Chronic neuropathic pain - how I cope
By Christopher Naylor

In 2013 out of nowhere I was suddenly struck with agonising shooting pain, in my right wrist.  I had no idea that this was the beginning of a chronic neuropathic pain condition.

I was driving a work car for a previous employer at the time, and so I didn’t get straight off the motorway to see if a short rest might help.  Knowing that the afternoon shift staff would be waiting for me, I carried on as usual and returned to the office.

Diagnosis – chronic neuropathic pain

My initial assessment was by a neurosurgeon.  I had an X-ray, which demonstrated some loss of disc height at C5/6 and also some narrowing at C6/7, and my predominant issue of neuralgia – neuropathic pain – was diagnosed.

The medication I initially started on was a tablet mix of Panadol and Codeine.  In hindsight it’s no surprise that this didn’t help.  Panadol is more commonly given for the flu.  I’ve also taken, more relevantly, Ibuprofen, but it’s debatable whether even this has helped.

My GP promptly took me off taking Diclofenac, for good reason.  It caused me tummy inflammation during the 3ish months I was on it.  Given the lack of therapeutic intervention from the above medications, my doctor gave me a script for PRN tramadol.

Finding treatment that works

During the month of August 2017, because my GP knew the other methods weren’t providing constructive healing, I agreed to try a course of Tegretol.  The initial twice daily dose of 200mg certainly didn’t break my pain threshold.  At a more recent appointment the doctor increased the dosage to 400mg twice daily, and my neurosurgeon would evaluate these newer interventions at my next appointment.

I also had two steroid procedures, which were injections directly into two separate places in my neck.  These were roughly 6 months apart, and also had possibly much less efficacy than any of my opioid based medication. I also have acupuncture regularly now, and apply natural ointments to my sensitive neck.  This provides a very temporary sense of calm, but not necessarily pain relief.  My moods are only sometimes on an even keel, and often semi-low, throughout this whole ordeal.

Disclosure statement: I’m not providing a clinical advice service.  If you wish to do due diligence and add to your knowledge, in preparation for any forthcoming GP or specialist appointments, then please don’t hesitate to contact one of the professional bodies below.  If you feel your mental health is at risk, then I also provided one well known NZ and UK contact.  But I advise you to contact your GP for either yourself or your loved one.’

Reproduced with permission, originally published here



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