4 Side Effects and Tips For Pain Meds
4 Side Effects and Tips For Pain Meds – The side effects to medication can be very unpleasant, but when your faced with chronic pain the medication becomes a necessity. Most pain medications can cause these 4 side effects; extreme fatigue, nausea, constipation, dry mouth, and some other serious side effects if your body can not tolerate it correctly. No wonder why we can feel miserable on top of hurting all the time. When we are first faced with illness it becomes a game or trial and error, seeing which ones are going to help us and which ones are not going to work for us.
When I was first diagnosed, I felt like a walking guinea pig. For the first year I was in so much pain and I became so sick because of the different medication. It seems like any medication I tried, I had the rare side effects that were listed in the tiny print. I was desperate for pain relief, but most of the medication was just too hard on stomach or caused some crazy side effects.
My husband became laid off during that time and had to help me do even the littlest of things. I could no longer drive and sometimes the pain was so severe he had to help me get to the bathroom, help me shower, take care of the kids needs, bring me to all my doctor appointments, the cooking and cleaning, and the list goes on.
I’m very thankful for him and I’m also very lucky I found a good Pain Management Doctor that worked with me to finally find a regimen that helped. I say lucky because, I have heard some pretty bad stories about doctors not listening to their patients. My husband returned to work after a year and a half and most days I’m self-sufficient (there are things I still can not do, but that’s the nature of my condition).
So what happens when we find a medication that helps lower our pain, but causes the less serious side effects?
Here are some tips that I have found helpful through my bumpy ride:
For Fatigue: First off fatigue can be caused by many things. Such as insufficient sleep, too much sleep, under eating, thyroid problems, depression, or other illnesses (such as Anemia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and many others), dehydration, overexertion, even an unhealthy diet. Also, extreme fatigue like the kind I experienced where you fall asleep eating dinner is sign you need to contact your doctor immediately! If this is something that is happening because you started a new medicine then your doctor may cut back your dose or even switch your medication. If you’re getting just kind of sleepy from side effects from your medication and its working well for you, then there are things that may help when the coffee isn’t cutting it anymore.
- Like Vitamin B12 or a Vitamin B Complex. Coenzyme Q10 can also help to boost your energy level. When starting any new vitamin or supplement it is good to put a call into your doctor to make sure the medications you’re on, has no interactions with vitamins or supplements.
- No caffeine 5 hours before bed.
- Another thing to try is adding or changing up your diet with super-foods. Some of the top super-foods are: Beans, Blueberries, Broccoli, Oats, Oranges, Pumpkin, Salmon, Soy, Spinach, Tea (green or black), Tomatoes, Walnuts, even Yogurt. Why are these super-foods? Because they are loaded with things that are great for us. 🙂
For Nausea: If vomiting is violent or persists for more than 24 hours or if your vomit contains blood or even looks like coffee grounds, see a physician immediately! If you’re just sick to your stomach, then these ideas may help.
- Try a cold compress. Heat can contribute to nausea, especially if your body starts to overheat. Use a cold compress to cool your forehead or even the back of the neck.
- Trying chewing peppermint gum, peppermint soothes the stomach.
- Peppermint essential oil and DiGize oil works fantastic for this! Make sure it’s pure oil from a reputable place like Young Living Oils: https://www.youngliving.org/657228 you just add a few drops and rub it in on your stomach.
- Get a fan going and circulate the air, the breeze may be enough to shew away the feeling.
- Try eating some saltine crackers, it may be your medication should be taken with food and when taken on an empty stomach nausea will creep in.
- If all else falls there are medications your doctor can prescribe or over the counter medication that may help with this.
For Constipation: Many pain medications have this side effect. Why? Because they are known to dry the bowels. Cool fact: Many types of fiber within the intestine bind to water and keep the water within the intestine. The fiber adds bulk (volume) to the stool and the water softens the stool.
