MAGNESIUM BATHS: My Fave New DIY Treatment

As you all know I love love love Magnesium and what it can do for our bodies. I have written before about making my own Magnesium oil and am currently experimenting with a few other ways to apply Magnesium to my skin. I personally believe dermally is simply the best way for us chronic pain sufferers to get it into us and hopefully directly settle the pain.

Until recently my main alternative to the oil was to have an Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulphate) bath. It’s cheap, and effective. In a warm bath it helps sooth a flare but recently I was cut short of some salts when I really needed them. It was one of those flares where you can barely move a muscle without triggering a chain of excruciating spasms that shoot through your body. Walking’s out of the question and it became a full bodied nightmare and this time I had no salts to heal me.

To cut the story short, what I did have available was the Magnesium crystals (magnesium chloride) that I use to make my Magnesium Oil. What the heck, I was desperate to try anything, so in they went.

I hopped into the bath and soaked my poor hurting body for about an hour. The warm water always feels so good when I’m suffering and when I turn the jets on; I get a bonus massage as well. I normally only last an hour to hour and a half tops before I get bored. So when it came time to get out I couldn’t believe that my flare had settles almost entirely. I could walk; I was a functioning human being once again. Well, for a CRPS sufferer anyway. There was still pain but the sort I could handle these days.

Suddenly Epsom Baths seemed to lose their shine. I used to think they were magic and now they are what I have when I’m saving my Magnesium Crystals for a special/crappy occasion.

I’m finding that what I’m calling Magnesium Baths are able to calm my flares and able me to function again the majority of times I try them. This morning I woke up to an average flare. Aching joints, spasms, throbbing and shooting pain, the normal deal, I was just a ball of hurt. I was planning to drive to see a friend 40km away later in the day and this was an issue. I’m trying to get out more these days to keep myself mentally healthy. CRPS is such a soul crushing disease. I got up knowing it wasn’t a good sign. If I wake up with pain it means it will only get worse. An average day gives me up to an hour of low pain before it hits me in a mid range of pain. I decided to take action and have a good soak in some Magnesium and Wham Bam Thank You Mam…… I was human again….. Ok, I was CRPS human again!!!

I really do think that for me the Magnesium Baths are helping me calm my flares and turning them into something bearable. I don’t always choose to have them because we are on rain water here and it’s a big bath to fill. Summer can leave our water supply a little stressed. Some days I have to settle for smothering myself with Magnesium Oil and having a warm shower. (Sarcastic) Yayyyyyyy!!!!!!

I do sometimes laugh at how I call my low pain flares “functional”. The only other way I would describe someone’s issues with the word “functional” is if you describe someone as a “functional alcoholic”. Lol. It’s insane what we call “low pain” and a “good day” with CRPS.

But back to the Magnesium Baths, I do love that they are a drug free way of calming a flare. I find that the further into CRPS that I am getting, the more I feel that finding alternative treatments are important. My baths won’t kill off my kidneys, cause me to become a zombie, an addict, stop me driving or give any other nasty side effects it may on the other hand cause me to be a “functional magnesium user”

My bath normally consists of the following:

Water to above the spa jets and deep enough for me to lie in

1 cup Magnesium crystals (replacing the same in Epsom salts)

Essential Oils (I’m starting to play with new oils so watch this space) Lavender, Spearmint and Patchouli

A pot of green rose tea

Good music

A scented candle

Something to read

If you try Magnesium Baths for yourself, I would love to hear if they help. We are all different, but I do hope this helps other sufferers.

Hope your pain free today. xx

Can I also point out that I’m not a Doctor or any other practitioner. I am simply passing on to other sufferers what helps me cope with CRPS and what works for me may not work for you. It’s up to you to try for yourself and perhaps quiz your GP about it if you have concerns. I’m not responsible for how you use this information. I do hope you and others get something positive from this. It’s all about helping each other out.

