A journey from intense pain to nearly pain free ~
Pain is life altering. If you’re in pain, you know that. The question is, what makes pain worse and what makes pain go away?
Low B12 and spinal cord degeneration
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported a correlation between low levels of vitamin B12 and subacute spinal cord degeneration, which was made worse by an excess of folic acid from eating leafy green vegetables or using folic acid supplements without a balancing source of additional B12. About 20% of study’s B12 deficient subjects complained of back and spine pain. Some of these had stiff “poker” backs. Human Dietary Deficiencies of Vitamin B12, Frank Wokes, PH.D., J. Badenoch, M.D., and H. M. Sinclair, M.D.
Rest often relieves pain
Rest isn’t as easy as it sounds. It may seem as if a nap is rest, but if you’ve run your nervous system hard for years, one or two or even a week’s worth of naps won’t restore your nerves.
Here’s an example, when I had tetanus I could not tell from day to day if I was getting worse or better. It was only after I began keeping a TimeLine that I could see that if I did not to do too much (and that was very little indeed) I could be up a few more seconds every day. That is slow improvement and it’s hard to accept that such small change is the best there is. But, it’s worse not to recognize that small improvement is possible. So, keep notes. Once you see that by taking it very easy for a few weeks you can do things pain free for a few minutes you will be able to feel more confident that rest will work.
It’s hard to do so little that it will not set you back. That’s the bugaboo. Plus, if something stressful happens you can rest all day and still be worse than you were the day before.
For example, one day I was in bed all day without doing anything physical. All I did was fill in forms to file Chapter 13. But at 2:30 p.m. when someone came to collect the papers to file them for me, I was bent over and in pain as if I’d been doing physically demanding work.
If you keep a TimeLine you will get an idea of what your limits are. Once you know those limits you can make real gains as long as you remain respectful of them.
When I’m careful and exercise gradually I get so I can walk around a store. When I’m not careful I get worse and have to use the store’s electric scooter, else the pain becomes so great within five minutes that I can’t stand.
Rest with gradually increasing exercise of a gentle nature is a powerful restorative for pain problems related to the nervous system.
While rest is excellent for nerves, rest can take a toll on muscles and contribute to weight gain which often contributes to pain, so it’s a bit of a vicious circle.
1/16/2011 ~ Low B12 levels sometimes cause leg bone pain so severe that the pain makes sleeping almost impossible. And, without sleep all pain escalates. The first time I experienced leg bone pain I had no idea the pain was related to low B12, I just knew it was becoming more and more excruciating. Commonly leg bone pain follows or comes in proximity to sciatica attacks, which are also occasioned by low B12.
When I had B12 replacement the pain subsided and eventually went away. Since then I’ve experienced stress so severe that the leg bone pain came back. In one instance I wore out a new fitted sheet within a couple of weeks because I moved my legs so much, trying to escape or lessen the pain.
Wells Fargo and pain
It was a relief in 2009 when Wells Fargo put me into HAMP loan modification. Perhaps if it hadn’t been such a huge relief it wouldn’t have been so extremely stressful when Wells Fargo reneged after I made my trial period payments. The stress of Wells Fargo going back on its word made the pain in my leg bones return, accompanied by pain in my ankles, thighs and hips. At night I could sleep 20 minutes at most before the pain woke me. I have a clock opposite my bed, so I was able to track the time.
Then a water pipe split at a join. Mains water gushed into my front room and I had to sweep as much as possible out the front door while waiting for the plumber. The exertion and the stress made my pain much worse, and within a step or two my hip, knee or leg would give out when I tried to walk.
Shortly thereafter there was a foreclosure hearing and I could barely walk from my friend’s car to the courtroom. It was as if the stress was destroying my nerves.
It seemed hopeless — I was getting less and less sleep which made the pain worse, causing me to get even less sleep.
When I’d had leg bone pain before, B12 had made it go away. So, when the foreclosure wasn’t so immediately and overwhelmingly threatening I was able to focus on me rather than it. I used a lot of methylcobalamin lozenges, keeping in mind that our bodies can use only about 8 mg. of Methylcobalamin an hour. Two days later a blanket could rest on my legs without causing pain and I slept till 4 a.m. before hip pain woke me. For the next four hours I tried to go back to sleep but pain kept me awake.