- I’m sure most of you have heard, the best way of helping with constipation is by adding fiber to your diet. You can do this by increasing the quantity of fruits and vegetables that are eaten. This means a minimum of five servings of fruits or vegetables every day.
- Increasing your water intake can help.
- There are also many over the counter stool softeners available some gentler than others.
- If all else fails talking to your doctor can help, they can prescribe special medication for Opioid Constipation.
For Dry Mouth: Here is another side effect of our lovely pain medications. The dreaded Dry mouth… seems like the more you drink it becomes dryer..ugh. Here are some tips I have found that helps with this.
- Taking a calcium supplement is very important because if your mouth is drying out, you’re not getting the saliva production needed to protect your teeth (please ask your doctor if it’s okay to take with your current medication).
- Chew gum or suck on hard candy can also increase the saliva flow inside your mouth. Choose sugar-free gum and candy to protect your teeth from cavities.
- There are also many products like Biotene that makes gum, mouthwash, and tooth paste. I have many people tell me how wonderful their products are and how impressed they were with them. Here is a link to their site with coupons: http://www.biotene.com/
- Your doctor or even your dentist can also prescribe medication if nothing else works.
Hopefully, these ideas will help keep the side effects at bay, but what works for me may not work for everyone. Good communication with your doctor is key to finding a more comfortable experience and life. We may never be pain-free and we may still have bad days, but for the in between days your doctor needs to continue to try to find some relief for you and if they don’t you may want to start looking for a doctor that will.
Keeping a pain journal is key to monitoring your side effects, you can also see my earlier post for lots more information Helpful Reminders For Doctor’s Visits.
If you have had any of these side effects because of medication relating to your chronic pain or have found anything helpful with these listed side effects please share in the comment section below.
8 Helpful Reminders For Doctor’s Visits | Pain Management Appointments
8 Helpful Reminders For Doctor’s Visits | Pain Management Appointments – Have you ever waited patiently for an upcoming doctor appointment only to realize while you were there, that you forgot everything you wanted to talk to them about? This has happened to me a couple of times, and I seem to walk away frustrated with myself. With these 8 helpful reminders for doctor’s visits, there are a few things that can be done in preparation to not only help us remember what we wanted to talk about, but also tips to do before these important appointments to keep us comfortable and less stressed.
8 Helpful Reminders for Doctor’s Visits:
- The first thing that is very beneficial is a journal. Something that you can quick jot down any new symptoms, your pain levels, and even when you started a new medication. This is not only going to help you, it will also give your physician an accurate reading on your symptoms. It will show them your pain level, how you responded to the new medications prescribed, etc. With technology advancing there are many apps on your phone that will help you do this. My Pain Diary is a great chronic pain app for smartphones (android and iPhone).
- The second thing you should bring with you and also carry on you at all times is a current list of medication. Your doctor should have this, but it helps if you have had any recent changes. Write down if you need any refills. Carrying it in your purse or wallet is very important in case something happens to you. I would also list any prior surgeries, your medical conditions, what your allergic too, and a couple of names and phone numbers of your closest relatives, or friends and let them know you put them on your list.
- This one seems obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I forgot to do this next one. Write a list of questions you have and put it someplace where you will not forget it. Also, bringing a notebook and pen to write down answers is another great idea. Physicians talk fast and I may understand what they said when they said it, but chances are I will forget it in a few days, especially if I have a few questions, or a procedure done afterwards. You could also have someone else go back into the room with you.
- If you are scheduled with the Pain Clinic it is very important you have a driver with you. Maybe lining up two in case one can not do it (one to take you and one as a back up), this way you do not have to cancel your appointment. Most of the procedures a pain clinic does requires a light sedative and you will not be able to drive yourself home. Sometimes you may not even know you are going to have a procedure done until your doctor sees you and decides to do one. Please remember the driver will not be able to leave until you are done so prepare them that it may take a while. Ask them to bring something to occupy themselves, and maybe a snack and drink. You may be a little out of it because of the sedative, so make sure they help get you comfortably inside your home.
