Scared, there are lots of things that can be tried to get some relief, although I've done the best with meds. I have a Pain Mgmt Doc whose sole purpose is to try and help me feel as good as I can. I've been using muslce relaxers for the spasms in my back, antidepressants, which help to relieve nerve pain and keep my mood up a little and narcotics for pain relief.
I absolutle love when I have the opportunity to go for a massage and I'll try to talk anyone that I can into a shoulder rub. Most often, it's my Mom who'll take some time to try and release some of the spasms in my back, but a professional deep tissue massage is wonderful.
There is some debate as to whether it's appropriate for people with AS to undergo Chiropractic treatment. I believe that if fusion has not yet occurred, it may be helpful. Several years ago, before my Dx, I had a wonderful Chirp who helped me a great deal. He's retired now and I need to find another. It's on my "to do" list.
I've had steroid injections into the worst of my joints and into the spinal canal itself (epidural). These have helped some. Also, my Pain Mgmt Doc has used Radio Frequency shot through needles to disrupt the nerve pathways and keep the pain signals from getting to my brain. I keep a box of LidoDerm patches handy so I can paste one over any specific area that is giving me too much pain. These release Lidocaine into the nerve endings in and just below the skin and can be very effective without resorting to pain pills. There was a clinical trial underway comparing these patches to the effectiveness of Celebrex and the results showed that the efficacy was the same. Unfortunately, Vioxx and Celebrex got pulled off the market and the study was discontinued.
Physical Therapy has also been found to be effective in bringing relief to some people with AS and there are some who swear that they've benefitted immensely from the NSD or Low starch diet. Here's a link to some info about
it. I'm sure a google search will bring up more if you're interested.
So, scared, there may well be many things that you can do in addition to meds and ice packs that will help bring you some relief. Try to remember that the begining is always the hardest. You need some time to learn about
the disease itself, how it is affecting you and what you can do to keep it as under control as possible. As time goes by, this will get easier and less scary. In the meantime, you've found a wonderful place to talk about
it with others who understand exactly what you're going through.
Keah a.k.a. Wormy
God helps those who help themselves.
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