Saturday, October 6, 2012

Drugs, Drugs everywhere

So, I'm something like the opposite of a drug-seeker.  I am, in fact, a drug-avoider.  I dodge medications whenever humanly possible.  They scare me.  I have an arrhythmia, I'm diabetic, and I have a history of gastric ulcer.  Plus I'm on a beta blocker for the arrhythmia.  As a result, I really do fear new medications. 

A few months ago, I went to see an ENT for a miserable pain in my neck, jaw, and face.  Being me, I'd waited for a couple of months before breaking down and going in.  Hey, that $35 copay may seem like nothing to some, but to us, it's a hit.  Especially after the avalanche of copays earlier this year.  The ENT's expert opinion?

Anxiety.  I have a bad case of nerves.  And, considering the stress level, I could go along with that.  Heck, I wanted to go along with it.  He prescribed something called Metataxalone aka Skelaxin, and sent me on my way.  I never took even one of those pills.  I was too scared.

Fast forward a few months.  The back pain, which I've had on and off since the move over a year ago (wowser "on" for months after the move, then a bit better, now brutal), finally drove me to see my PCP (or the doc standing in for her while she's out on maternity leave, actually).  As I posted earlier today, the verdict is osteoarthritis/degenerative disc disease.  Back pain aside, common symptoms are neck, jaw, and facial pain.  Sound familiar?

Luckily, I still have a whole script for Skelaxin.  And I just took one, because the pain tonight is amazing.  It's not like the lower back/blown discs pain.  No, this is a mixture of burning, strained, raw, grainy, pins-and-needles, and, as strange as it sounds, cold.  If you ever went to college, you probably remember the back/neck ache that came from lousy posture and a head bent over a book for hours at a time.  It's like that, but from mid-back through the base of my skull.  Makes me want to scream.

I'll wander back in later and let you know how the pill did.  The prescription NSAID (diclofenac) didn't do squat earlier today. 

1 comment:

  1. I know how you feel with all the meds! I take 4 different scripts daily, and any time I get a new one, even if it's just temporary, like an antibiotic, I feel like I'm on an all-pill diet. The side-effects and interactions just increase the anxiety.
    Now, for some free PT advice. I had the same jaw/neck/shoulder pain you describe. This might not do the trick, but it's free so... anyway. First, pay attention to how you hold your head while you're on the computer or tablet. Is your head tilted or turned to one side, even slightly? Try to sit with your head above your shoulders, and facing forward. Next, notice your pillow. When you're laying in bed trying to sleep, how comfortable is your pillow, and how well is it supporting your neck? Make sure you're level and your neck or shoulder isn't holding you in position. (I am a side sleeper, and was using my neck as a kickstand) Do whatever you have to do to fix things there. Last, try "unwinding" your neck. sit straight, shoulders back, and slowly move your head from side to side, ie. look over one shoulder, then the next. You can also do this while lying down on your back, with knees bent so your back is flat. This will unkink the muscles. I also find that rolling my shoulders helps. I can also suggest some exercises to strengthen those muscles if you like. I learned these techniques in massage school, (I know it sounds all new-agey) they are the same things that a physical therapist will suggest.