas and reduce the pain.

 Muscle relaxants

Tight muscles in your back can cause back pain too. Usually poor posture over prolonged periods can strain your muscles and cause them to get tight. Your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants to help your body relax and ease the pain.

Different types of muscle relaxants have different degrees of efficacy. Your doctor will prescribe you one that is most suitable for your pain. These muscle relaxants may make you drowsy, and stronger types like valium can actually be a depressant and should be avoided by people with depression.

Commonly prescribed muscle relaxants are Valium, Flexeril, Metaxolone, Carisoprodol, Cyclobenzaprine, etc.

 Drugs to improve bone density

These are best used to treat patients with back pain related to osteoporosis or weak bones. While calcium supplements are effective, your doctor may prescribe tamoxifen or raloxifene. These drugs will improve your bone density and reduce your risk of vertebral fractures due to weak bones.

When combined with drugs such as calcitonin and risedronate, the absorption of the bone is improved, and bone density increases.

These are just some of the drugs used to combat back pain. You should speak to your doctor or do your own research online so that you’re well-informed on the topic. Always consult your doctor before taking any medication.

You need to know if you’re allergic or if the medication you take will ‘clash’ with other medications you’re taking. Not all medications play well with each other. So, to stay away from complications and ill-effects, it’s best to approach all medication with caution.

TOP TIPS ON HOW TO COOK WITHOUT BEING IN TO MUCH PAIN…

Coping with Fibromyalgia is hard enough for any of us but one of the biggest problems we face is cooking. It may sound stupid to others but to us its a chore that can leave us feeling exhausted and in pain.

Many of us find that we cannot stand for long periods of time so doing the vegetables or decorating a cake are painful for us.

The easiest way to get around these problems is to plan ahead for the week.

If you have some children or a partner at home that can help prepare some meals, then delegate the difficult jobs for them to do.

Concentrate on foods with multiple uses by making a stew that can last two meals, like a roast chicken, followed by a chicken salad or a chicken curry.

Crockpots can be a godsend in the winter for Fibromyalgia sufferers, just get help with your preparation of vegetables then pop it all in the pot and forget about it until its mealtime.

Try and have one afternoon where you could cook three or four meals in one hit, using left-overs to make soup or casseroles, and only cook when you are ‘in less pain or on a good day’. If your best time is in the morning then cook then, if it’s in the afternoon then cook then.

I get my husband to prepare all the vegetables for me and nearly always make two meals at one time. I love baking (one would never have known!) and keep all my ingredients in a basket which I can put on the table which enables me to sit down to bake.

It is a bit easier at this time of year as casseroles are ideal and you can get vegetable packs for those, just throw in a bit of garlic, a red wine stock pot and bobs your uncle.

Health Central say Why Stand When You Can Sit: The reason why cooking is so painful for most people is the prolonged periods of time standing and walking around. Try moving that cutting board to the table and chop while sitting. Try moving those green beans to the living room and snap while sitting or reclining. Remember to sit properly and get up properly when it is time to stand up.

Eating Well have six great tips on how to avoid back pain while cooking.

Get a supportive mat. Adding soft cushioning beneath your feet in the form of a foam or gel mat may make you more comfortable while slicing and dicing. Use a cookbook stand. Think about how much time you spend hunched over the countertop reading a cookbook. Store heavy items wisely. Quit crouching down low or getting on your tiptoes to reach for large, weighty items like the food processor, panini press, mixer, or bread machine. Be careful when bending. Whether you’re bending down to pick up a dropped carrot or your stand mixer, you want your legs to do the work of lifting, not your back. Speaking of workouts: Exercise your abs. Having a strong core will help keep your back strong, and finally, Take breaks. Often, cooking calls for a “hurry up and wait” approach. 

 

9 CELEBRITIES VIEWS ON CHRONIC PAIN…

We are not alone in pain and in fact some very famous celebrity’s also suffer from chronic pain. Did you know that it is reported that chronic pain affects 1.5 billion globally? Unfortunately pain can affect anyone, famous or not but some celebrities keep their condition quiet and others have told how and what they think of chronic pain.

They call it the ‘silent epidemic that stretches the globe’.

Nine famous names who have suffered chronic pain include –

Morgan Freeman – who suffers from Fibromyalgia said –

“There is a point to changes like these. I have to move on to other things, to other conceptions of myself. I play golf. I still work. And I can be pretty happy just walking the land.”

George Clooney – who suffers from chronic back pain said –

‘I thought I was going to die [but] I’ve gone from where I can’t function, where ‘I just can’t live like this’ to ‘I’ve got a bad headache.”

“It’s been a long recovery […] you can’t mourn for how you used to feel […] you have to come to terms with it.”

Elizabeth Taylor – who suffers from Scoliosis said –

“You just do it. You force yourself to get up. You force yourself to put one foot before the other, and God damn it; you refuse to let it get to you. You fight. You cry. You curse. Then you go about your business of living. That’s how I have done it. There’s no other way.”

Jennifer Grey – who suffers from chronic neck pain and who said –

“I will always have pain. But I exercise as much as I can, and I find that makes a huge difference. And if my body does seize up, I have a pain plan in place. I go back to my doctor.”

Jackie Chan – who suffers from back pain and said –

“Pain is my daily routine. As long as I don’t go to the hospital, it’s nothing for me.”

Lady Gaga – who suffers from Fibromyalgia said –

“There is an element and a very strong piece of me that believes pain is a microphone. My pain does me no good unless I transform it into something that is [good]. […] I hope that people watching it that do struggle with chronic pain know that they are not alone, […] I want people that watch it that think there’s no way I live that way because they see me dance and sing, to know I struggle with things like them and that I work through it and that it can be done.”