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TWO OUTTA THREE AIN’T BAD! Three pain conditions suck worse than yours!

“Got pain? These three pain conditions suck worse than yours.” paindatabase.com

Ha! Dont you love it when these lists pop up. Designed to make the average person feel better about them self. Sure if you have aches and pains, migraines or any other type of pain reading about these horrific conditions would make you feel better. Unless you suffer from two out of three of the condition in the list your reading, as I do! While I am used to seeing the standard lists with CRPS, my other condition rarely rates a mention, but here it is. and when you cover most of a list like this one, where do you go from there to make yourself feel better? Most of the time I think “at least it wont kill me!”

Here is how the article started but you can also read it in full here

Oh humans. We vile creatures, who feel better when others are doing comparatively worse. Rest assured, reading about these three painful conditions will not make you feel permanently better. But it might give you a bit of temporary perspective. 

no 1, Cluster Headaches: Check! yep I have these mean and nasty things that make me want to cut my face off. They come around every 6 months and make my life hell for anywhere from a day to a week. They are mean and I should probably do some posts about them on here. I have just had a bout in the last few days which is why I had been looking on line for info and came across this article. I woke up three days ago thinking that I had a tooth ache and then realised it was on all of my teeth on the right side. In no time at all it had spread into my ear, my eye, down my check and into my throat, all on the right side and all beyond intense. Lucky i also had a Doctors appointment on the first day so I could finally have it looked at. Yet the past three days have been a walk in the park compared to some of the attacks I have had. Lucky me!

No 2, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, I dont really need to introduce this one. Most of us know it all too well. I did learn one thing though, That TV show House, The lead character had CRPS apparently. The article said to watch seasons 1-4. Ill pass on that. Perhaps that could go on my new “it could be worse” list. lol, Not my cup of tea really.

“CRPS is a strange condition because it can range from fairly mild to absolutely debilitating. I learned about it after watching House MD, in an episode where Dr. House got shot and forced himself into a coma using a hallucinogenic drug called ketamine. He miraculously wakes up pain-free for the first time in years. “

I will admit though that while “normal” people would look at this list and feel so much better about their own pain, I look at it and feel justified for getting annoyed at those annoying people who post on Facebook how hard they have it when they have it so much easier yet dont realise how much they have. Their health, freedom, ability to work, socialise, meet men, etc.  I guess ignorance is bliss and I may have also been that person once.  Thinking about it, if I could push a button and make all of this go away, Im not sure I would. My pain has changed me for the better as well as the bad and I’m clearly going through this to get to where I need to be. Really though, How tough am I??? 🙂

And I just gotta do it, ever since I wrote the tittle this has been in my head. 🙂 Enjoy!

IN THE MEDIA: Chronic Pain, 7.30 South Australia

“It is a common condition, patients suffer from it, doctors treat it but Medicare doesn’t acknowledge it. It’s chronic pain. But what causes it and why do traditional drugs seem to have little effect?”

pain 730

This is the introduction to a news story that was shown on our state edition of the Current Affairs program 7.40. Its really exciting that this show has done a few stories on Chronic Pain already this year and although not exactly about CRPS, It still relates back to the treatments and the health system that I and many other Australians rely on.

I posted about the first story here. Australia’s Pain Epidemic

This story by Mike Sexton and shown on 7.30 South Australia, on Fri, 21 Feb, 2014.  Duration: 6min 13sec. It starts as stated above and then leads into some horrifying, yet unsurprising statistics that Medicare (Australia) has found that up to 5% of patients in Gp’s clinics are seeking relief from Chronic Pain. It again mentioned that most Australian’s suffering from Chronic Pain wait 2-3 years for a placement in a pain treatment facility. This leads to Gp’s prescribing more and more opioid pain Medications and leads to dependency. Clearly there is a cycle here that must be broken.  I’m hoping that the Website will post a manuscript to this story as it has done in the past so that I can post it.