I continued with B12 and 2 Ibuprofen every six hours with the result that the hip pain became less severe and more sleep was possible, which reduced daytime pain.
1/20/2011 ~ By the time there’s leg bone pain B12 deficiency is advanced, so I wasn’t surprised to have a nose bleed, which I have only at times my B12 is low. My balance is bad, so it’s often impossible to carry water to soak my feet in Epsom salts to help eliminate the biological products that transmit pain sensations. Today I was walking better and put together an Epsom salts soak.
Eggs for tryptophan to aid sleep
I’m going to try eating eggs for their tryptophan content, which converts to seratonin, which aids sleep. 1 egg has 521 mg of tryptophan. I’m sure the pain would feel less acute if I had more rest.
Additionally, I need to lose the weight I gained back after I hurt my back and couldn’t exercise. Exercise reduces muscle pain, as long as there’s not too much exercise to the point of wearing the nerves.
My plan is to approach this on a day by day basis with the goal of feeling better in a month, and MUCH better in three months. Not fast, I know, but hopeful. The pain is just so wearing, the idea of being able to get rid of it is uplifting.
1/25/2011 ~ Reporting on the eggs: I’m amazed at how well they work.
- Day 1: Two eggs in the morning and two for dinner. That night there was no difference in my sleep pattern at all.
- Day 2: I had eggs again, and that night there was no difference, but
- Day 3: I felt as if I’d slept and that if I closed my eyes I’d go back to sleep. I ate eggs as before and that night got over four hours uninterrupted sleep, as opposed to a few minutes at a time.
- Day 4: I was nearly euphoric about the night before and again ate the eggs. But that day was extremely stressful, in part because there was still a lot of pain, whereas I’d thought that if I slept the pain would be gone; and that night I didn’t sleep better.
- Day 5: I could really feel the calming, makes-my-eyelids- heavy affect of the eggs. There wasn’t much stress today, and I got some walking in, very little, but as much as I could do. I’m hoping to sleep well tonight. Overall, eggs work really well. I think the more depleted ones Tyrptophan reserves, the more days it takes for eggs to restore a healthy sleep pattern.
10/16/12 ~ I’ve learned that all vitamin B12 originates with micro-organisms. So, I no longer eat eggs or other factory farm foods because the antibiotics can’t be good for the micro-organisms. Nor do I eat GMOs because GMOs are genetically engineered to work with pesticide and herbicide.
2/7/2011 – Not only are the eggs helping me sleep, they are so filling that I’ve been eating less and losing weight. The pain in the long bones of my legs remains pretty much under control, due to using extra (nearly twice as much) Methylcobalamin. I’m grateful.
The pain in my hips and groin muscles is reduced by walking, but when I overdo the walking my nerves react by making my legs almost too heavy to lift. That happened two days ago. I was so proud of myself for walking around my house several times every hour; but then next day I could barely lift my legs to take a step. Which is scary. So that day I hardly moved at all, and next day my nerves were better and I could lift my legs more easily.
I’m hoping that today I’m able to walk well enough to carry water to fill a basin to soak my feet in Epsom salt, which helps with pain. I should mention that when I had tetanus I could barely lift my legs: crossing a 1 square foot Saltillo tile took three steps, and I couldn’t step over the phone cord running to my bedroom. So, I have to trust that it will again improve.
Epsom Salt ~ Read more.
No longer in pain 24/7
2/24/2011 – I should be giving thanks every day that I’m no longer in pain 24/7, but I’m lamenting how much worse I am than a year ago. I’ve begun to fear I’ll never be able to do fun things again because of how the remaining pain interferes with walking, bending, lifting, almost everything.
Vitamin C reduces inflammation and pain
Despite having read a lot about calcium increasing pain sensations, I was going to order some, in the hope of reducing my pain. But I happened on articles about vitamin C reducing pain. I used to take a lot of vitamin C, but after I had the infected dental implant removed I cut back. I wonder if I begin using a lot more, the way I did previously, if the pain will stop.
