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Inflammatory pain worsened by stress & fatigue - any ideas?

Discussion in 'Post-Exertional Malaise, Fatigue, and Crashes' started by Sasha, May 31, 2010.

  1. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

    I feel a bit slow for never trying to get my ME/CFS pain treated. It's an inflammatory pain that starts between my shoulder blades when I get overtired and radiates out and intensifies if I've really pushed it. No other bits of me hurt (I realise I am very lucky). I'm under a bit of stress at the moment, though, and have also accumulated a bit more fatigue than is sensible and the pain has flared up.

    It's usually not severe enough for me to have sought treatment for it - I've tended to use it as a useful marker that I've overdone it - but painkillers I've taken for other things such as mefanamic acid and paracetomol have never touched it in the past.

    I'm not in agony or anything but think it would be useful to know what to try - I don't want or need to be on anything long-term but don't want to have to try ten things before I can find something that works.

    Does anyone have any advice on how to approach this? I realise it may be a complex question! :rolleyes: I am grateful that I am not in serious pain and that it's not constant.
  2. Jenny

    Jenny Senior Member

    Hi Sasha

    I've never used much for pain until recently, but have just started tramadol and it seems to work quite well. It also calms me down and cheers me up a bit (I've heard it increased serotonin). Does cause some constipation though.

  3. Victoria

    Victoria Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    I was prescribed Tramadol some years ago & unfortunately had an allergic reaction & woke up in the middle of the night covered in thousands of itchy red spots. A second dose (to test whether tramadol was the culprit) caused the same reaction, but to a much lesser degree.

    BUT, it did work on the pain.

    I still like my lavender oil on a woolly hot water bottle cover (held over the painful shoulder, back, limb). Doesn't always work for severe pain, but the calming qualities of Lavender essential oil at least relax you & contribute towards a lessening of the pain.

    So Lavender reduces the stress in effect, also.

    I choose Lavender, because it has other properties like healing burns that I make use of (I am clumsy & when I am fatigued, I used to do silly things like touching hot dishes etc). Now I don't have the fatigue, I am not clumsy). Chamomile essential oil is the best anti-inflammatory oil of all time (& is also calming & de-stressing).

    Panadol does absolutely nothing for me. An aspirin based medication works well for inflammatory pain, but you do need to eat food with aspirin as it has a detrimental effect on the stomach lining & long term use can cause irritation & ulcers.

    I believe there are some modern aspirin based products nowadays, which have an Duentric @ coating to protect the stomach.

    The herb Feverfew (tablets) gives relief to some 86% of Migraine sufferers. That might be worth a try & does not have the side effects of Aspirin. Feverfew has anti-inflammatory action.

    Yesterday when I was talking to my brother, I suddenly realised that I've taken almost no analgesics in recent weeks (despite severe sciatic & hip pain), simply because I'm not working now & can distract myself from the pain much more easily. My liver function is not as good as it could be, due to the drugs I have to take, so my aim is to avoid prescription analgesics where possible now.

    As inflammation is the body's way of responding to damage or threat. It is also a sign that the body's defence mechanisms are being mobilised. To this extent, inflammation can be seen as a useful process, as the increased blood supply and locally raised temperature both serve to neutralise infections & speed healing.

    Mind you, this body response doesn't stop it hurting.

    Also check your acid/akaline food balance. When inflammation occurs, it is excaberated by acid producing foods. Lower your intake of meat (especially red meat), fish, dairy, all grains (except millet) & acidic fruits for a few days during an inflammatory attack.

    Eat/drink plenty of lemons. Lemons (despite some acid) form an akaline ash in the body & are very good for arthritis & inflammatory complaints.

    Bromelain (found in pineapples) is also good for inflammation.

    And Tumeric (used for thousands of years in Auvedic medicine) has been proven in recent times by Western scientific research to be a very powerful anti-inflammatory.

    And the best advice is get plenty of restful sleep & avoid stress in the first place (something that was totally impossible for me when I was working).

    I just could not avoid stress. I was a constant worrier. I was stressed trying to work full-time (for the money), when I really needed more restful sleep & reducing my worries about everything.
  4. Misfit Toy

    Misfit Toy Senior Member

    Hi there! I have the same thing happen when I am tired. This is what works for me. MAGNESIUM in liquid spray form for the body. It gets into my back and calms down the fibro. Made by Ancient Minerals. It's fabulous. It is so good for us CFS and fibro folks. Also, flexoril. Flexoril was originally an antidepressant. Take it at bedtime for pain and sleep. It helps one sleep. Also, darvocet helps me. Calming teas like chamomile calm me down and the pain. BIOFREEZE can help the pain.

    A hot bath with epsom salts. A heating pad. I have chamomile oil that calms me down. I put it on my temples at night. I take remeron for sleep. It's an antidepressant that knocks me out. I use it for sleep and take a 1/4 pill. Crazy small amt, but helps with pain too. GABA at bedtime. 5HTP can help with sleep and pain.

