A few years ago my family physician referred me to a Rheumatologist, a specialist in rheumatoid arthritis, who told me I was suffering from fibromyalgia. I’d been experiencing never-ending muscle pain in my upper neck area. I’d gone to Dr. Kinnish because I’d not found relief at the hands of another doctor I’d been seeing. I’d tried to tell her I thought the cholesterol-lowering statin Crestor might be a contributing factor to my chronic pain. But she, and other doctors before her, including the one who’d prescribed Crestor in the first place, paid no heed to what I was saying. After all, I only had a news report to support my claim…far from the expertise of those in the medical profession.
Thankfully Dr. Kinnish took my claim seriously and ordered blood work. The results came back…literally through the roof! Where the norm for CK, Serum is between 24-173, mine was 1228! With my doctor’s guidance, which included the advice to stop taking Crestor, I was able to bring my pain indicator down considerably. At present it stands between 200-300, depending upon the physical activity to which my body’s been subjected in the weeks prior to testing. Sitting in economy seats on 10 hour-plus international flights definitely elevated my muscle aches so that in recent visits to my chiropractor, she said my entire back seemed like that of a football linebacker’s. When I went for a second treatment, she said I was only half a line-backer. Her followup advice? Go back to exercising…to flex my muscles. And that’s what I plan to do.
Meanwhile, I wanted to share the following sound advice from Dr. Peter Abact, author of Take Charge of Your Chronic Pain: The Latest Research, Cutting-Edge Tools, and Alternative Treatments for Feeling Better.
THE INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE now estimates that chronic pain afflicts an estimated 116 million Americans, making it one of the major health problems of our time and one of the biggest reasons people see their doctors or miss work. Odds are that at least one member in every family is dealing with pain at this very moment. Chronic pain can affect every aspect of your life, from how you move your body to what you think and feel.
When you think of pain, you are likely to think about acute pain, which is a symptom of tissue damage and inflammation when you first get injured. This type of pain often gets better with a little rest and responds well to medications.
Chronic pain is very different, because it is an experience that can overwhelm you for months and years. Chronic pain is a disease, and if you aren’t careful it can rob you of things you cherish most in life, such as your independence, health, family and career. Common causes of chronic pain include diseases of the spine, fibromyalgia and arthritis, and it is often accompanied by depression, insomnia and anxiety.
To address chronic pain, you need to start by pursuing two main lines of attack. The first is finding tools you can rely on every day. This might include everything from stretches, special exercises and meditation to taking regular breaks from the computer; with practice and persistence, you will be amazed at what you can do. For example, recent studies have found that both yoga and tai chi are effective in treating the symptoms of muscle pain associated with fibromyalgia, and also that bed rest actually aggravates back pain while walking provides relief.
The second is making the necessary lifestyle changes to create your optimum health. This means reexamining what you do with your time each day. Taking time out each day to focus on yourself is critical to developing an effective pain-management strategy.
Give yourself a break from computers and cell phones, and spend that time preparing a healthy meal, getting some fresh air and exercise or just having some quiet moments to filter out all of the nervous energy running through your brain.
Your body will feel better when you keep it active, and your mind will stay sharper when you lower your stress. And remember, the better you are at taking care of yourself, the more effective you will be at being there for those who love you.
If you’re like me, forever rationalizing my aches and pains to those with doubts, Dr. Abact’s treatise on the subject is a God-send. Rather than talk until I’m “blue in the face,” I’d just swallow my words and ignore the naysayers as best I could. Not an easy task, especially with those whom I’m in regular contact. They look at me as though I’m spewing my usual yada, yada, yada. For those in my position, I hope this brings you some satisfaction in knowing it’s not all in your head…
…but that it truly is…in your body………hugmamma.