Pain relief for asthma sufferers - Asthma UK communi...

Asthma UK community forum

18,140 members22,435 posts

Pain relief for asthma sufferers

Paul_1962 profile image

Does anyone have any suggestions for effective back pain relief.

As an asthma sufferer I am unable to take any NSAID products, including ibuprofen gel or tablets

I am currently taking paracetamol / codine but with little effect.

Many thanks

18 Replies
EmmaF91 profile image
EmmaF91Community Ambassador

Have you thought about going to see an manual therapist for help with treating the issue? (Personally I’m an osteopath, but equally physio or chiro or sports massage, or whatever is easiest for you)

EmmaF91 profile image
EmmaF91Community Ambassador in reply to EmmaF91

Equally have you tried hot/cold? Heat usually helps tight muscles, cold usually helps inflammation. If you don’t know which to do, do 10 mins of 1, test yourself out, 10 mins of the other. Then do the one which helps (or both if they both do). Make sure you wrap it in something to avoid heat or cold burn, and only leave it on for 10 mins (any longer doesn’t really help 😅)

Paul_1962 profile image
Paul_1962 in reply to EmmaF91

Thanks for your suggestions EmmaF81. I’m currently trying heat pads but haven’t tried anything cold. I will give it a try and maybe alternate hot/cold as you have advised.

the issue with those pads is that they are too cold/hot initially, and then they heat up/cool too rapidly. I have sciatia, but it's manageable so far. If I had pain non-stop and needed cooling, I would get a circulating water bath with a chiller and run tubing with cold water to the pad non-stop, to maintain the setpoint. The issue with the chilled water bath is that they are loud (might need to be in another room!) and expensive. One could also do this with a decent freezer, I would imagine, and drill holes for the tubes.

I invested in a heated back massager. I have 3 dodgy discs which misbehave occasionally. The back massager is excellent at helping relax muscles etc which helps to reduce pain. There are a few on the market, mine is one where you can turn the heat on or off. Highly recommend.

Paul_1962 profile image
Paul_1962 in reply to CANINE12

Thanks CANINE12, I look into a heat massager

I'm on etoricoxib, if that helps?

I use a Thumper massager (mains operated) on my back and it's great when my back and shoulder muscles are all tense and knotted. I wouldn't use it though if you have osteoporosis or anything like that as it's quite vigorous.

I also have a massage mat ( mains operated) that lays on the floor or bed and it massages your head, shoulders, back and legs when you lay on it. Not bad for a general massage but the Thumper can be used more specifically.

I've used physios and chiropractors but repeated visits just for a massage can be expensive- though I would recommend at least a couple of visits to a physio to understand what the initial problem is.

Paul_1962 profile image
Paul_1962 in reply to Poobah

Thanks for your suggestions Poobah. I have used one of the thumper devices before and it was really good 👍

Have you tried a TENS machine? On Amazon. I find it very effective and gets round the problems with pain meds and asthma. Can use it constantly at first then intermittently as it takes effect. Recommended by our family physio.

Paul_1962 profile image
Paul_1962 in reply to Yatzy

Thanks Yatzy. I too have a tens machine and do find it useful but it doesn’t seem to be helping much with my back pain at the moment

If it's just back pain as opposed to acute sciatica with back pain then I find co-codamol together with exercises prescribed by a physio help. If you have acute sciatica you could ask for a prescription from your GP either for codeine itself (it's stronger than the codeine in co-codamol)....but beware of dependance....or for gabapentin which in extremis I found useful in that it allowed me to sleep. Like you I cannot tolerate any NSAIDs by any route.

Paul_1962 profile image
Paul_1962 in reply to stones93

Thanks for your suggestions stones93. I have been looking at exercises to relieve the pain in my lower back 👍

I had pregabalin for back pain (similar to gabapentin) and it worked well. If you don’t know what is causing the pain you need an MRI to find out. If you take codeine, you need to be aware that it can cause very painful constipation so you’ll need a laxative.

Understood. Thank you ChrissieMons 👍

So sorry to hear about your back pain, Paul. I am a fellow sufferer and, like you, cannot tolerate Ibuprofen in any form. I agree wholeheartedly with ChrissieMons and would suggest an MRI in the first instance to help find the cause of the pain. In response to a recent flare-up, my GP also referred me for hip and pelvis X-ray before suggesting Physiotherapy. I was able to self-refer to an NHS Physiotherapist who went through a thorough assessment before taking me through a series of excercises which have really helped.

Hi Paul, I’ve got osteoporosis due to all the steroids I take and in daily pain, the Dr put me on a small dose of Gabapentin and slowly increased the dose and it’s worked for me, what you need to watch is taking codiene with asthma as it can make it worse as I was told by my Dr it can trigger an attack, I feel for you as pain is the worse thing, hope you get it sorted soon

I can definitely vouch for TENS machines and alternating heat/cold as others have suggested.

Unfortunately NASAIDs like ibuprofen are normally the best painkillers for lower back pain. So it’s really frustrating when you can’t take them (I can’t either so feel your frustration!).

Generally it will be things like paracetamol and codeine for pain relief. Just be wary with increasing doses of opiates like codeine because they can cause respiratory depression (basically slows down your breathing and can interfere with the normal automatic reflex of breathing), but most people are ok with it. Etoricoxib that was mentioned above is also an NSAID I think so avoid that. Things like gabapentin or pregablin are for pain that is related to nerves, so if that is contributing (typically a burning type pain) they can be useful but if it’s a muscular issue (the most common cause of lower back pain) then they won’t do much.

Trying to get a referral to physio is a good idea because that’s normally the main treatment for lower back pain - I think normally unless there are any signs suggesting some nerve compression they won’t often do any further investigations like an MRI until pain relief and physio have been shown not to help.

Hope you manage to get on top of it - back pain is horrible!

You may also like...