- Wear comfortable clothes – When I have procedures done I wear clothes with no buttons or zippers so I can easily remove it when I need a procedure. I also dress in layers. Sometimes the office is warm and sometimes it can be freezing so dressing in layers will keep you comfortable and keep you from the risk of increased pain.
- Make sure you do not have any important obligations after your appointment. Your body needs to rest, so let it! Most of the time after a procedure you are not supposed to drive for 12 to 24 hours, take this time and let your body recover. Let the medications or procedure work. If you have small children ask someone to watch them for the day.
- Plan your meals ahead of time, I have a lot of easy go to meals in my “How to Cook In Pain” located in the Crock Pot and Freezer Cooking Category. Drink lots of water and keep your body hydrated and try to eat healthy.
- During this rest period rent a couple of movies, or just try to catch up on some much-needed sleep.
These things may not seem like a lot, but this will allow you peace of mind and prevent you from leaving the doctor’s office with unanswered questions.
Do you have a helpful reminders for doctor’s visits or a pain management appointment that’s not listed? Please comment in the section below.
Chronic Pain and Sleep Loss | Remedies and Tips to Help
Chronic Pain and Sleep Loss – Chances are if you experience chronic pain you have experienced sleep loss at some point. You may have found yourself tossing and turning or waking up several times a night in pain. You know if you could sleep you may feel better, but it seems as though your pain has no off switch. I know so many of us have felt this way and are desperate for a good nights sleep. Dealing with this type of unrelenting pain often becomes a thief and can rob us of a good nights sleep. So after researching this topic, here is what I have found.
According to Web MD “Pain and sleep are integrally connected. Chronic pain is very common in the population and even more common in people who have poor sleep, and it sort of becomes a vicious cycle. Pain affects your ability to sleep, and the lack of sleep makes the pain seem worse.”
According to Spine Health’s article states those who report experiencing chronic pain (about 15% of the general U.S. population and 50% of the elderly), approximately 65% report having sleep disorders, such as disrupted or non-restorative sleep.
That’s a lot of us struggling for a good nights sleep leaving us sleepy all day long and craving naps. It also can affect our moods, resulting in a lot of highs to lows. Our body produces five stages of sleep. 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. Most chronic pain patients have great difficulty reaching this crucial REM stage. In order to feel rested, you need enough of stage 3 and REM sleep. If your symptoms wake you up, you have to go through stages 1 and 2 again just to get to those restorative stages. So you end up having less sleep time in those stages. That may exacerbate pain and contribute to feeling out of sorts, moody, anxious, or even depressed. No wonder we are feeling horrible all around!
There are several suggestions online about what may help you achieve that ultimate goal…sleep. There’s the obvious like talking to your doctor about sleep medication or switching you mattress and buying new pillows. You could also change your diet so that there is no sugar or caffeine after a certain time. You could go and take TV’s or electronics out of your room (On flare days I stay in bed so I don’t know if I would do that one). Another thing you could try is to set a scheduled bedtime for yourself. All these sound great, but don’t exactly cater to the needs of a chronic pain patient.
Here are some tips I have personally found helpful:
Check your medication side effects. Some prescription medications can actually contribute to insomnia. Cortisone, a steroid used for inflammation, is a drug that can keep you awake. If you believe your medications may be interfering with your sleep, talk to your doctor about it.
Try different treatments to get your pain under control. Your chronic pain treatments will depend on what is causing the pain in the first place. Medications, acupuncture, relaxation techniques, and even surgery are all used to help treat various forms of chronic pain. Talking to your doctor is a great idea he/she may be able to increase your nightly medication to help you sleep.
Try a warm bath an hour before bed. This can help relax the muscles and ultimately get you to sleep faster. Mixed with a cup of Epsom Salts, which is filled with Magnesium may do just the trick.
