I'm an insomniac.... so it's 1:20am here - so my thoughts may be jumbled up so bear w/ me :) First things first, welcome to our board. There are so many wonderful, supportive, knowledgable people here.... and I hope you'll find that true as you get to know us. I'm sorry, though, that chronic pain brings you here.
I also hate to hear of you being so young and dealing w/ all of this. You are only 2 years older than my oldest son - and I just can't imagine.
Without giving you all my boring details right now.... I will tell you that I first got ill at age 19. I hate a severe reaction to the Hep B vaccine in nursing school. I was bedridden for almost a year. Looking back, I probably had fibromyalgia at that point.... but I was also diagnosed w/ chronic fatigue syndrome - given that I met all the criteria. After about a year in bed - I finally got better slowly... and was able to resume life... go on to have a huge family.... until all my health issues reared their ugly head again - this time, in a HUGE way. I ended up finding more and more things wrong w/ my health - including a heart condition, dysautonomia and all my wonderful pain issues (not). I'm now 38.
I say all that to let you know that I do understand what it's like to be so young.... just starting out.... and to be so ill. Frankly put - it sucks.
Well, it seems like you've tried many things already. But in answer to your question - do I think you should see a pain management doc? My answer would be YES... 100%. There are so many things that a good PM doc can try. Medications, of course. But there are nerve blocks, trigger point injections, massage therapy and on down the line.
The truth be told - many people w/ chronic pain need narcotic pain medications. There is always going to be some level of controversy re: pain meds - because, yes, there are also going to be drug seekers. However, you need not to worry about that. You are looking for meds to help your quality of life - not to use recreationally!
Most PM offices do need a referral to see you (not all, but most). Do you have a primary doctor? They can give you a referral, as well as your rheumy, etc. I would look into what PM docs there are in your area.... look them up on the web and see if you can find any information out about them.
Re: your questions re: meds - I *could* list the medications that are out there.... but it's really to hard to say what your doctor will suggest to you.... what meds you would respond best to... and so forth.
If you haven't been on many narcotics, your doctor might start you on something on the lower end of the scale -- vicodin, percocets, etc. From there - there is long-lasting morphine, oxycontin, methadone, etc. More of the stronger meds are dilaudid and fentanyl (either in patch form or oral form).
Most of here, though, are not just on narcotics... many of us here have a pain *cocktail* of sorts that helps us. For instance, I'm on narcotics... a muscle relaxer.... a nerve medication... and an anti-depressant. (and these are just my pain meds!!).
Even with my meds being very stable - and having some very strong narcotics on board.... I still average about a 6 to 7 on the pain scale most days. But this is a functional level for me. For so long - I was at a 8 or 9. I don't want to go to low - because I don't want to build such a tolerance to my meds - that I have no where to go. Does that make sense??
Well, I've written WAY too much. Sorry for rambling on.... but it's late and my mind is going and going and going!! I hope I've given you a few things to think about. Please feel free to ask ANY more questions... or anything at all.
I really hope and pray you can find a good PM doc that will help you find something that works for you - so that it can improve your quality of life. You may need to be patient - because it can be such a trial and error type thing.... but I hope you can get started in trying to find something that works!
Good luck to you Lukas - and I really wish you the best and hope to get to know you better :)
Pain Issues: DDD; fibromyalgia; migraines; carpal tunnel syndrome; tendonitis
Multiple Health Issues: Disabled due to POTS (heart condition); dysautonomia (dysfunction of the nervous system); hypothyroidism; adrenal insufficiency; chronic hypertension; chronic fatigue; sleep apnea; anemia; Vitamin D deficiency; etc etc
Meds: Too many to list....
Personal: Mom to 6 boys and twins girls