Pain Management

When I am in pain, it seems like all I want to do is read about how to relieve or prevent it. Yesterday, I ran across this article talking about how the CDC recommends the use of NSAID’s for chronic pain and how the European Heart Journal warns that NSAID’s may increase cardiovascular risk and questions the safety of them altogether. Such contradictory information.

I don’t take any prescription pain relievers or muscle relaxers for my fibromyalgia pain. They wear my body down and leave me feeling like crap. It is a temporary solution that prolongs the discomfort…for me. I know that many people need these tools to function at all and I am not judging. All chronic pain sufferers need to do what works best for them. It is just not a viable option for me.


Erin Jang Illustration

For the past fifteen years I have popped Advil (ibuprofen) like it was nothing. Pain in my body, sinus headaches, migraines, cramps…I took it for everything, every week, sometimes every day. I don’t know that it provided me much relief, but I took it anyway. In fact, I know it didn’t help with migraines, but I would take it just in case, like it was some harmless and benign thing.

Sometime in the last year, I developed an ulcer from this regular and excessive use and it didn’t take me long to figure out that my time with ibuprofen was over. I tried acetaminophen, but it did nothing at all. So now, I don’t take anything for the pain. But you know what? I don’t feel any different. I am still in pain like before, not more pain, just the same pain. Apparently the Advil was not providing any real relief either.

Preventing pain in the first place is the desired plan, but often you don’t have any control, so I have learned to use different tools for managing pain more effectively. Surprisingly, I am learning about how the different types of pain actually feel instead of lumping it all together. Some pain needs heat, some ice. Some responds to massage and Tiger Balm, some needs a lidocaine rub. Some pain has a trigger point and some responds to stretching. Sinus pressure and cluster headaches are still tricky and some pain doesn’t respond to anything but sleep. Last night I had one of those neck, sinus, cluster-aches from hell. Allergy season is the worst.


This is not my picture, but if I had a pile of everything I’ve tried, it would look similiar!

The list of supplements I have tried for my various fibromyalgia ailments is huge. Some help, some work for a bit and then don’t and some didn’t agree with me at all. But I keep trying. I have decided to try a new supplement, DL-Phenylalanine (DLPA) that may help with chronic pain and depression. It is an amino acid that essentially slows down the enzymes that “eat up” endorphins and therefore may have some effect on pain, but the research is admittedly thin. The studies in its use against depression are better, as L-phenylalanine plays a role in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine, but again, who knows. I am going to try it for a bit and see what happens.

Do you have any other over-the-counter pain remedies or suggestions that ease your pain? Have any of you tried DLPA?

I hope you all have a great week!




2 thoughts on “Pain Management

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