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Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Pain Relief offered on NHS

UK Fibro Friends: I am recently diagnosed & all my doctor has offered me is co-codamol. The specialist even recommended that this was the best level of pain control, after talking to me for less than 10 minutes. It doesn’t really touch my pain & id like to ask for something stronger, but I’m nervous about it. I feel paranoid that the doctor will think I’m just trying to get strong painkillers for the wrong reasons, and just feel really awkward about it because I don’t what to say to really get my point across about how much I really need them. I know how much they are trying to discourage it on the NHS.

Should I prepare for a bit of a fight to get stronger painkillers on the NHS? Any experiences you can share? How should I best approach it with the doctor?

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Hi Zebra33 . I would suggest that you take someone with you the next time you visit your GP, who can back you up and emphasise how much pain you're in and that the co-codamol isn't helping.

Good luck x

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Hi, unfortunately strong pain medication, especially opiods are generally not effective for chronic pain. However, it's worth discussing alternative meds with your gp.

Tramadol is an effective pain killer for some people.

Also needs that can help with neuropathic /nerve pain may be an option. Amitryptilene and duloxetine are two any depressants that can help with pain. Also gabapentin or Pregabalin are anti convulsants which also can be used for pain.

It can be trial and error to find a med or combination of meds which works for you xxx

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I am under morphine tablets and sirop

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It is difficult to know what to suggest as unfortunately you haven't mentioned what type of pain you are experiencing and where. For neuropathic pain which tends to be burning or knifing often gabapen or Pregablin tend to be one of the best meds. Many people swear by Tramadol but it doesn't suit me personally. Many doctors are very wary of prescribing strong opiads as they can in many cases quite quickly start to lose their effectiveness and higher and higher doses are required and as Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that can prove probmatical.

Have you explored more alternative means of helping you with the pain. I have found that acupuncture has helped as did hydrotherapy. Physio exercises can help with flexibility and strengthen core muscles so back pain is less and there are other options out there.

Sometimes a low dose of an antidepressant like Amitriptyline can help with sleep and bringing pain levels down.There is also cognitive behavioural therapy which can help hope you experience pain. Good luck in finding something that helps.x

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The pain is more an ache, but it gets really really bad. It’s more gnawing than sharp or burning. I also get really sore & stiff upper arms, like I’ve had injections in them.

I haven’t really explored much as I was only diagnosed about 2 months ago. No one really explained my options & I’m not sure where to start with alternatives to be honest.

Thank you for your reply 😊

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I know when you are in pain any exercise seems a no no but I have found stretching exercises can help with joint and muscle pain. A massage with something like Mussekflex or Pernaton gel can also help and if the gnawing feels hot a freeze gel. Others have found a magnesium spray helps with muscle pain.

When we still had a bath a soak for about half an hour in warm water with several handfuls not Epsom salts was soothing. I used to buy it in big bags from Amazon once I found it helped as the smaller bags from the chemists are expensive. Good luck.x

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Thank you so much!

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Unfortunately there are those for whom prescription meds don't work. There are a few of us on here who have to rely on alternatives, tens machines, hot water bottles, heat pads, various supplements, hydro and hypnotherapies, chiropractor and gentle exercise such as tai chi or even just a simple stroll. Your doctor may refer you to the pain clinic or sometimes depending on where you are you can self refer and get help that way. It is sometimes a long path to find what works for you as it is very much trial and error. Suggest you keep a pain diary to help you explain to the doctor just what you are experiencing. Good luck with your quest for finding what works for you.

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Thank you so much! I didn’t know there was a pain clinic, so I’ll look into that. A pain diary is a great idea: I might see if I can find a good app for it to help me.

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oops forgot to say (blame the fibro fog) have you had your vitamin D levels checked. If your levels are low this can cause muscle pain etc. If you haven't had them checked perhaps suggest this to the doctor on your next visit. Epsom salt baths help with muscle pain too.

