As many of you know, I got fed up with doctors and physical therapists at the start of the summer so I decided to start running again. Several surgeons and physical therapists have told me that running would be horrible for my surgically rebuilt joints but I no longer cared what they had to say. I was getting no relief or help from the medical community so I decided to try something new. Running became a challenge for me to overcome which gave me something else to focus on besides pain.
It’s now 3 months later and I’m still running. In fact, I’m fairly close to being able to complete a 1.2-mile course (on pavement even) without having to walk or stop. Very excited about that as you can imagine! Unfortunately though, my pain levels haven’t changed much since I started to run. Without better pain management, there is no way I could continue to remain this active and work full-time. So last Friday I went to a Pain Management Clinic.
Having been taking over 100 pills a week for several years now I wasn’t very excited about the possibility of the Pain Management Clinic adding more meds to my list. Meds have such horrible long-term effects on our bodies that I’m starting to worry about potential problems I might have in my 40s or 50s. Luckily for me though, I meet Britt (thehurtblogger.com-check her blog out!) who has been a friend, resource, and mentor regarding this decision. Britt’s positive experiences with going to her pain doctor are what finally convinced me to give this route a try.
As we all know to well, the first thing the clinic had me do is explain my medical history. This took about 25 minutes or so. Immediately after my history they wanted to know if I’ve ever been tested for Rheumatoid Arthritis. I explained that my GP ran the R-factor test last year I thought and it didn’t indicate Rheumatoid Arthritis. However, the test did indicate Gout according to the GP.
According to the clinic, they find it hard to believe that all my pain can be directly attributed to the rock-climbing fall since it happened in 2003. Since I had such a bad experience the last time I saw my rheumatologist they are going to refer me to a new one. I’m very happy about that! (Side note-my original and favorite rheumatologist moved to Montana about 5 years ago. That’s why my GP was handling my arthritis issues.)
Next, the clinic talked to me about my pain relievers. They are going to have me quit taking tramadol and try slow release Nucynta (100mg). Since Nucynta is a class 2 narcotic, I had to pee into a cup and sign a contract saying that I would behave while taking this drug. I found this to be somewhat embarrassing and insulting but was smart enough to not say anything. That’s an argument for politicians/policy makers and not for a doctor’s office just doing their job.
Today is day 2 on Nucynta and I’m still trying to figure out what I think about taking a class 2 narcotic. However, since its something new to try I’m happy to give it a shot. Time will tell if this was a wise idea or not.
The part I’m most excited about is the cervical epidural steroid shots I’m getting starting September 9th. I hate neck pain more than all my other pains. It hurts the worse and causes me to slip into a depression. Neck pain is the main cause of my headaches that are frequently lasting for 5-7 days lately. My neck pain is also making it incredibly difficult to drive lately too. Switching lanes, merging into traffic, or backing out of a parking spot are becoming problematic for me.
As far as 1st doctor impressions go, this could not have gone better. I’m excited to try the neck injections, o.k. with the narcotic I think, and I like the fact the clinic’s goal is to keep me active. I can’t thank Britt enough for her friendship and guidance as I made the decision to give this option a try. If you are thinking about trying a Pain Management Clinic, I HIGHLY recommend talking to someone who has gone that route already. If you would like, contact me and I will gladly be Britt for you (I fully believe in paying it forward). 🙂
Once again, Britt’s website is www.thehurtblogger.com.
Also, please take a look at www.curearthritis.org.