Today I’m taking part in a Blog Carnival about Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease Pain Relief. I am more than fortunate in that regard. Both my rheum doc and my PCP “believe” that RAD hurts – and hurts in many ways that are hard to explain or express. So they are both willing to be “liberal” when it comes to pain relief. I, however, am not. I don’t like taking pain meds. They make me sleepy and groggy. So, often I don’t and then suffer the consequences.
Well, the questions posed by RA Warrior for this Blog Carnival are:
- Do people have sufficient pain relief? Are medications sufficiently prescribed? Do they work?
- Which doctors prescribe medications for Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease Pain Relief? Pain management specialists? Rheumatology practices? General practitioners?
- Which methods for Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease Pain Relief? Eastern medicine techniques like acupuncture? Spiritual techniques like meditation? Traditional physical methods like heat, ice, or rest?
As people are individual, they respond differently from one another to the same treatments. So any treatment will work well for about 25% of the population and not work at all for another 25%. The middle 50% it will work fairly well, but there might be other treatments that will work better. It’s the usual application of the old “normal-distribution curve” that we see in statistics. So, the answer is, NO. Most people do not have adequate pain relief from RAD. This includes those people whose doctors do try to treat their disease pain. Most of us do not have adequate pain relief – and the word “adequate” differs from person to person, so it’s really hard to say what kinds of treatments work.
I can only address what works for me. First, I don’t respond well to acupuncture, but meditation does help. I managed my RAD and fibromyalgia with prayer and meditation for years. It eventually got too much for me to deal with that way, so my rheum doc prescribed Lortabs (in high dose and large numbers of pills). That was in 2007. I’m finally down to my last 6 pills from that first prescription of 100 pills! I’ll have to get a new prescription to get it refilled. That should tell you just how fast I use them! My PCP was concerned that I have a high level of “background pain” that wasn’t being addressed, so he recently prescribed Butrans patches. I use one per week. He started with the 5mcg per hour dose, then, the last time he prescribed the 10mcg per hour dose. It doesn’t make me sleepy or groggy, and I was really surprised at that. And I was shocked to realize just how much pain I had been in. Areas of my body suddenly became easier to move, and my wrists moved without pain! While my feet still hurt, it was more of a tingle than an ache or a sharp pain. At least I know my docs will prescribe sufficient pain meds for me. Yes, pain meds work for me.
In the future, I’ll probably have to have a nerve block for my back and neck pain, but that hasn’t arrived as yet. But I have to admit, my cat purring in my lap also helps – a lot. As does Himself lightly stroking (not rubbing or massaging) the areas that are painful. I have so many that he can’t stroke them all, but he “hits the high points” as needed. So the “gate-control theory” of pain management works for me. I know there are many people for whom treatments based on this theory don’t work. I find however, that my TENS unit works well for me in certain locations. But you can’t use a TENS unit on your neck, so Himself achieves similar results for me by lightly stroking the skin of my neck.
There are many rheums and internists around who don’t realize that we are in severe pain much of the time, and I really sympathize with those patient who have rheums and internists like that. I recognize that I am most fortunate to have two physicians who recognize my pain, and who are willing to deal with it properly.
- Warm Water – Not Hot – For Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief (everydayhealth.com)
- Don’t Lose Hope! ” Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy (dancemajorwitharthritis.wordpress.com)
- Autoimmune Diseases and Acupuncture (acupuncturekid.wordpress.com)
- spoonie envy, or why my disease is worse than yours (cupsquietlybeingfilled.wordpress.com)