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Chronic Pain - PLEASE help!

(9 Posts)
Jilkh Mon 30-May-11 21:43:17

I'll try and be brief. Your advice would be so much appreciated!

I have chronic neck/migraine and wrist pain that has escalated over the last year. I'm now 26/7 weeks pregnant and feeling very frightened. In this sort of pain (and accompanying insomnia), I don't know how I'll care for my baby, or even keep it together emotionally for myself. My husband is supportive and of course he will do everything he can - but he is only human!

Medical Info -
An MRI scan has showed slight bulging and premature degeneration from C4-C7. This doesn't explain the degree of pain (and accompanying insomnia) but no further help - or physiotherapy - is available on the NHS. Presently, I'm taking codeine/paracetemol (30mg daily), zolpidem (10mg daily) and amytriptyline (25mg daily). Incidentally, I'm more worried than I can say about how the baby is coping with this cocktail, or how she will manage without it post-delivery.

My GP has suggested that after pregnancy I consider taking Lyrica. I understand this is generally used to treat epilepsy. The side-effects sound incapacitating. Has anyone successfully cared for a baby while taking it?

Really, I'd like to know if anyone been here before? My midwife/GP aren't aware of any help beyond Homestart - but surely there must be a book or support network I haven't come across? It would be a comfort to know that someone else has felt as clueless as I do today!

Any/all suggestions would be so gratefully appreciated.

Dorje Mon 30-May-11 22:56:18

I hope you are feeling better soon.
i don't have anything to say about your condition, but i got terrible wrist and pelvic (spd) when I was pregnant and it eventually went away when I was breastfeeding.
I have one question about the OTC meds you are on - you do know that codine is an opiate? Does your GP know you are on opiates and pg? Paracetamol is linked with asthma in babies also.

Other than that I'll just say that things can clear up after birth, so not to worry about your wrists too much. For your neck, make sure you aren't sitting in a draft.

Best of luck with it all smile sounds like yo have a lot of support.

hiddenhome Mon 30-May-11 23:00:55

I think that perhaps your GP should refer you to a pain clinic which will be based at your local hospital. You need to keep insisting that they help you as raising your baby is an important job and you should be properly supported in this.

Sorry to not be of much help. I'm more familiar with palliative care pain control.

Try not to worry too much about the meds you're currently taking. They're safe during pregnancy.

I hope you manage to get some help/advice.

AngryFeet Mon 30-May-11 23:03:48

Have you contacted a local pain clinic? Also has bottom been suggested for your neck and head problems?

AngryFeet Mon 30-May-11 23:04:42

Oh my god I am so sorry! Damn autocorrect - that was supposed to be botox not bottom! blush

hiddenhome Mon 30-May-11 23:05:45

The link between paracetamol during pregnancy and subsequent asthma in babies/children is very small hmm other factors about the mothers' lifestyles weren't taken into account either.

Codeine isn't a major opiate and is well tolerated.

tribpot Mon 30-May-11 23:17:03

Poor you. My dh has suffered from chronic pain for many years and has successfully taken Lyrica (among many other things you don't want to know about) whilst looking after a baby (he's a SAHD). Have a look here for some more info about Lyrica.

I would agree about a referral to the pain clinic. It may be that your GP is under the impression the pain might 'sort itself out' once you're no longer pregnant but as it predates it, and it's hardly in a part of your body hugely affected by pregnancy (so not lower back, pelvis, for example) this seems a bit optimistic to me. (I have no medical training, I should add).

We started off with a private referral to the local pain specialist, this was obviously a lot quicker than an NHS one and so might be able to put your mind at rest sooner if you can afford it.

In terms of support, my experience is that it's pretty rubbish for chronic pain and some GPs can be rather out of their depth with it. My dh has had some limited success with acupuncture and heat therapies, so that might be worth looking into post-birth.

There are lots and lots of books about chronic pain but I'd try to get some more medical advice first. My dh has sorted of been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which made this book very useful.

Hope some of this helps - keep posting, there are a number of us who deal with fibro/chronic pain who can hopefully suggest some strategies for you.

Jilkh Tue 31-May-11 21:12:34

Just want to thank you for your advice, it's very kind of you to take the trouble.

Regarding a pain clinic, we've paid twice to see a specialist, which is how I came to be taking the current medications. In my opinion, it wasn't a success! We also paid to have a medical opinion on the effect of these medications on the baby's health.

The doctors seem content to draw a blank, both in terms of diagnosis and pain relief. It seems no further diagnosis is likely to be made. I'm 31 and not testing positive for anything obvious. The MRI scan doesn't show degeneration that would cause this amount of pain.

If anyone knows of books/websites or has personal experience on parenting with chronic pain, please do let me know!

I will look into the botox and fibromyalgia ideas!

DazR Tue 31-May-11 21:38:00

Hi there, I have suffered from chronic pain in my shoulder and also golfer's elbow this past year. Was on high codeine/paracetamol mix and also diclofenac (anti-inflammatory). I was also very worried about what the future held, would I be able to cope etc. etc. My breakthrough came when I went down a self-help route. There is a lot of help on the internet if you google 'chronic pain and stress' which shows that you are probably in a vicious circle (as I was) with the anxiety causing you to feel the pain more. If you can break out of this cycle by using relaxation, positive thinking - not dwelling on the pain and the future (or any other method you can find e.g. yoga, meditation) - just live for the day and concentrate on enjoying your pregnancy. Banish all negative thoughts. I was a bit doubtful about this but it certainly worked for me - I put the thought of pain away - and just did as much as I wanted to do (or could do). A few weeks later the pain has lessened to a much more manageable level and I have got my life back and feel in control. I have stopped the painkillers altogether and just take a couple of diclofenac a day. It is amazing what power the mind has over the body - give it a go!
Here are a couple of links to get you thinking!!
http://pain.about.com/od/livingwithchronicpain/a/relaxation.htm
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/features/article7054236.ece

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