Saturday, 9 January 2010

Re-evaluating Nerve Pain & Pain Medication

Re-evaluating Nerve Pain & Pain Medication

It has been 3 years almost to the day that the inflammation in my back from the initial infection and subsequent surgery subsided. A two-way street, so to speak, as it allowed both signals through to regain motion in my legs but also the signal of pain to be my constant companion from mid-January, 2007 to present.

Burning, searing pain that is a cross between sensations of ‘burning' and ‘pins & needles’. Or perhaps a constantly fluctuating sensation as if my limbs were immersed in very hot club soda (soda-water) with painful effervescent bubbles rapidly bursting along those limbs.

Initially prescribed 300 mg of Gabapentin three times a day along with 25 mg of Nortriptyline once per day, I felt that there was little if any relief yet lived with that pain for about 2 &½ years.

About a half year ago I persuaded my doctor to prescribe Lyrica (Pregabalin) as an alternative to the Gabapentin. It is my understanding that Lyrica was “stronger” and therefore a lower concentration was needed to achieve relief. I started at 25 mg three times per day for 3 months and at first I thought that I did notice an immediate slight reduction of neurogenic (nerve) pain. However, I now believe that was simply a coincidence - for whatever reason I had a slightly better weekend after changing to Lyrica. Within days the pain seemed to be as before (or at least my perception of it was) and the constantly searing and distracting pain was as before.

On renewal I asked my doctor to double the dosage to 50 mg three times daily (It is my understanding that some people can tolerate as much as 600 mg daily). Living with the 50 mg dosage for another quarter year has lead me to the conclusion that the increased dosage does little if anything to ease my pain but does distort my vision and I find myself very sleepy by mid day.

Vision may become blurred, with multiple images especially with illuminated objects such as stop lights. The tiredness is felt mostly at mid-day in spite of my having sufficient sleep each night. A drugged tiredness where my head swims leading to a disorientated feeling, at times even feeling ready to nod out. Having weaned myself off the drug slowly, I feel that pursuing Lyrica at an even higher dosage would only lead to more pronounced side effects.

As renewal of my prescription approaches, I will either go back to the Gabapentin or perhaps do without nerve pain medication as it seems to have little or no effect at the intensity that I experience that pain. These are basically the only drugs that are available for nerve related pain and I’ve come to the conclusion that they are ineffective on the pain I experience.

It is difficult to accept that this constant and rather extreme pain will be with me for the remainder of my life. I’m reminded of how animals, ceaselessly tormented by biting insects, frequently plunge into deep water to escape their suffering.
How soon before this pain becomes too much for me to bear?…..and where is my river?……

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