Image courtesy of LDN Research Trust
Many years ago, I received the diagnosis of adhesions. It was very bittersweet. After years of being told that there was absolutely nothing causing my chronic pain (one doctor even highly suggested that I seek the help of a psychiatrist to figure out what was “really” wrong with me), I was told that I was not only not crazy, but that there was actually a reason that I hurt so bad. The adhesions had completely encompassed my entire abdomen, essentially turning me into “stone” because every organ was completely attached to the organ next to it. My intestines were not only out of place, but connected to my abdominal wall, making surgery to try to lysis (remove) them impossible…so I would have to live with this pain for the rest of my life.
I tried for a long time to avoid opioid medication, and managed to go quite a while without it, until one day the pain had gotten so bad that it was affecting my blood pressure. At that point it was highly recommended that I be put on pain control medication. I was able to manage it with my doctor for a few years. Later, I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia. This completely changed things because now I was not only fighting severe abdominal and pelvic pain, but also widespread body pain. It got to the point where the doctor could no longer control the pain and I had to seek help from a pain management clinic.
At my first pain management clinic, I tried several nerve blocks unsuccessfully and eventually was given a pain patch that would control the pain 24 hours as opposed to the short term medications I had been taking. It was a very strong medication, but it did it’s job for a couple of years, until I decided that there had to be another way…I just had to look for it…
Fast forward a couple of years…I was able to take myself off of the pain medications that they had prescribed me. (How and why I did this is a very long story for another day)…suffice it to say that I was able to stop the heavy doses of opioid pain medication with little to no withdrawals…and remain off of it for almost a year. However, again, I was unable to control the severe daily pain I was dealing with. I did my research and found another way…an off-label use of a medication that was originally prescribed to treat drug and alcohol addiction. At first I couldn’t believe what I was reading! Instead of being used at the 50-100mg dose that was prescribed for addicts, a doctor (his name evades me right now, but I will look it up in case anyone wants that information) had discovered that at very low doses (1-4.5 mg) this medication actually treats chronic pain and muscle spasms. This medication is naloxone, but used in this way it is referred to as LDN – Low Dose Naltrexone. It has been shown to be very effective at treating not only fibromyalgia pain, but also has done wonders for people with multiple sclerosis! I decided that I just had to try it…but where would I get it? After doing more research (yes…I tend to do a lot of research lol) I found only one clinic here that is using this new medication to treat chronic pain….so, I made an appointment.
After going through a few steps to see the doctor (they have a way of “weeding” people out), I finally saw the doctor and was given the normal starting dose of 1mg. I will take the 1mg for up to two weeks (possibly less if I’m able to handle the side effects, which up to this point have been minimal…actually, barely noticeable) and then I will go up to 1.5mg. I will be honest that the first few days were NOT FUN! I had to completely stop the opioid pain pills I was on before starting the LDN. Then, came the waiting period for it to get into my system (it is taken only once daily…at bedtime). However, after the second day I started to feel better. I am now on day 3 of this new treatment and I can already feel that my mood has improved, as well as my energy levels. My pain is somewhat better, however not yet controlled to the point of full relief. I will definitely keep y’all updated to my progress!
Even though I have been on this medication for a short time, I truly believe that it will help. I encourage any of you suffering from chronic pain to research this medication and talk to your doctors to see if it is an option for you. It feels so much better not to be on the opioid medication! My bowels are working again and I feel more “alert”. I am so excited to be on this journey and I hope you all follow along to see how it goes and how this medication could be helpful to you.
Until next time my dear friends….