One exciting thing bit of information that I learnt from the story is of a local research project happening right here in South Australia at the Bionomics Facilities in Hindmarsh, is a focus on Ion channels and their role in Chronic Pain. The story went on to report of an investment of 170 million dollars (Aust)  being made into this study by Merck & Co. That is pretty exciting really. I went onto the Bionomics Website and found the following:

“Bionomics has entered into a collaboration with Merck & Co. to develop a novel oral treatment for chronic pain. Chronic pain is a severely debilitating condition with a large unmet medical need. Current analgesic medications which include anti-epileptics, anti-arrhythmics, opioids, NSAID’s and anti-depressants, are either ineffective, associated with a range of dose limiting side effects or have the potential for abuse and addiction. Our novel treatment which is expected to deliver greater efficacy and safety than existing pain medications is directed towards an undisclosed target that has been strongly linked to chronic pain in humans.”

www.bionomics.com.au/research-development/pipeline/cns-central-nervous-system

Well Im off to investigate further and see what else I can learn about this trial and even if I can participate in any way. 🙂

 

Ketamine, My Wonder Drug!

Ok, Ketamine isn’t the “wonder drug” for all, but it is for me and my CRPS. This is how I went with my recent Ketamine infusion. Ketamine does not work for everyone, but it does work for me and this is my story.

ketamine

I’ve had been a little absent recently because I had my second infusion in December. I had it just in time for Xmas and our current summer. Living by the beach, it would have been such a shame to miss out on days at the beach, a healthy soak in the ocean that I use as a substitute to epsom baths and Hydrotherapy. I was worried for my veggie garden if I was not able to be fitted in for an infusion until after summer. There was no way that I could have one in January, as its holiday season here by the coast and while I would be ready to go, no one would be able to come with me as my “responsible person”. It just had to be before Xmas! I was thrilled to get the letter a month out. It came on a day where I was in a great deal of pain and it was like winning the lottery. I was so grateful for being fitted in. I know my pain Dr did me a huge favour and it was a wonderful Xmas present.

I had my infusion 4 months after my last one and it was just way too long. The last month was pure hell and plunged me into a horrible state of depression. The pain was wearing me down and I was mentally suffering from boredom and fear of what this illness meant for my future. I was in a different state of desperation this time. The last infusion, I needed to put the brakes on the disease from spreading any further and I needed the other neuro symptoms to settle down. This time around it was purely to stop the pain and give me back some sort of life, as I was no longer able to do any physical activities. I was hoping this time to be able to go back to work part time. A year in I am flat broke and the dole just does not pay that well enough to live off of, let alone pay medical costs!

So in mid-December I headed off to Adelaide for a three day infusion at the Royal Adelaide Hospital’s Pain Unit. Mum and I stayed at a friend’s place at Murray Bridge, a forty five min drive from the hospital. It gave Mum time to spend with her bestie in the evenings. The infusion was fantastic and gave me a rest… it feels good too. Lol. I love the team at the pain unit. I’m always the first one in and I immediately claimed my fave bed in the corner of the ward. On my first day I had a little issue before the infusion even started and I found that day the hardest.

I’m shocking with needles. Since my fainting episode when I was admitted to the burns ward, I have had a tendency to fait. It’s mostly over having an IV inserted. My veins tend to disappear when the needle goes in and it has taken up to four goes before it is in. So I was more than nervous when it was time to insert it on the first day. I was trying to focus on getting it done and starting the infusion. I think that being greeted with “oh, it’s you!” says everything. Lol. At least I made my mark! The nurse decided it was best to get the anaesthetist straight in to get the IV done. So in come a lovely Indian Doctor what immediately put me a little more at ease with his kind manner. Yet, once again my veins disappeared as soon as the needle went in. I was still too tense. The nurse and Dr started talking me through ways to calm me down and eventually this was to follow.

Dr: breath in an out slowly, imagine you are at your happy place. Are you there?

Me, awkwardly: yep.

