Sometimes anti-inflammatories are my best option to manage pain
I need to be better about remembering to take pain meds when necessary
Note: This column describes the author’s own experiences with anti-inflammatories. Not everyone will have the same response to treatment. Consult your doctor before starting or stopping a therapy.
For someone who daily manages chronic pain, courtesy of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), I’m surprisingly bad at it. Sometimes I don’t manage it at all. I plow through, pretending like the pain’s not there. While feigned ignorance can be useful sometimes, it’s typically not a great long-term strategy. As the past few weeks have shown, sometimes my total oblivion to my own issues will backfire.
I’ve been sore recently, especially in the muscles along my rib cage that connect to my right hip. Carting around my almost-2-year-old niece who’s visiting probably hasn’t helped, but you do what you need to do. I’ve also been incredibly busy with barn work now that I’m on summer vacation as a teacher. I generally manage my pain best by being active, but sometimes I need a little help.
I’m really bad about taking pain medication. And I’m not talking about anything strong — just over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen, or, at most, my prescription for diclofenac. I just forget it’s an option.
I realize that doesn’t make sense. If I’m supersore and the pain isn’t improving, wouldn’t taking some anti-inflammatories be a logical next step? Yep. But for some reason, doing so rarely crosses my mind.
That’s probably related to how I often cope by pushing forward and blocking out my pain as much as possible. But sometimes I need pain meds to help calm down angry, inflamed muscles. I’ve been having trouble sleeping recently, not because I’m not tired (thanks, EDS chronic fatigue), but because I’ve struggled to get comfortable. It takes me a long time to fall asleep, and once I do, I wake up every few hours because I’m in pain and need to move around.
Recently, I’ve remembered to use my heating pad, which helps calm down the cramping in my back muscles and keep it from getting worse. But I spent almost two weeks with my heating pad before I thought, “Hmm, maybe I should take some ibuprofen before bed.”
Unsurprisingly, I slept better than I had in weeks. The meds helped quiet down the pain enough that I could get to sleep and stay asleep longer before waking up uncomfortable. I was also less stiff when I got up in the morning.
While I try not to take anti-inflammatories too often, sometimes they’re necessary to break the cycle of pain, allowing me to get my symptoms under control. I just need to be better about remembering them!
What’s your relationship to anti-inflammatories? Is it similar to mine? Please respond in the comments below.
Note: Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.