Today I am taking larger amounts of vitamin C, with bread and olive oil so as to give my stomach something to do besides being besieged by vitamin C. I’m hoping that tonight I’m not woken by pain every couple of hours (but every couple of hours is vastly better than not being able to sleep more than 5 minutes due to the pain.)
2/25/2011 – The vitamin C has made a big difference, even yesterday evening I could feel a difference. Last night I experienced the best improvement so far: I was able to sleep much better because there was that much less pain, and whether related or not, I only had to get up once to pee, versus every two hours.
First thing this morning I made coffee, ate some Deli bread a local woman makes and delivers, and began having 5 of the 500 mg vitamin C tablets… and so far, so good. I was even able to do a bit of vacuuming, for which my rugs rewarded me with renewed brightness.
Vitamin C ~ Read More, Watch Video
Stress sets me back ~ Astaxanthin arrives
3/9/2011 – Stress set me back. IRS claims I made nearly $500,000 in 2006, which is false and meant to put me under duress. I actually made about $8,000. But, New Mexico Tax and Rev bought into the lie, so now I get threatening calls and scam calls about help. Saturday night I didn’t sleep well, Sunday I had more pain, then I slept sitting up to reduce pressure on my hips, which tend to start hurting during the night. That made my back hurt. What a litany. In any case, the Astaxanthin I ordered to help me with the hip pain just arrived, and I’m making this note so that I can report on how much it helps… or doesn’t… with accuracy in terms of when I started using it.
3/22/2011 – The Astaxanthin has made the grinding noise from my hip less loud, but I’m still having difficulty walking despite buying a wonderful Rolling Walker. So, I’ve ordered Glucosamine- Chondroitin to see if that helps my hips and knees.
Astaxanthin Health Benefits ~ Read more.
The eggs I’ve been eating to help me sleep soundly and longer are also helping me lose weight. Every night I know I must cook and eat an egg or two, that keeps me from wanting anything else.
I wish my legs were stronger. I hope losing weight will make it easier to walk, and that more walking will make my legs stronger.
My periodontist said Ibuprofen weakens the jaw bone
It worries me that I’ve used Ibuprofen since October, when I know that Ibuprofen is bad for the jaw bone and weakens it. I’m concerned that the Ibuprofen is also affecting my hips, since before now they never made a grinding noise when I got up.
4/1/2011 – I’ve begun using Glucosamine-Chondriotin. I’m hoping that it helps my hips. I’ll report on it in about three weeks.
4/2/2011 – Reporting on the Astaxanthin: I used it for three weeks. The Astaxanthin has decreased the grinding noise my left hip made when I got up, and, when I was taking less during the last couple days of the test period I had more pain in my legs.
And, per the claim Astaxanthin works as a sun screen, I haven’t gotten a sunburn even though I’ve been sitting in the sun most days. Most years I get a bit of a burn, despite being careful not to stay in the sun too long. I’m going to continue using the Astaxanthin.
Glucosamine-Chondroitin with MSM ~ Works Great!
6/7/2012 – Reporting back on the Glucosamine-Chondroitin with MSM that I began using on 4/1/2012. Not only is there NO grinding in my hips anymore, a worrying sound when I moved my head, as if there were a spur stopping easy movement, is entirely gone. And, my knees are a lot better. I’ve taken the Glucosamine Chondroitin with MSM with Astaxanthin. And, after learning that it works best if the entire dose is taken at one time (my dose per label instructions is 4 capsules) I began taking one dose in the morning and another about 10 hours later.
In pain we tend to stiffen
When I had whiplash, which I had thought was a joke prior to experiencing it, I learned that when we are in pain we tend to stiffen our bodies in an attempt to fight the pain. But, that makes it worse and can create additional pain problems.
For instance, some months after I got whiplash I developed a limp and was told by reputable healthcare providers that it was related to the fact that one of my legs was a little shorter than the other. Months later I went to a Feldenkrais practitioner because my friend said he’d helped her and it wasn’t the kind of body work that hurt ~ some does ~ a lot. So, I was expecting something gentle and hoping it would work. What I found was that the man made feather light tracings, which he called adjustments, over parts of my body and after each he asked me to walk. I would walk back and forth to the end of his long therapy room, and he would say, “Ah, that’s better. Your hips are beginning to move again.” Once he asked, “Did you know that you had begun to walk without moving your hips?”