Dr: where are you now?

Me: I’m at the beach.

Dr: what beach?

Me: I’m at long beach, back home in Kingston.

Dr: ok, who are you with?

Me: I’m…..with my horse Ernie….. and the tears start welling!!!!

Tears instantly come. Ernie died a year ago and was my happy place and soul mate. He suddenly got sick and died 8 days later. My CRPS took off after the stress of losing him. I’m still mourning him and would give anything to have him back. The poor Dr was so sweet. He instantly stopped while I tried to calm myself down. I guess the stress of the past month, nerves and my realising my happy place was gone was too much. I was a mess. What I didn’t realise was that because he stopped to let me calm down, the needle was still in my arm and I was busily wiping my eyes and unknowingly smacking the needle around in my arm. The bruising that I caused my self was quite impressive. Lol. Once I calmed down, I retried the breathing exercises and the IV went straight in. I felt like such an idiot! I ended up blubbery throughout the whole infusion. I just wanted my boy and my life back.

Other than that it all went pretty much to plan. I would come in each morning and was allowed to come earlier if I wanted as I was the first one in and we could start once we were all ready. I got past having the IV put in and I was hooked up to the machine. Suddenly I feel quite drunk and my eyes are blurry. Im given a big dose of Ketamine to start me off and then I settle into the five hour infusion. Basically I go off to sleep and listen to my music. I really enjoy the sleep. The only annoyance being my blood pressure being taken every ten minutes and the pulse thingy on my finger. I often have to swap fingers because they get so tender with the monitor on them. Everything has to go onto my right arm. My three other limbs are out of bounds. I’ve tried the blood pressure wrap on my legs but the cramps that I get and the tightening of the wrap do not get along. Once the infusion is over, Im sat up and given a sandwich and a cup of tea. I then sit there, maybe getting up to go to the toilet, an interesting challenge when you’re so drugged up. Then I sit and wait for Mum to come with a coffee from Cibo on Rundle St. My reward! After I’m released I head off into the sunset/afternoon to have a quiet rest and to be ready for the next day…. Supposedly.

Mum was great while I was having my infusions. This was her holiday from the café and she really needed to catch up on some sleep. The staff were happy for her to come in and have a nap in a chair next to my bed and even offered her a bed for a while. Poor mum.  Next time I will get a hotel room for the 3 days and take myself in, in the mornings so she can sleep and wander the city until its time to pick me up. She does enjoy the time away and wandering the city. Until I had my burn injury, she rarely came to the city, had never driven in the city and had no idea of how to get around. I think she has found it liberating to find this freedom and adventure. I think it’s great and love seeing her become so independent. The staff were just wonderful. They made sure I had vegetarian food ordered for after the infusion and were more than accommodating to my needs for my CRPS. It’s wonderful to have such a caring team looking after you.

It was fantastic going to bed the first night. I had almost no pain. It was a strange feeling, but such a relief. I slept really well. Partly from the infusion, partly because I was relieved and exhausted. In a way my fave part of having the infusion is the fact that I get to sleep, rest and in a way be drugged out and escaping the pain. I wouldn’t want it every day. But just for a few days, it’s like a holiday from the pain. I’m sure this is something that other sufferers would understand.

In the after math of the infusion I have done so much better than last time. My last one went like this. The first month after I was very up and down with my pain and slept a lot from what I understand to be an infusion hangover, the second month was pure bliss. My pain averaged a four out of ten and then a little higher at night. The third month it was wearing off and the pain crept back making the fourth month pure hell. This time around I have had my pain instantly reduced. It’s still a little up and down but I’m seeing my condition improve with each week. I had a great Xmas camping at the beach until the New Year. I attempted going back to work, aiming for 2 hrs a day and I got back into my garden. We camp only 20min from home making it easy to come back for work, to look after the animals and for me to tend to my garden. I will say that I did overdo it a little, well a lot, but at least I was able to be involved in the festivities and spend time at the beach. I would say that the CRPS had progressed substantially since my first one and Im still only able to be active in small bursts followed by big rests.