Try Lavender Oil. Lavender oil promotes sleep and calmness, whether you apply a few drops on the soles of your feet, put a few drops on a tissue and then put the tissue under your pillow, or use a diffuser. This pleasant smelling oil can help. This oil varies on price, just try to look for pure lavender oil. I personally use Young Living Oils, but I hear doTerra Oils are good too.
I hope some of these ideas can help with your chronic pain and sleep loss. I know it can become a stressful thing when all you want to do is sleep and can not.
What have you found helpful and what worked for you? Please leave a comment in the section below.
**All comments are used for our own personal interest and not to replace or provide medical advice.**
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Not Alone – Fighting Chronic Pain Conditions
Not Alone – Fighting Chronic Pain Conditions – Why is chronic pain so misunderstood? Why is it when someone is diagnosed with Cancer or some disease that is well-known their friends and family gather around and create this ring of support. Is it truly because people can’t understand hurting all the time? Or is it just as simple as they don’t care unless it’s happening to them? I’d like to think we still have compassion in this world and that they do care. Maybe it’s as simple as they don’t know what to do or what to say. Saying ” I hope you feel better” doesn’t really apply to us. Fighting chronic pain conditions and chronic illness is not easy and even harder feeling like you’re doing it alone.
I have run a support group for several years, I have heard countless stories of sufferers feeling like they are alone and even the ones that have a support network still stay they feel alone because they don’t think their friends and family understand what they are going through. When suffering with chronic pain or fighting chronic conditions you do feel isolated, you also mourn the loss of your old life. Sometimes you’re angry, sometimes you except it, and sometimes you just have to take it day by day or even hour by hour. It’s an ongoing roller coaster of emotions.
The main emotion we need to learn to recognize is depression and if you’re suffering with it. Know the signs and that it’s alright to ask for help and know it’s okay to have that “label”. Because any person whose life changes dramatically and is given a diagnosis of pain for the rest of their lives is going to have to learn to accept it, talk about it, and find support to deal with it. Especially when their support (or lack of) believes it’s all in their head and someone possibly couldn’t feel the pain they are in if they look okay.
Running a support group, I have heard many stories where the sufferers pain was so bad and none of their medicine was helping, so as a last resort they went to the ER desperately looking for help. Only to be looked at as a drug addict because in some hospitals they don’t educate the nurses or even the doctors about the many pain conditions there are. How horrible is that!!!! To go begging and pleading for someone to help you only to be treated like a druggie because they too can’t see your pain. Would they turn away someone who’s been stabbed, or their limb has been smashed? Because that’s what it feels like to the person suffering every day. Why is it chronic pain patients have been given this horrible label?!? Because we have to take pain medicine? Unfortunately, there are people who want to get high and abuse the medicine that we need and because of them we have some how been thrown into the same class and category as abusers. Having these types of issues, no wonder why depression and chronic pain can go hand in hand.
For anyone reading this that doesn’t have chronic pain, please know we never chose this! We didn’t want this! We want our lives back, the one that consisted of no pain. Understand that your health is the single most important thing because without it nothing is the same.We sit back and watch everyone moving on with their lives. Playing, running, going to parties, working. We just want to enjoy the little things again, because we didn’t know those little things were so big. There are many of us who can no longer work and I’ll tell you right now the grass is not greener on the other side!!! Many of us would rather be working. Many of us are facing financial issues and many of us are college educated. We had goals and dreams that were forced to be put aside and instead…we had to learn how fight for our health each day in ways many you may never understand.
In conclusion, I have added a link of depression signs to this article, please take a second and read it over. Learn the signs and know it’s okay to ask for help. It doesn’t mean your weak, maybe you’ve been strong for too long. Maybe the load has become too heavy to carry on your own. Please talk to a friend, find a support group, set up a meeting with a counselor that is familiar with chronic pain. Sometimes even the strongest warriors need a little help sometimes, we just have to ask.
We would love to hear from you, how did fighting a chronic pain condition effect your emotions? Please comment in the section.
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