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I have! They were low ages ago but I took Vit D & they’re good now. I wish I could use baths to help, but my housing association house only has a shower :(

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Lucky I have bath I. We’d always need assistance

For bath myself for eat for Cleaning my flat

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Hi, I was in the same position. Don’t be embarrassed you need to control your pain as it takes over your life. I went to see my Gp who was ok. I was already on cocodamol, so on Monday my gp prescribed gabapentin and Amitriptyline as well as the cocodamol, it seems to be reducing my pain to a more manageable degree. You need help that’s all you doctor should consider. I hope you get sorted as suffering in silence is never an option xxx

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Thank you so much for your lovely message xx

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10 min...very generous. Is co-comadol the same as Tramadol? There's also Ultracet. To be honest tho, I went thru a lot of antidepressants before settling of Cymbalta which helps Fibro too. But, I use Norco too which gets me thru my not so exciting days. I'm 74. Grocery shopping can be the highlight.Everything with Fibro seems to be your own personal experiment.. I tried Xanax for anxiety and sleep but pain med can't be taken with it...so now I use Ambien and sometimes Benedryl for itching hands, numbness, tingling, elec shock pain which are sudden and very irritating Then too, I have carpal tunnel, and the Epstein Barr virus that may explain a lot....especially fatigue so I rest to try to send it back to dormant. Which of these conditions cause the pain that takes a knee right out from under me, but nothing wrong with knee. Why the Fibro Fog, trouble finding or speaking words.....same with hubby's PD. Nerves just aren't doing their jobs. Sometimes I wonder if it's all fake aches etc with me....my personality and depression since 10. BUT...I think my sis had it, or Lupus ect, before dying of sudden only heart at 54,. Her Dr addmitted he didn't catch it. Didn't have fancy MRI, CAT scans in '87. Our uncle and grandfather died the same way in their 60's. Medicine improves but can't solve it all. my Bro died at age 57. cancer, and his wife died 17 yrs later of same cancer but refused treatment.. Plus my daughter died at 41 of breast cancer that had gone all over. She was a fighter but left huBBy &3 little girls, 12 years ago....2 are marrying soon and he finally married too. . M.A. in USA.

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It can be ok to take opiates when you have big flare ups, but only for a short space of time. I take oramorph for flare ups. Also look at Pregablin for nerve pain and anxiety. If you have spasm type pain then look at Baclofen. Amitripyline or Noritytpline are also good to use at night, they can help ease pain, when sleeping and are also good for depression.

If you get to a pain clinic, then a lidocaine infusion might also help.

Acupuncture, CBT, Progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, physio, hydrotherapy, desensitization are all alternatiive options.

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Thank you, this is so helpful! I have bad anxiety too so maybe the pregablin would help. I’m on Setraline for depression already but I might need a different one I guess.

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healthunlocked.com/fibromya... hi I’ve sent a link to help if you would like to lock your posts. I would differently go back and see your doctor as he/she can discuss other options with you, I have 4 x 15mg of codiene I can take but doc says only on days I really need them, I too tend to use hot water bottle ,warm baths ,rest when I can for pain, if you feel worried about going take a close family member with you for support , wishing you well x

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Thank you kindly x

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No co-codomol is just an over the counter medicine here in the UK.

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Correct. The one I’m on is over the counter.

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I have always tended to downplay my symptoms in the past whenever I saw my GP. I think we often put on a brave face and battle on until things become unbearable. If you need to take someone with you next time you go. Make some notes on the type of pain you are feeling, where it is and the frequency which will help the GP to decide which meds are most suitable. Don't feel bad about asking for help when you need to.

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Yes, exactly! Thank you for your reply 😊

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Your GP may not know a lot about Fibromyalgia. Point him/her to the NHS website that details the drug treatments and tell your GP that Co-codamol is not working for you.

nhs.uk/conditions/fibromyal...

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