Tag Archives: chronic pain

Chronic pain killed Prince?

I loved Prince.  I loved him since 1979 when “I Wanna Be Your Lover” hit the airwaves.  I loved how he was different.  He cared not for haters and did his own thing.  He inspired me.

I read an article a few minutes ago that made his death even sadder.  Lorraine Berry’s Raw Story post states the Prince died from chronic pain.   There is speculation that he has a cocaine habit.  He could have tried self-medicating, something I’ve done from time to time. I don’t know what happened with him, and will not speculate any further on what happened to him . I do know what chronic pain does to me.

Some days it’s like I can feel the life draining out of me. When meds stop working, I get desperate to find anything that helps.  Sleeping all the time does not work because I have things to do and people to care for.  Self-medication becomes a necessity at times, and that is not how things should be. I’m  not just looking to score drugs. I want relief; to feel close to the old normal again.

And now this post is coming to an end.  You know,  because things to do and people to care for.  Taking a few deep breaths, pasting on a less grouchy face, and going for it.

Costochondritis

I’ve been feeling like crud lately and thought this would be a good time to discuss various side issues that go along with a Fibromyalgia diagnosis.  I am not a  medical professional and don’t claim to be.  Don’t assume that my experiences are the same as yours.  If something is happening that you don’t recognize, go get checked out. 

Costochondritis is literally a pain in the chest.  It’s terrifying to anyone, especially one with a family history of cardiovascular issues.  My first experience with it came in the early 90s.  I was in the middle of an argument with my then boyfriend and started feeling bad.  I put the argument aside and went to bed, hoping rest would make me feel better.  It didn’t.  I awakened with strong chest pains and trouble breathing. The trip to the ER cost a pretty penny to the uninsured food service employee. but it was worth it to know that I wasn’t having a heart attack.

Many years and a few similar episodes later and it still results in a similar fear.  I know now what symptoms to look for and know the attack will pass.  Costochondritis is a regular part of my life now and just part of a severe Fibro flare.

Costochondritis, or inflamed breast bone,  is painful inflammation of the breast bone and rib cage.  Like me, if may make you think you’re having a heart attack.  The pain may come out of nowhere like mine did, or it may be the result of overtraining, an injury, or extended coughing fits that accompany a cold or flu bug.  Treatment is easy – just over the counter anti-inflammatory solutions like tylenol or Advil should do the trick. When Fibromyalgia is involved, the pain is intensified and does not always fade as quickly as one would hope.  Extended pain saps energy, and when the chest pain combines with the spine pain, makes Sherrie tired and angry rather than friendly.

Do you have Costochrondritis?  How do you deal with it?

Review: Low Back Pain Program

I received a copy of Low Back Pain Program at no cost from Tomoson.com. My views are my own and I would not recommend anything I did not feel good about.  

low back pain trainig program

Please remember that I am not a health care practitioner.  I am just another patient willing to experiment with a variety of therapies and sharing about my experiences.

If you suffer with low back pain, you are far from alone.  Estimates show that approximately 60-80% of adults experience at least mild back pain at some point. Frightening, isn’t it?  Statistics on treatment costs, productivity loss, and treatment types are also sobering.  It’s enough to make someone want to hide in a blanket fort.

While pain like mine has both chemical and mechanical causes, physical therapy has proven to ease some of the pain and increase my mobility. It’s been an issue for me since 2003 and there seems to be no end in sight.  As I grow older and somewhat stiffer, I look for additional therapies that may help me stay on the flexible side.  I have my favorites, but it never hurts to expand the regimen.  Well, it usually doesn’t.

There are many books and videos on the subject, and Ontario-based Sherwin Nicholson wrote a good one.  Low Back Pain Program is an illustrated training manual designed for those who want to self-treat their chronic pain.  It is progressive and starts with exercises to help increase mobility before moving on to a set that strengthen the muscles and joints.

If you are currently under a doctor’s or therapist’s care, do not try any of these exercises before discussing them with your healthcare practitioner.  Why?  Because you want to make sure you don’t do anything that might hurt you.  I am forbidden to perform certain movements because they will aggravate my spine.

I read through the Limited Mobility Exercises section before deciding to go all in.  I figured it couldn’t hurt more than usual. Hoped it wouldn’t, anyway.  I’m only 20 days into the program (I’m sticking with the Limited Mobility Exercises a little longer thanks to a pain flare), but I do feel somewhat better.  The program is improving with my flexibility and mobility so far, two of my more common back complaints.  I’m stretching and strengthening my muscles without spending hours on the floor or on ice afterward.  I will continue the program to completion to see if it should stay in my personal therapy mix or not. So far, it looks like a keeper.

Low Back Pain Program is available as an e-book and paperback and can be found on Amazon.com, iBooks, Smashwords, Createspace and Nicholson’s website, LowBackPainProgram.com.  If you give it a try, please let me know what you think.

Nuphorin for anxiety relief

Note: I am not a medical professional. Anything shared here is based on my personal experimentation and not meant as medical advice. Do not alter your protocol without discussing it with your doctor.