    I hope that helps some! TAKE IT EASY...that is huge.
  5. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

    Logan, Queensland, Australia
    Hi Sasha

    An often overlooked cause of this type of problem (I used to have what you describe) is static muscle stress. Postural muscles in the back or shoulders can become chronically active for long periods. When we are particularly fatigued, they are even worse. When fatigue is very severe in a muscle group for very long periods, a slow burning diffuse pain ensues. What are you doing, how are you sitting or lying or standing when this happens? I am not saying this is the cause, but only that it could be.

    I think that in CFS, either due to low muscle energy or active virus in the muscle, we can cause subtle molecular damage, possibly to the mitochondria. In my case I finally beat all these problems by simply not overstressing those muscles for many years, but I now have a permanent tendency for them to return in each and every one of these muscles if I push things too far.


  6. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

    Thanks, everybody, for these suggestions! There are certainly some things there I can try straight off (might start with feverfew because of the lack of side effects).

    Good question, Alex, about posture. I get the pain whether I'm sitting, standing or lying but because I'm mostly sofa-bound my muscles are weak and my posture is poor. I spend most of my time slumped. I've wondered whether that might be contributing; If so, I'm not sure how to tell or what to do about it (I don't have the energy to sit upright properly).

    Sorry not to comment or thank people in more detail - I'm quite tired at the moment - but I'm really grateful for everyone's comments and hope they might help others with similar pain.
  7. lululowry

    lululowry Senior Member

    Athens, Georgia
    Hi Sasha,
    I get pain in my back - just exactly the way you describe it. I have had it for years and years. One thing that has helped me recently is a very simple yoga posture. I take a therapeutic yoga class and my teacher always has us start with 10-15 minutes like this to help drain the lymphatic system: simply lay on the floor with your feet resting on the seat of a chair. Your legs are bent so that you might look like you're sitting in a chair if viewed from the side. You can put a cushion under your hips and do whatever you need to do to be comfortable with your feet (doesn't matter if they are together or apart). The important thing is to get your legs above your heart - this allows gravity to help stimulate the flow of lymph fluid and increase drainage. Sometimes it takes me a while to get comfortable in this position, but once I do, I stay in it as long as I can and it eventually provides me great relief from that radiating back pain. One caution: come out of this very slowly. I get very dizzy when I get up from lying down anyway, so I first take my legs down, then roll over very slowly to my side, then take a good while to slowly get up.

    Also, I really appreciate the other suggestions. I do take Tramadol sometimes when it is very bad but I cannot take any over the counter analgesics so am always looking for other ideas. I am ordering the magnesium spray today - that sounds great! (thanks spitfire!)

    I am also going to try feverfew Victoria. I have heard about it but never tried it. And tumeric - I am not sure how to take that - in capsules?

    Anyway, thanks for bringing it up!:D
  8. Victoria

    Victoria Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Here's a bit more info about Feverfew from Wikipedia to save you looking it up.
    Ensure you read the adverse effects notes.........

    I never knew it contained a large amount of melatonin.

    The word "feverfew" derives from the Latin febrifugia, meaning "fever reducer."[2] It has been used for reducing fever, for treating headaches, arthritis and digestive problems.[3] It is hypothesized that by inhibiting the release of serotonin and prostaglandins, both of which are believed to aid the onset of migraines, feverfew limits the inflammation of blood vessels in the head.[4] This would, in theory, stop the blood vessel spasm which is believed to contribute to headaches. Feverfew may also have GABAergic effects. The active ingredients in feverfew include parthenolide and tanetin. Capsules or tablets of feverfew generally contain at least 205 mcg. parthenolide; however, it might take four to six weeks before they become effective, and feverfew is not a remedy for acute migraine attacks. Parthenolide has also been found in 2005 to induce cell death in leukemia cancer stem cells.[5] Feverfew has been used by Aveeno skincare brand to calm red and irritated skin.
    Feverfew contains a relatively large amount of melatonin.[6]
    Evidence that it prevents migraine is limited.[7]
    [edit] Adverse effects

    Adverse effects include: gastrointestinal distress, mouth ulcers, and antiplatelet actions.[citation needed]
    Allergic reactions can occur in persons allergic to ingredients of feverfew. There are case reports that topical creams containing feverfew may cause allergic contact dermatitis.[8]
    If feverfew is taken for any length of time as a medicinal herb, sudden discontinuation can result in a withdrawal syndrome consisting of headache, irritability, trouble sleeping and joint pain. As with any other medicinal herb, consult with a knowledgeable practitioner before beginning treatment with this herb.[citation needed]

    It is contraindicated in pregnancy.[9]
  9. serenity

    serenity Senior Member

    i use something called Buddha Balm. it works very well to help with minor pain.
    i had an upper back injury that was the beginning of all my health problems so my back/neck pain gets quite severe.
    gentle exercise helps very much.
    Spitfire it is funny you mention Gaba & 5HTP as i have a friend who recently recommended these on advice from her acupuncturist.
    do you know if i can take the 5HTP is i have minor sleep apnea?
    (Gaba does nothing for me)

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