Sunday, December 13, 2009

pain management

For 17 years I've been battling shoulder pain. I blamed it on the lupus/ fibro, because it showed up at the same time as the illness, but it seems it might instead be connected to my guitar playing habits. Regardless of the cause, it still freaking hurts and keeps me awake most nights. Because I'm now taking low dose naltrexone, I can no longer take the very effective narcotics my doctor prescribed me.

I've also been told for years to avoid advil, of which at one point I was taking 12 pills a day- because it damages your kidneys when you take it habitually. That was upsetting to me, because Advil was so effective and non-narcotic; it didn't make me sleepy, or have any other effects that I was conscious of.

I'm getting acupuncture again, which helps some, but my habits of guitar playing and long drives (my job, in other words) kind of undo the treatments, so I'm still suffering and trying to find ways to manage the pain.

So, I was pretty glad to to hear that ibuprofen is now available as a gel. I got a voltaren Rx from my rhuematologist, but i first heard about the gel's availability from a friend who bought some on

I'm also a fan of icy hot, but you can't use icy hot in combination with a heating pad, which I like to use when the gel isn't enough.

I also sometimes use salonpas capsacium patches, which you can leave on for 8 hours. They can feel a bit like ripping off a bandaid when you remove them, but if you coast them with oil before removing, it helps a lot (I use olive oil even though it grosses my hubby out to be using food products on skin. Well, at least he's not kinky.).

I also have some flexor patches, which are ibuprofen patches. I didn't find them quite as helpful as the gel, which I also use on my foot (I'm not entirely cured of the Morton's neuroma, the inflamed foot thing i developed this past summer and got a couple shots for).

I also have a TENS unit, which has been really helpful at times.

And a suction cup massage device!

And relaxation CDs.

I'm trying an all-natural pain cream recommended by someone on a discussion list. She got it from (use this discount code at and get $5 off any order: DIT074 )

Anybody else got some good tricks you'd like to share?

fight off colds fast

Whenever I feel a cold coming on, I grab my bottle of Umcka cold care and take it every few hours. Rarely do I have a cold last longer than a few days, now that I've discovered this stuff, which was recommended to me, if I recall correctly, by a worker at Whole Foods. Given that I've got an immune system that is always either suppressed by drugs or busy fighting a civil war with my own body, I find it pretty remarkable that I'm able to keep the common cold from lasting more than a couple days, or even worse, landing me in the hospital or turning into pneumonia. It seems to work by boosting immunity and creating a fever, because I always feel kind of feverish about an hour after taking it.
I've been using this stuff (as needed, a couple times a year) for about 8 years now, totally swear by it. Being cold and flu season, I thought I'd write a post about it, in case it might be of help to someone else.