After being paralysed for over 10 years, I made a big decision to come off my medication which I took for chronic pain. To be honest it was for many reasons not just one but I didn’t realise what was ahead of me. The drug I took is used to treat nerve pain after a spinal cord injury. I suffer with CHRONIC neuropathic pain which can get unbearable at times, like many other people living with a spinal cord injury. I went to see my spinal consultant, who is lovely and through her advice I was weened off over a period of 6 weeks; so gradually and under professional advice.
As the medication started to reduce, that’s when the trouble started. The insomnia kicked in straight away and the pain kicked in stronger. Then I started to get nausea which lasted all day and all night. I used to perspire so much but then be shivering at the same time, just like you see people who are drug addicts. I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. I was crying everyday, feeling so depressed and low, what with the lack of sleep it was just like torture. There were so many other withdrawal symptoms I had such as loss of appetite, itchy skin, upset stomach, lack of concentration. The list is endless! I could not believe what I was experiencing and I had to google my symptoms as I couldn’t believe it was due to coming off my medication but when I read the stories of other people’s experiences I was in total shock! Most people saying that they had to go back on the drug as they could not handle how awful they felt.
I contacted my consultant and she couldn’t believe that my withdrawal symptoms were lasting so long, but I decided to carry on and hope that the symptoms would eventually wear off. All in all these lasted for 3 months. I have to say it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I don’t know how I got through it but I did. Now 18 months later, medication free I am so glad I did it. Yes, I still have chronic pain 24/7 which never goes away but I try and use other methods to deal with it. The thing is the medication never took the pain away it only took the edge off so what was the point? The benefits for me for coming off are remarkable, I’m finally at my weight I was 12 years ago pre-injury and dropped 2 dress sizes. I feel better knowing I’ve a healthier lifestyle and my skin looks better too.
People are unaware of so many health issues that go along with spinal cord injury and we are given so much medication from the time we are hospitalised with our injury that when we leave to come home after having so much crap to deal with as it is that we don’t question WHAT exactly it is and why. Be aware of what you’re taking and why. It’s taken me so long to write about this as just remembering it is awful.
On a night out with my friend Michelle we bumped into Russell Brand in our local pub and she told him about what I’d done and he said: “I bet it was more difficult for you coming off prescription drugs than it was heroin”. That sentence made me think he’s bloody right!
Bottom line is be aware with what you’re taking!
Chronic spinal cord injury must become curable!
Cure Girl Lolly
Hi Lolly! Besides blogging on my own site I also write for Elixinol, which is a high-CBD, little to no-THC hemp extract; it may help with neuropathic pain! I have written a blog post a while ago on acetyl-l-carnitine and neuropathy too (though that was for diabetes, but damage may be damage regardless).