Experimenting With Treatments/Modalities
By Guest Blogger Lorna Fortner
This blog comes at the perfect time, as RSDSA has been asking the community for different treatments or things that they do to minimize their pain or reach remission. Lorna took the time to write about the various methods of treatments that she has tried and why the “opioid crisis” is a problem for those with chronic pain.
I’ve been seeing some conversations regarding “What now?” Okay. Got a diagnosis, but what is the best way to treat it? All of us individually made-we’re as differently as our fingerprints. Some people may respond best to physical therapy, some to epidurals, sympathetic nerve blocks, some may do better with medications, or a combination of the different modalities.
I started out with a combination of physical therapy, blocks, and medications. Speaking for myself, I really didn’t care too much for the blocks. I just didn’t feel like having those needles stuck in me every couple of weeks.
Another issue is how does the change in weather affect your pain? I know for a fact that my body predicted a change better than the meteorologists. So, I designed my own test-parameters: pain level in various body parts, barometric pressure, temperature outside, humidity. Twice a day, I logged those numbers on a steno pad. This went on for two years. I could, with certainty, predict a weather front was coming in 2 days prior to the barometric pressure drop.
- Gabapentin & Amitriptyline-worked well, but messed up my esophagus. Went through diagnostic testing for all that, barium swallow, esophagoscopy. So, my medication had to change.
- Blocks- cycles of 3 sets of epidurals every 2 weeks. Then, the evaluation and repeat. I experienced no improvement after the block wore off. Sympathetic nerve block did work to make the diagnosis, but once it wore off, there was no pain relief.
Then, I went back to more physical therapy, extensive desensitization exercises, back exercises, balance, you name it.
Finally, I went to Soma, which back then was used as muscle relaxants, and an opioid. It was an acceptable balance for me, I was careful to never overuse, misuse, or abuse. I used pill organizers. Yes, it was a hassle, but you have figure out what is going to work best for you without your physician/caregiver.
Unfortunately, there’s a big fuss about the opioids. I’m 66 years old and can no longer be “trusted, reliable” to take my medications that I had the month before I turned 66. That, in my estimation, is so totally wrong, that the government can make that call and ruin patient physician relationships. It’s comparable to the attorney-client privilege. But, with the opioid crisis, FDC, CDC, Medicare, and the big 5 Pharmas, the patient loses out. People tell me to try cannabis. I live in a state that has legalized it for medical usage. However, it is extremely costly! The patient must buy a license from the state, get a special card from the dispensary, then pay the “doctor” for the prescription. Then, there is the cost of the product-none of which are covered by my insurance. So, yes I’m angry about this, because when I was using a controlled substance in a controlled manner, I was able to go about my life, reliably.
Thanks for listening. What’s bugging you about CRPS, RSD, chronic pain and treatments?
I’ll be here.