Apparently once we are experiencing back pain we tend to walk more stiffly and over time we all but eliminate hip movement, which increases tension in our backs and ultimately increases pain as well.
Once I began to move my hips while walking my leg length evened out and the limp went entirely away.
Now, well over a decade later, when I walk for five or ten minutes a day for the sake of exercise to reduce my weight, and it does, I pay attention to my hip movement and take longer strides to increase the swing of my hips. This became especially important after I had peripheral neuropathy and used short steps to compensate for my impaired balance and so that when pain suddenly struck I would be over my feet and less likely to fall.
Each time that I’ve not walked for exercise for weeks or months it becomes hard to move my hips, as if they’ve frozen. Trying to swing them gives me a movement like a waddle. It’s very peculiar feeling.
Once my muscles “thaw” after a few days of walking around my garden my hips begin to move naturally and I have a lot less pain.
Cramping, exercise and Magnesium
Another aspect of exercise in relation to pain is that when we are solitary, as so many diseases and health problems make us, we are more likely to have cramps in our feet and legs at night.
I was surprised that when I had a B12 shot after five in the evening and did no exercise after the shot, that I would invariably have cramps during the night in my feet. My answer to the problem was to give myself the shots earlier in the day, or if I had no other choice, to give myself a shot late but then do five minutes on my Gazelle.
As long as I did some exercise after the shot I didn’t have the cramps, but then I got tetanus and I couldn’t exercise because even the bare minimum of exercise made my muscles clamp, sort of like lockjaw of the body.
B12 shots helped with the pain and, because tetanus is a central nervous system disease, the shots helped reduce damage from the disease, but, no matter how much I wanted a B12 shot at night to help with the pain, I knew that if I had one and it set off cramps they might turn into the horrifically painful seizure-type contractions in my back muscles which I wanted to avoid at all cost.
It was around that time that a friend with Parkinson’s wrote to me about magnesium. I think she’d read about it on Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s site. In any case, the idea was that magnesium was not only a necessary nutrient, but a powerful one that in many cases was a “cure” because a deficiency in magnesium was actually the problem.
I immediately ordered magnesium, gave it a try and discovered that if I had a B12 shot late in the evening or even late at night and followed it with a magnesium tablet I did not have any cramping. That was an amazing discovery to me.
Today I use magnesium tablets the way I used aspirin or Excedrin in the past: I use magnesium to relax away headaches, and yesterday when I had a bad pain in my side after a bit too much exertion while I was doing the wash (I have a little hand-crank washing machine), I took some magnesium and in an hour the cramping pain was gone.
There are many foods containing magnesium but I can no longer trust food alone to deliver the amount of magnesium my body needs in order not to have cramping and increased pain. (My deficiency today probably relates to years of not eating enough magnesium rich foods, an impaired digestive system that can no longer get the magnesium out of the food I eat, and stress causing digestive system impairment.)
Foods containing magnesium ~ View List.
Pain results from combinations of things
Pain results from combinations of things, so getting rid of pain by healing, rather than blocking it with pain killers, requires a balanced combination of things: rest, exercise, vitamin B12, magnesium and learning to relax stressed muscles. The last, I think, is the hardest.
For instance when I had tetanus and stress made my nerves cause my muscles to painfully tighten it scared me and that made the tightening worse, till I was bent over and hobbling about in intense pain.
When I got some money I ordered a massage chair, hoping it would help relax my muscles — and thankfully it did. Best of all, it helped me learn how to relax them a bit myself.
The iJoy is not one of the expensive massage chairs, but it works really well. For me it was convenient and, having had massage twice a week for months when I had whiplash, paid for by the insurance of the driver who hit me, I had something specific to which I could compare the iJoy’s massage. The iJoy compared very well. I would buy it again in a minute!
Pain Amplification ~~ Pain, Calcium and the Neuronal Network
What causes pain to increase? and, how can we reduce pain “amplification”?