Pain relief that works for me

This is a very subjective issue, as there is nothing that quiets my pain completely. Not even morphine. In fact, this can be very difficult to hear as it may be your only source of comfort, but opiates like morphine, Vicodin, oxy, etc, will only make your pain worse in the long term. I seriously cried when I heard this. A grown man, weeping like a little girl. I’m not proud of it, but it’s important to know that it really will just make your life even more hellish.

Now that said, if you take them solely for trauma pain (temporary- less than 2 weeks) then they will not ruin you, but long term use will make you hurt worse. After years on Vicodin and Methadone, I took myself off of them completely. (Ambien helped me, but I’ll get into that in a bit) Apparently I should have gone to rehab for this for the withdrawals, but honestly the month and a half of withdrawals was nothing compared to the actual pain. Some people might think people with FM are whiny. I challenge anyone who says so to try going cold turkey from amount of opiates I did (over several years). It would probably kill you. It was just another month of pain to me.

Some people find that tricyclics help, like pamalor, but I did not fair too well with it since I can be forgetful with my medications and would crash bad if I forgot to take them. You may find it to be a godsend.

I also tried gabapenten and found it useful in reducing some of the pain (it was a funny feeling), but it made my heart race, so unfortunately I had to stop taking it too. Again, you may find it to be a godsend.

Tylenol, while mild, can take the edge off and shorten the knife edge period of the pain rush. Be careful not to exceed 3000mg a day.

Benzodiazipams can work short term for break-through, but no more than 2-3 pills a week or you will develop dependence. I take a clonapin when I feel like I’m going to lose it from the intensity of the pain.

Methocarbamal can also be helpful, depending on the type of pain rush you are having at the time. I use this when I have been twisted up in my muscles.

Massage is far and away the best form of relief I have found. The absolute best. I would get a 1 hour massage everyday if I could afford to do so. It would greatly improve my life and really wish it was medically covered.

Thai Chi can be very helpful, and even though I just dabbled in it, I still use many of the relaxation techniques to help slow the pain rush. Further exploration would certainly be a good idea for me personally.

Eating a proper diet is important, and it isn’t really about losing weight, although you can do so by eating the right foods. Definitely cut hydrogenated oils and High Fructose. The closer to whole food I eat the better I feel.

Treatment for sleep apnea. Sleep disturbance and FM often go hand in hand. If you have been diagnosed with FM, there is a chance you may have sleep apnea or some other form of sleep disturbance, such as RLS. Sleep apnea is also very common and very treatable. Granted, your sleep may be just fine, but if it were me, I would get a sleep study done. If you have a sleep issue and it is corrected, you will feel much, much better. I felt so much better at first that I thought I was cured. I clearly was not, but it was dramatic.

Getting enough sleep is vital! I have read that 9-11 hours sleep is ideal for FM patients, and I agree. Quiet is good too. You don’t just want lots of sleep, you want quality sleep. Don’t drink a lot before bed so as not to wake in the night. Avoid caffeine. Memory foam beds are the way to go. If you can sleep through the night, great! If not, fix whatever wakes you if possible.

Ambien has been my saving grace. I know it sounds weird that a sleeping pill would make me feel better, but from what my neurologist said, it puts you in that deeper stage of sleep so that your body repairs itself more (including the nervous and pain systems). Here is how it went down:

I was miserable, on opiates, and sleeping badly. I could not tolerate my CPAP mask (for apnea) because I could not fall asleep with it on, so I was getting no treatment, and no deep stage sleep at all, which is really bad. I asked my Primary care doctor for Ambien to help me sleep. I started sleeping with my CPAP, and stopped taking the opiates at the same time. Yes, I had withdrawals from the opiates, but feeling better from Ambien and the CPAP must have balanced things out enough to keep going. After that month and a half, I felt much better, and since have not taken opiates except a few times over the past 3 years.

Also, as FM in men is far less common, I believe there is a link to testosterone. My pituitary does not kick out the precursors that tell my testes to make testosterone. In fact, my levels were lower than a woman’s lower threshold. Normal for a man is between 1150 and 250 while normal for a woman is between 50 and 100. Mine was 38. Hormone replacement therapy also did wonders for me. I have to give myself a shot once a week, but I sure feel a lot better. I have read that a female doctor had been treating her own FM with testosterone with some success. I again refer to my disclaimer.

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