Paula Abdul who suffers from CRPS said –

“The body does not give up on us, so we can’t give up on it. My goal is always to work with my body, not against it so that it can function efficiently. […] I also try to remember that there have been pain-free days — which means that this difficult time will be over and give way to a better time. […] That’s where gratitude is so important. Writing gratitude lists to remember all the wonderful things I’ve experienced has also been really helpful for me.”

Sinead O’Connorwho suffers from Fibromyalgia and said –

“Fibromyalgia is not curable. But it’s manageable,” O’Connor said in a 2005 interview with HOTPRESS. “I have a high pain threshold, so that helps – it’s the tiredness part that I have difficulty with. You get to know your patterns and limits, though, so you can work and plan around it. It is made worse, obviously, by stress. So you have to try to keep life quiet and peaceful.”

Jo Guest – who also suffers from Fibromyalgia said –

“I used to love wearing sexy clothes and short skirts, but I don’t enjoy dressing up any more. The spark has gone out of life. It’s hard to feel good about yourself or like a sexy woman when you feel so ill,” Guest told Daily Star in a 2008 interview. “But I am positive about it. I really believe I am going to get better. I will not give up.”

DEALING WITH DEPRESSION WITH CHRONIC PAIN …

Depression is quite common with people suffering from chronic pain. I mean who wouldn’t feel a bit low when trying to cope with constant pain but there is help out there to deal with this type of depression. Research shows that some of these antidepressants may help with some kinds of long-lasting pain.

Web MD state that Doctors don’t know exactly why antidepressants help with pain. They may affect chemicals in your spinal cord — you may hear them called neurotransmitters — that send pain signals to your brain. 

It’s important to note that antidepressantsdon’t work on pain right away. It can be a week or so before you feel any better. In fact, you may not get their full effect for several weeks.

After my second spinal surgery I was put on a very low dose of an antidepressant which I took over a period of 20+years. I am still on this antidepressant ( Prozac) even though over the many years I haven taken it there have been numerous articles on the pros and cons of taking it for so long. In fact, only last year the Professor of Medicine whom I call my Medicine Man who I see on a regular basis, suggested that maybe I should stop taking it.

I started with reducing it to one every other day and had no ill effects except that I wasn’t feeling as perky as I usually am. I put it down to the fact that at that time last year I ways constantly going back and forth to stay at my Dads so that I could go and be with him in hospital. He was in three months and my sister and I would do three week shifts of going in for most of the day over a period of three weeks then coming home for a rest. Sadly Dad passed away in hospital by which stage I had already started increasing my drug to nearly what I had been on before as I had an even bigger reason for feeling low.

On the NHS website they say that even though a type of antidepressant called tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) weren’t originally designed to be painkillers, there’s evidence to suggest they’re effective in treating chronic (long-term) nerve pain in some people.

Chronic nerve pain, also known as neuropathic pain, is caused by nerve damage or other problems with the nerves, and is often unresponsive to regular painkillers, such as paracetamol.

Amitriptyline is a TCA that’s usually used to treat neuropathic pain. I also take this for my neuropathic pain and it also helps me to sleep better.

We are all different and try to deal with chronic pain, stress and even loss in different ways but for me personally I felt this one little pill I took every morning worked for me. When I went back for my review with my Medicine Man I told him what I had been through and said I felt for me personally it was one drug I would like to continue taking indefinitely if he felt that was safe. He said that every single person will have different views and reactions to different types of antidepressants but if I had found one that I truly felt helped me ‘feel good’ every day no matter what I was going through then he was happy for me to take it indefinitely.

I know there are lots and lots of alternative things to try for any type of depression from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to Group Therapy and much more but I do feel that some people are nervous of taking medication on a long term basis but if that works for you, then why not.

Try everything that is available to you and when you find something that works for you then stick with it even it is taking a daily dose of medication. Feeling low and depressed is awful and most people in chronic pain must feel that at some stage but life really is to short to feel that way on a daily basis so why not try something just for you to help you feel better on the outside even if the pain on the inside is still there.

Some great websites and organisations that can help with chronic pain and depression are Away With Pain.

BLB Solicitors have a long list with links to UK support and help with depression from pain. The NHS also has details on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in the UK and how to find a therapist.

OPIOID PAINKILLERS CRISIS THE SILENT EPIDEMIC ON THE ITV ‘TONIGHT’ PROGRAM…

 

On ITV Tonight Britain on Painkillers: The Silent Epidemic.

A quarter of a million people are struggling with opioids in the UK. There are many risks involved with taking them for long-term use. They say they are of no use for long-term pain and they think that exercise, meditation and tai chi are a good option or soothing alternative to get through your pain.

Over the past decade in Britain, prescriptions for these drugs have gone through the roof – up 80% in England alone. We’re now among the biggest consumers of opioids in Europe.

And the tragedy and irony is that while the drugs are super-effective for acute emergency pain, in 90% of long-term chronic pain cases, they don’t even work.

Pain specialists are also trying to get to grips with the fact we’ve practically sleepwalked into a public health crisis: GPs under pressure to help their patients deal with pain and patients sometimes too in distress to find other strategies rather than popping the pills.

According to the British Pain Society, approximately 8 million adults in the UK  report chronic pain that is moderate to severely disabling[1]. Back pain alone accounts for 40% of sickness absence in the NHS[2] and overall it costs £10 billion for the UK economy[3].  The UK has some of the best pain services in the world and the multidisciplinary British Pain Society is at the forefront of informing the public and professionals of what is available.

However, the British Pain Society believes more research is essential to allow pain services to offer the latest effective and safest treatments.  Unfortunately, pain research is not a priority for major UK funders.

So how have we got here and how do we step back from the brink?

Is it time to radically rethink how we manage pain?

I’ve been on Tramadol for over 15 years so a rethink of how I can cope with my pain would be amazing.