Medication can be magic – but is it good or bad magic?

Home ThinkSpace Week 4: Pain Management Medication can be magic – but is it good or bad magic?

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  • For many, their first instinct to resolve pain is to take a medication of some kind. Few conditions come with a miracle drug that removes the symptoms without imposing some kind of side effect. For most migraineurs, they are first prescribed a triptan of some sort to treat their headache. It comes with several warnings, as most medications do, but they include two that are particularly frustrating. The first is a short-term issue – they cause immense drowsiness (in me), meaning that while I might be pain-free I’m still somewhat useless for a similar period of time. Even if the migraine is gone, it sort of “won.” The second issue is one of long-term concern – migraineurs must be careful when taking triptans as it is possible to enter a withdrawal loop from the triptans that causes migraines. It sometimes makes me wonder “is it worth it?” but also, makes it harder to manage the migraines. Is it better to semi-function in pain if I can’t spare an hour or two to take a nap? If I take it too many times will I end up in a self-fulfilling migraine prophecy?

    How do medications help or hinder you in managing your pain?

    #paincations #painorfog #mymedicationmessesmeup #Idonttrusttriptans

    Samantha Kaplan
  • Three times in my life I had to go through “withdrawal” from overuse of OTC migraine meds. The first time I thought I could muscle through it and be fine. I wanted to die. The doctor had suggested that I was over-using OTCs and gave me a prescription for prednisone to help me through the withdrawal. I didn’t believe him (that I was over-using) and didn’t expect to go through the hellish vomiting, pain, and other reactions to cold-turkey termination of meds. Well, the next time I knew better and took the prednisone and after that I devised my own withdrawal plan that didn’t require additional drugs. Then I monitored my intake more closely so as to avoid dealing with over-use problems. It sometimes meant skipping meds that might have helped me through a day and just suffering in a dark room, but that was better than withdrawal down the road.

    No other migraine drug I’ve taken has actually made a difference in my pain, and I’ve pretty much tried them all, starting in the 80’s with Cafergot PB. HORRIBLE drug. I’ve done anti-depressants, anti-convulsants, muscle relaxers, triptans, beta blockers, alpha blockers, botox, generalized pain meds (e.g. Lyrica), anti-anxiety meds, and I just don’t even remember what else. In a way, I’m glad they didn’t work because after a few weeks or months, I was able to stop and didn’t have to deal with the horrible side effects some have.

    I do love prednisone, though. It will knock my headaches out in a heart beat. But no doctor would ever give anyone that as a regular treatment.

    #migraine #drugs #sideeffects #prednisone #overuse #withdrawal

  • I have a pain that hasn’t been diagnosed yet, and that has made my relationship with medicine a little interesting for a couple of reasons. 1) I haven’t wanted to mask my pain or cover up any symptoms because it might inhibit myself from being able to feel and translate my pain to others who could help diagnose it. 2) Trying out different medicines has somewhat helped in the search for a diagnosis by helping narrow down the possibilities. For example, I was prescribed a really strong anti-inflammatory (Nabumetone) and it had zero effect on my pain. Then, on the assumption that I must be feeling nerve pain, I was prescribed gabapentin which had some effect, but didn’t seem to relieve all of my pain. Eventually I stopped both of those because I got so uncomfortable with the idea of masking my pain instead of learning to work with it and try to resolve it. Also, when a doctor expressed shock that I haven’t developed severe gastrointestinal problems from taking a powerful NSAID for so long, it made me think I should give it a rest.
    #maskingsymptoms #narrowingthepainsources #NSAIDs

    Rachel Carriere

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