I’m still achy and in pain but I can function and participate in what life I currently have. I know I am lucky because it doesn’t work for everyone. It isn’t a miracle cure and despite my expectations it does not take all of your pain. It’s funny how you forget how you went last time. I kept a diary of how I went and looking back I was still in pain and yet part of me had expected me to be pain free and able to get back to normal. Wishful thinking I think. Lol. I’m looking forwards to continued improvement and my next one. I know that it takes an average of 3 infusions for it to take full effect and I can’t wait to get my third over and done with so I can hopefully function a little better and get on with my new life. Study and a little work would be fantastic.

If anyone would like to ask about how my infusions have helped me, please ask. We are all in it together. xxx

Magnesium! Oh how I love you.

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I have recently discovered the wonderful benefits of Magnesium for my CRPS. I have always loved the effects of my Epsom Salt Baths and my soaks in the ocean, but I have recently raised the bar and improved my magnesium intake to assist me with dealing with my CRPS.

Why?

  • I have started to search for alternative and more natural ways to deal with my pain.
  • Magnesium is often used to assist in pain relief and is widely used within the CRPS and chronic pain community
  • I have started to consider how feeding the brain and nervous system can assist me in coping with CRPS and reducing the symptoms I have, other than my pain. Spasms, cramps, tremors etc.
  • I am so tired of being on medication and the fact that they are losing their effect could end up in me needing even more. I am over it!

So how have I done this?  

With all of my research in mind I have gone with two new options for adding Magnesium into my routine.

  • Magnesium tablets with added Vitamin B6.  I’m taking Bio Organics Magnesium Forte. Is a vego option that I have added to my morning pile of pills. The B6 helps the body absorb the Magnesium.
  • Magnesium Oil. So apparently magnesium absorbs better through the skin. I have made my own Mag Oil and it is easier and far far far cheaper than any brought product. I have been rubbing it into my hand daily and arm and feet on bad days. I’m loving this option. I’ll share how I made I soon.

How Magnesium has helped me!

Keeping in mind that this is my experience and everyone will have different results

Before the extra Magnesium was added to my routine, I was tired, fatigued and in one of the worst flares to date. I had lost the use of my left hand and could barely move it.  Basically I was a mess and in a lot of pain.

I started with the Magnesium oil just rubbing a little into my left hand and wrist three times a day and a little on my feet. I did my best to stay objective at first, but what I felt was relief, and quite quickly. Within a minute the pain in my hand had halved and I was a very happy girl. The other thing that I noticed was that the next day I felt good within myself. I felt bright, awake and had energy to burn, despite the fact that I had considerable pain. The thing was I felt more able to deal with the pain. I was amazed that it had such a fast effect on me and so far after 2 weeks I still feel great and have been more active and flaring much less. I’m so impressed.

About a week after I added Magnesium tablets to my diet, I wanted to have a more constant supply of magnesium in my body. Now that I am out of my flare and not flaring as much, I don’t use as much mag Oil.  Every morning I take one tablet and I have maintained the same fantastic clear feeling.

Over the last month I have been hanging out for my second Ketamine infusion. There had been tears and days in bed unable to move my toes for fear of it triggering cramps and excruciating pain shooting through my body. Now, just over a week from my infusion, I’m wondering if I really need my infusion. Of course I need it. There are still flares and other symptoms to deal with. It’s just that I feel so good. So Magnesium is now permanently a big part of my treatment.

Sources

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11717/why-women-need-to-get-enough-magnesium.html

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/chronic-pain-relief?page=2

http://www.rsds.org/pdfsall/Collins_Zuuurmond_deLange.pdf

Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor or an nutritionist of any kind. Please consult with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet. I am writing this article from my experience and my understanding of the topic. Please consider doing your own research on this topic.