Chronic Pain in the US

An estimated 50 MILLION people live with chronic pain. IN THE UNITED STATES

Let that sink in for a moment.

The CDC says that there are 128 overdose deaths in the united states due to opioids. But they put heroin in with prescription opioids and count that as part of the ‘epidemic’.

I don’t know about you but I don’t use heroin to treat my pain. I’m not making light of the situation, those who use heroin are risking their lives every time. It’s a horrible addiction from what I’ve read. But let’s bring in some common sense. Most (not all) heroin users CHOSE to use heroin. I didn’t choose to have chronic pain – specifically a nerve bundle (or several) trapped in my abdominal wall that causes horrific pain.

Pain that I am no longer allowed to be treated for with opioids. Regardless of the fact that I was not / am not addicted. Regardless of the fact that I followed every rule, and requirement. Regardless of the fact that I tried the other methods of pain relief they put me on with disasterous results.

The chronic pain community has been marginalized and it is not right. Are we not entitled to caring, competent care? Aren’t we allowed to have relief from pain that works with minimal side effects?

Many of us suffer from other chronic/incurable conditions in addition to chronic pain. Our bodies have a very small threshold for changes in our prescriptions. In my case, any changes cause my Meniere’s disease symptoms to flare dramatically. If a medication says it may cause dizziness – it will cause violent vertigo in my case, and I can’t afford to be bedridden for weeks. The doctors at the pain clinic told me I’d eventually get used to the side effects.

What part of competent and compassionate care is that??? I miss the days when my doctor and I discussed treatment options and decided on a best course of action. I hate that someone stepped into my appointments without my permission and denied my care.

I am currently not using any prescription medications for pain – although, frankly – I wish I was. For the last couple of years, I have pain relief from a combination of herbs which I brew into a tea, or powder into capsules. This, plus over-the-counter Tylenol and ibuprofen do help with the constant pain. But nothing helps with the breakout stabbing, throbbing, making me scream pain. when I get that, which is frequent, I have no stronger options for relief.

Because I’m not allowed.

Pajama Day

Today is a pajama day. I’m hurting too much to even consider getting dressed in jeans.

So dang tired of pain. But I refuse to go back to a pain clinic. Refuse!  I’ll just take the strong dose of my herbal medicine and go to bed.

Losing the Pain Clinic

Message I sent to my pain clinic recently: “Please destroy the pain contract I have with your clinic. I am managing my pain using herbal methods and it seems to be working well so far. I still experience severe pain, very often, but since your clinic doesn’t want to prescribe the medications that work for me, and instead insist on a protocol that will harm me, I can no longer count on effective care there. Please destroy the contract and let me know when you have done so. 

I have no more faith in your clinic due to the fact that a doctor I’d never seen before – who took over after my doctor left – who didn’t know me, obviously didn’t read my chart, and has the bedside manner of a slug – thought he could bully me into medications that had previously left me bedridden. That’s unconscionable. And it’s not being a doctor, it’s being a jerk.

The experience after my doctor left your clinic has made me wary of everyone there regarding my care. In the future, it will not be at your clinic.”

Writing this message to them means I’ve enough faith in my own abilities to treat my pain myself. I do still have pain, but I’m managing it. Through my herbal remedies and using distraction, I’m doing well. I haven’t had to take an opioid in some time – which is a huge win for me.

I feel empowered, finally.

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Developing a Pain Relief Tea

According to the powers that be, opioid pain medication shouldn’t be prescribed for cases like mine. They, of course, don’t talk to the patients, they only make up these ‘guidelines’ (read: rules) and expect that everyone will fit into those tiny little boxes.  So, my pain doctors have reduced my opioid pain medication and will not prescribe more (suggested that if I want more I should doctor shop for a clinic that still prescribes opiate pain meds).

Unfortunately, I don’t fit into those boxes. Its important with people who have multiple conditions, to not rock the boat so to speak. I have Meniere’s disease (incurable), migraine with aura (incurable), chronic pain (not cured so far), hypothyroidism (on medication), and polycystic kidney disease (incurable). All these conditions – especially Meniere’s disease, I have to be careful to not take or eat anything that triggers a flare. The medications specifically for nerve pain that I tried last year put me into a tailspin and confined me to bed for a very long time. Yet these are the medication that have been ordered for me – or I will not be treated.