Vitavana offered me a bottle of Nuphorin free of charge for my review.  My views on this and any product I review are my own. 

I am not a fan of pharmaceuticals, but I know when to stop experimenting When no other options work, I take my meds. If the side effects nullify any of the medication’s benefits, I discuss the options with my doc and we’ll work together to find an alternative solution.

Before I found a drug and supplement protocol that worked for me, my doc suggested I try an anti-anxiety medication for help with pain and stress relief.  Fibromyalgia and chronic pain patients sometimes also deal with depression and anxiety, so sometimes the addition of anxiety medication may reduce those issues and help take the edge off of pain.  With daily pain hovering in the 6-7 of 10 range with flares and spikes in the 9-10 range, I figured I should try.  I was willing to try anything.

After three months of Cymbalta and her side effects, it was time to try a natural option.  I’ve heard that GABA, 5-HTP, magnesium, and vitamin B all have positive benefits for some anxiety symptoms, so the search for a supplement was on.  I didn’t want to add many more pills to my protocol, so I focused on combination supps.  Vitavana offered me a sample of Turmerex and I noticed the company also had an anxiety relief supplement available.  They offered a sample of Nuphorin and asked that I give it a try and share an honest review.

Nuphorin Anxiety Relief may be a good alternative for those using alternative options for anxiety or stress management. Each vegetarian capsule contains Ashwagandha extract, GABA, Chamomile, 5-HTP, DMAE Bitartrate, Vitamin B-1, Vitamin B-2, Niacinamide, Vitamin B-6, Folic Acid, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, and Magnesium.  The ingredient list did not worry me, so I stuck to the recommended dose of 1-2 capsules a day (one with breakfast and one with dinner) and wished for good results. I did not feel the blah haze the came with the Cymbalta and I didn’t feel the need to binge eat.  My heart hate went back to regular, my eyes stopped throbbing, and that, uh, loving feeling came back.  Hubby was happy about that.

If you’re currently using supplements for anxiety relief, Nuphorin Anxiety Relief is worth a try.  Each 60 capsule bottle is $39.95 with free shipping for Amazon Prime Members.  Vitavana offers a 60 day money back guarantee, so trying Nuphorin is risk-free.

I’ll share more about my protocol in other posts.  Finding the right mix of pharmaceuticals and supplements was just one part of the process.

Flare week two

Your friendly neighborhood Sherrie isn’t feeling very friendly.   The frustration,  anger, sadness, and grump are strong in this one.

Frustration stems from an inability to control pain when it’s in an uncontrollable state.  My daily routine, relaxation,  and even meds only aggravate the pain sensors and make me stabby.

Anger comes from the same place as frustration,  but is magnified by the limited mobility, lack of meaningful exercise,  and fear of the flare continuing past week two.

Cue the sadness.  Once fear comes around,  the tears are sure to follow.  I’m only 46.  If this is what 46 feels like, what will 56 bring?   If I need assistance to stand now, I might need more assistance later.  And what if the degeneration speed increases with time?  How am I supposed to train when I can barely stand?  

Yes, it gets that bad sometimes.  It’s hard to tell when people see me smiling and pushing through.

Once anger passes, the general grump sets in.  Why are people calling me?  Why do I need to cook?  These dogs need to feed themselves.   Bah, humbug.

The longer the flare, the longer this cycle lasts.  I know flares are temporary,  but while living through one, logical thinking flies out the window.  And laughs at me.

Why do I share?  Because it helps keep me sane.  And to let anyone reading this know that the feelings are real and you’re not crazy.  Or alone.  Chronic conditions can do a number on your body, mind, and spirit.

If you need me, give me an hour or so.  I’m riding out the flare from my bedside workstation.   Thank you, flexible scheduling!

Peace.

Inside a Fibro flare

All pain sucks.  It sucks the energy out of the body and mind.  Extended pain due to injuries takes a toll on the injured.  Days (or weeks) of pain seem impossible to handle until the pain eases as the injury heals.  With spinal issues, I ache daily.  When Fibromyalgia rears its ugly head, it’s agony.  Before it fully attacks, Fibro toys with me.  It pokes, prods, and smacks at different body parts before jumping on full force.  Fibromyalgia makes pain worse.

The early indications of a fibro flare throw my days off.  Yesterday started off great.  We attended the boy’s apprenticeship signing ceremony and had a fairly relaxing morning after that.  By early afternoon,  a dizzy spell hit that took me out for a few hours.  Out cold.  I didn’t see it coming.  By early evening,  my ankle began to tingle.  Tingle isn’t the right word, exactly.   The pain fell between a tingly sensation and pins and needles.   When it happened,  I knew – June’s flare is coming.

This morning,  on went the anke support.  Suppirts ease the pain and keeps those joints stable.  By 9 am, the knees, elbow, and shoulder tingling kicked in. All at once, the discomfort level rose.  I made a note to change my training plans (no lifting) and took the preemptive dose of anti-inflammatory herbs and meds.  By 10:30, my overall pain level went from 3 to 7 as my spine joined the pain party.  I had to switch from a seated to reclining position for work.  By day’s end, I’ll resort to prescription medication and an early bedtime.

