My MS Pain Management

MSlisaSAYS shares her experience living with the pain and discomfort of MS.

PAIN

I have heard several physicians; mostly not MS specialists tell me that pain is not associated with MS. My doctor, who is not only a MS specialist, but also a researcher, told me where my pain was located by the location of my lesions. That was gratifying since in this day and time many doctors feel if you are asking for pain medication, you must be a “Drug Seeker”.  I realize these type of medications are addicting, but let me add that research shows that if you are having pain, it is important to treat it effectively in order for you to improve. By no means am I suggesting that you abuse these medications. If over the counter medications are tried first and do not help you, below are a list of things that you may do to assist you with your pain.

Living Section with MS

  • Keep a record of your pain; the date, time of day, where you hurt, what type of pain it is, and also put a number to the severity of your pain. Example of this is a scale of 0-10, with 0 being no pain to 10 being the worst pain you have ever experienced. Keeping this log is important for when you request a script for pain medication.
  • The type of pain is whether it is burning, aching, throbbing, shooting, nagging, numbing, exhausting, etc. This will help assist your physician with the type of medication he/she needs to order.
  • List over the counter medications you have tried, what they did if any to help you, how long it lasted, and what type and severity of the pain you where having at the time. If you take say Aleve when you are at a level 7 or 8, the pain may be long past the time frame for that type of medication to help you.
  • It is important to take the lower level, (over the counter) pain medication at the first sign of pain before going to your prescription medication. Allow it time to work, adjust your activity level to a resting state to help it achieve its goal.
  • There are short acting and long acting pain medication on the market. The short acting does exactly what it says; it works over a 4-6 hour time frame. This means that during that 4-6 hour time, its maximum dose peaks in half of the time, rising to the level between 2-3 hours then falling in strength. The long acting medications last anywhere from 8-12 hours with some 24 hour to lasting a couple of days depending on which medication is prescribed. Most physicians prefer the long acting pain meds due to the longer length of time that they help reducing the amount of medication you have to take. It doesn’t have that up and down feeling that short acting medications have. It is harder to abuse these types of medications as well.
  • Most physicians are uncomfortable with ordering any pain medication for any length of time. I have found that if you have chronic pain, make an appointment with a Pain Specialist. This type of physician treats only chronic pain. Most States have required forms that must be completed for patients who are treated with pain medication, or level 3 drugs. Most physicians don’t like messing with this paper work therefore won’t prescribe pain meds for any length of time. With the pain specialist, that is exactly what they do to keep in compliance with the regulations. They also treat with other medications that will assist with your pain besides narcotics. My pain physician has been a God send and has helped with many of my MS symptoms as well. I urge you to go this route.

 

Having this type of specialist also requires you to be responsible with your medications. Most of them do drug testing to make sure you are compliant with their orders. It is not a trust issue; it is a protection for them that abuse of such medication is not taking place. Remember, it is their license on the line if abuse is going on and fatality happens while in their care.  Check out pain specialist before making an appointment. Some only treat with injections only such as a steroid to a particular site, not treatment of over all pain. Do your research to make sure they are good, ask questions. You can find all this information on the internet.

Be sure to use tips to treat pain that you have also tried before such as heat to a site, or ice packs, decreased your activity level during painful periods. DO NOT DRIVE OR OPPERATE MACHINERY while taking medication until you see how it affects you. Driving under the influence of narcotics is as serious as driving impaired from alcohol. If you are hurting bad enough to require prescription pain medication, you don’t need to be behind the wheel anyway.

Remember, also keep a log each day of how you are doing, keeping close attention to listing any prescription nausea or pain medication that you are taking, how they are working, and how often you are taking them each day. This will help assist your physician will treating your correctly.

MS Blogger and Multiple Sclerosis Activist shares her journey living with MS, tips for others living MS and her husband, Steve, offers his insight as a caregiver for MS.