I didn’t choose to be a statistic. No one does. But I also didn’t choose to have a government agency (state or federal it doesn’t matter) tell my pain doctor how to treat me.  I’m tired of being likened to a criminal just because I’m a chronic pain patient. So, I am experimenting with different tea blends to bring about pain relief. So far, my results have been moderately successful. Now, if I had been searching for a nice ‘go to sleep’ tea, I’d have found that several times over!

I’m trying:

Chamomile – in all the blends I’m using dried organic chamomile. Not only is it wonderfully relaxing, but it is also a great anti-inflammatory.

Wild Lettuce – organic wild lettuce has natural opiate “like” properties, without containing opiates. Which I really like because my ultimate goal was to be off pain medication anyway. However, it does have sedative properties that make it not really ideal for daytime use. But it puts me into a good restful sleep.

California Poppy – organic California poppy, the California State Flower, is a cousin to the opiate containing poppy but does not contain opiates. California poppy is analgesic, antispasmodic and can provide relief of nerve pain – which is what I have. So far, other than making me very sleepy, it does help with moderate pain relief.

Rose Hips – Surprisingly, rose hips – which I already loved due to their blast of vitamin C and immunity boosting powers – also helps relieve pain. I have been happily adding them to each version of the teas I make.

Valerian – although Michael hates the smell and generally walks right back out the door as soon as he smells it, Valerian is good for pain and is better known for its sedative properties. Although it doesn’t taste that good to me so I’ll probably add it to capsules instead of tea.

Lavender – Another surprise, lavender is a really good pain reliever because of its calming effects on the nervous system. (and it tastes good).

Rosemary – Which is a good anti-inflammatory.

I’m busy developing teas using these herbs and many more at this time to find an effective blend to relieve pain. But ultimately, I want this to be as convenient to me as taking the prescriptions are, so I also want to create capsules.  I’m also very aware that this might be an ongoing odyssey to find the right fit. Bodies change and needs change, maybe I’ll have to have a daytime version and a nighttime version – that seems realistic.

Today’s not a good day pain wise. I woke up with some pain, then got up and took a shower and by the time I was out the pain was excruciating – and because showers always destroy my equilibrium so it’s generally baths for me – I’m also dizzy. But in the morning, when I need to get upstairs to work, feed the puppies and take them out, there’s not enough time for a bath.

The Mankoski Pain Scale

I found a pain scale that really is the best one I’ve seen, and believe me, I’ve seen tons of them over the last few years.
Today, I’m in bed, trying to work through the pain.
Today, I’m a 7.]]>

Opioid Crisis Hits Home

The medications I was on made it imperative that I not be left alone. But this is what I’ll be forced to go back to now that the government has stepped in and told my doctor how to treat me. It’s not fair, and I’m really angry about it. But, there is only one thing I can do, and that is to stop taking the medications. I shouldn’t be forced to, but I’m very tired of being pigeon-holed into the drug addict category and having to justify why I should be on them. [caption id="attachment_55229" align="alignright" width="300"] Researching Tea[/caption]   I’m an herbalist!  I can and WILL find an alternative that is better for me and has no harsh side effects. I’ve already started researching and experimenting.

And please, before you start talking to me about using marijuana, just don’t. I don’t want to be rude, but, I’m not about to start using something the federal government considers illegal. I’m not about to lose my 2nd Amendment Rights just for using an illegal substance. It’s a whole argument I’m not going into here, just understand that it’s my choice and this is how I feel.  I am currently looking at the CBD oils and salves though.
The first round of testing is underway and showing promising results! Already, after a cup of tea, my pain level is drastically reduced. So, I’m really hoping I’ll be able to find effective pain relief and kiss prescription pain meds goodbye. [caption id="attachment_55228" align="alignleft" width="300"] Tea Trials[/caption]]]>