Pain Management

For a number of years now I have struggled with pain in my chest from the years of severe asthma which has led to scarring mainly on my left side. There has been scarring building up in the pleural space and makes each breath feel like my lung is rubbing against my chest wall. You can often hear this when my chest is listened too.

I have been able to manage the pain for this relatively well and actually since giving up work I have found that I have been able to reduce my maintenance pain killers. I take co-codamol x2 30/500mg, and I can take this 4 times a day but sometimes only need it twice a day. I have oral morphine which I can take as break through. I tend to use it a lot when my chest is bad and I am having to breathe more than normal and the effort is more which makes the rubbing pain more intense. The main thing that has been the game changed for me pain management wise is using lidocaine patches. I wear one of these on my chest where the main is most intense and I have found them to be great. I was skeptical at first but was really pleasantly surprised and as a result I have been able to stop taking nefopam, reduce my morphine intake, and don’t need to take maximum co-codamol each day either.

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Having spent a long time getting this balance right I feel so frustrated that I am now faced with a different type of pain and a type of pain I just cant get on top of.

Since getting the injury to the nerves in my leg I have struggled with pain and it is a pain that I struggle to describe. It is a kind of hot pain. Like having a stitch constantly and then when you move you feel like there is red hot pokers being stabbed down my leg. The pain will ease a bit of I straighten out my hip and will really intensify if I bend my hips to less than a 90 degree angle so everyday activities just keep increasing the pain. By the end of the day I just have to lie down and hope that it will ease off enough to let me get some sleep.

On top of the pain relief I take for my chest I have been started on gabapentin to try and help the nerve pain. It helps a bit but I feel deflated as it really is not getting on top of the pain as I would like. I have recently just had to increase my nighttime dose so I am hoping that this will help settle things over night.

I have tried so many other methods of pain relief other than using painkillers. I tried a TENS machine, massage, stretching, mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation and various other things. I don’t want to just reach for drugs the whole time to get on top of pain.

I am really concerned that I will become more reliant on pain killers than I already am and Im only 34 I still have the rest of life ahead of me and scared that I might run out of options and have to live in pain.

I have asked to be referred to the pain team at the hospital in the hope that we might be able to get on top of the pain better and get a better management plan for mainly my leg pain but also perhaps they might have ideas for my chest pain too.

Pain is just another aspect that effects your life when living with chronic conditions. Who would think that “just” asthma could cause so much trouble and impact life in so many other ways that you would never think.

I have everything crossed that we might be able to get on top of things better!!

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