The pain will either increase or remain at the 8-9 range for a few days.  Light either annoys me or hurts.  Sunglasses outdoors are a must, even if I’m in the yard with the dogs.  Otherwise,  it feels like heat rays boring into my brain.  There is no movement without pain and no comfortable position.   I’ll smile and socialize, but I’d rather be aslleep until the the flare passes.  I’ll eat because I have to,  not because I’ll want to or enjoy it.

Within a week, the pain level will drop to the 5-7 range with occasional spikes to 7-9.  Within two weeks,  I’ll be back to my usual self.  Some flares end sooner while others drag on for weeks.  While the general symptoms stay about the same,  something new pops up from time to time.  In May, it was a shap, stabbing pain in my hip sockets.

That’s what it’s like for me when a flare strikes.  If someone you know mentions a flare, be kind.  They’re not trying to blow you off.  Pain makes people angry, sad, frustrated,  and forgetful.  And hopefully,  it’s only temporary.

Until next time, I may or may not be in a blanket fort with a book or two and the Roku remote.  Peace.

Painsomnia is real

It’s a little after 2 am and I’m wide awake.   I don’t want to be.  It’s nothing new, really,  because insomnia is my frenemy.  What is fairly new is pain-induced insomnia.   Thanks to fellow spoonies, I now know that painsomnia is real and unfortunately common.

So, what do I do when painsomnia strikes?  It depends.   Tonight I’ve played around on Instagram and Facebook.   Sometimes I work if I have a deadline around the corner.   If I’m still awake in an hour, I’ll go pack lunches for the family.   Or not.  The thought of the 5 am alarm going off while I stare at the ceiling is a downer.

I’m going to meditate for a while in corpse pose and hope I can drift off.  If not, I’ll see you later.

Do you get insomnia?   How do you cope?

 

Stormy Weather

Just call me the human barometer.

A nasty thunderstorm popped up a little over an hour ago.  I knew it was coming because I felt it in my bones.  My already sore knee and ankle went into overdrive.  Pain that burns, tingles, and feels numb at once.  Then my shoulder decided to join in.  The day went from awesome to holy crap in just a few hours.  The plan before the flare was to get some cooking and organization going.  It hasn’t changed,  but the timetable has.  Instead of going nuts in there, I’ll tackle cooking today and finish organizing over the weekend.   Listening to my body makes a huge difference in my good and bad days.  I hope you listen to yours.

What are you up to?  How’s the weather where you are?  No matter what it’s like,  I hope you have a great weekend.

Out of spoons

Hi, all.  This is me, out of spoons.

I am exhausted,  in pain, uninspired,  and done.  At least right now.  Weeks of running around almost daily is kicking my butt.  I slept past noon and want to go back to bed.  I know I have things to do, but I fracking cannot.  I don’t have the energy to fake it today.   And that’s okay.

Do not forget to take care of yourself.   Sometimes that means taking the time for a nap, sleeping in,  or anime marathon if and when you need it.

So here I am.  Not faking it.  Hope you’re having a better day.

June already? What’s your plan?

Can you believe 2014 is already six months old?  June is already 11 days old?  Where did the time go?  Are you on track?  Anywhere close to where you wanted to be?  I’ll admit it,  I’m not.   And I won’t let it throw me much.  I’ll tweak my plans and go month to month.

My plan was in part inspired by a dream.  I’ve been back and forth to the doc and specialists (yes, plural) trying to finally figure out what all ails me.   It’s exhausting and frustrating and frightening if I K et my mind wander too much.  More so if I consult Dr. Google instead of waiting to for a specific diagnosis.   According to Google,  cold symptoms could be anything from a cold to a rare syndrome that would put someone just outside death’s door.  No one needs that kind of stress or fear without knowing what’s going on inside them.

So, back to this dream.  Of course I dreamed about a doctor visit.  I mean, it’s been at least 33% of my focus for a while now.  So, I’m waiting for the doc to walk in, and it’s Kris Carr!   You know, the woman behind Crazy, Sexy Cancer.  Her.

I was so in awe and blown away.  I think seeing her was a sign.  Not that a cancer diagnosis is looming, but that I’m doing the right thing by following up with the docs and working on healing.  Another round of physical therapy starts next today   My diet is cleaning up and even more greens are coming in.  My healthier cookbooks are my main kitchen inspiration and I’m eating to live.

There they are, two of my inspirations!
There they are, two of my inspirations!
One of my go-to's for healthy vegan eats.
One of my go-to’s for healthy vegan eats. Lindsay Nixon photo.
A fav dish from Crazy Sexy Kitchen.  Sherrie Thompson photo.
A fav dish from Crazy Sexy Kitchen.  This and the tahini dressing that is.
I'll hit the library more often than the bookstore for new inspiration.
I’ll hit the library more often than the bookstore for new inspiration.

I don’t want to just survive anymore.  I want to thrive, glow, and kick ass.

So, what’s happening with you?  Have any good dreams lately?