Both analogies are my abbreviated way of saying that we've figured out that some of my pain issues are associated with pelvic floor muscles. Not a shocker, but at least we're making progress. My PT isn't sure why I'm also having upper abdominal pain, so we're treating that as a separate issue.
The pain doc switched me from Neurontin (gabapentin) to Lyrica, and I can't tell if it's helping at all. What it is doing is making me incredibly sleepy. My max coffee dose per day is usually one cup and then the jitters set in, and now I'm up to four cups and still feel like I could take a nap.
Dr. Third Opinion helped us zero in on specific pelvic floor muscles, and he reiterated the pain doc's pronouncement that PT is where it's at. He gave me yet another medication, a muscle relaxant, which I think is helping. Maybe.
Pain doc has referred me to another clinic (YAY! More appointments! More copays! More internal exams!), where I'll get a fourth opinion. The main reason she wants me to go there is to get a more integrated treatment plan. She thinks the doctors and PTs work more closely there, and the clinic itself specializes in pelvic pain. The clinic is part of a different health system, so getting my extensive medical records transferred over will be interesting.
Some of you have asked if I've tried certain treatment modalities, and it seems like a good time to list the ones I've tried. Here goes. The ones I'm currently using are underlined.
- Neurontin (helped but not enough)
- muscle relaxants
- NSAIDs (didn't seem to help)
- narcotics (only help in the short term; not a good long-term strategy)
- the Pill (epic fail; cried constantly when I was having a pain flare)
- pycnogenol (recommended by an acupuncturist to help relieve uterine cramping; super expensive but is maybe helping)
- Alternative therapies
- abdominal massage (helps a good deal; go once a month)
- acupuncture (effective during the session but not afterward; stopped going)
- meditation, including mindfulness, guided imagery, and affirmations (hasn't been effective for pain relief; I'm a fan in general, but am not able to stay awake during it because of the meds I'm taking)
- Movement (or lack thereof)
- PT, including stretching, strength training, ice, and heat (seems to be helping)
- not moving, aka lying down
- walking (generally makes the pain much worse; struggling to find the right balance)
- living my life, including working, etc
- distraction, including but not limited to reading, watching TV, talking to friends, etc
My parents just left our house. They'd stayed for a week, and today is my first day back at work. We mostly hung out on our back deck and watched baby birdies. The baby cardinals and baby bluebirds have left their nests, but two mommy house finches are sitting on nests on our front porch. Busy birdies! I'll get some more photos up soon.
Looking forward to ICLW! Am not looking forward to waking up at 3:30 tomorrow morning for my work trip.