Monday, May 13, 2013

Trigger Point Injections.

In case you didn't know, CF is painful!  The pain can be from various things; arthritis, general inflammation, headaches from oxygen deprivation, and more.  If you know me or if you've been following my blog for a while you know about my crusade to get some relief from my chronic back pain.

Since I cough so much the muscles in my back are constantly being strained and pulled.  From my mid-back up I have many muscles that are constantly knotted up to the point that they pull my vertebrae out of alignment.  On a good day its just annoying.  On a terrible day its debilitating.  I've been to chiropractors, massage therapy, physical therapy, pain specialists, and acupuncture.  I've tried various medications that are usually prescribed for chronic pain.  Massage an acupuncture have been the most effective but they are expensive.  When I went on disability I couldn't afford them any more.

A few months ago my primary care doctor and I talked about trigger point injections.  I would have done it sooner but then I had two hospitalizations, did some house sitting, and moved.  Today I went to see her for my first trigger point injections.

TPJs are injections of either lidocaine and saline or lidocaine and steroids right into the knotted up muscles.  Then the fluid is massaged in to spread it out through the muscle.  I elected to have the lidocaine and steroids since my pain can be so severe and I'm not going to stop coughing any time soon.  Hopefully the steroids will reduce the inflammation in those muscles.

The injections themselves weren't bad at all.  I've had flu shots that hurt worse.  In a weird way it felt kind of good, that "hurts so good" feeling.  My doctor said that for some people there is little to no relief but that others will have spectacular results that last for months.  Right now the injection sites are sore from being jabbed with a needle (duh!), it feels like a bruise.  I'm hopeful that it will help though.  I've had some really good upper back and neck pops this afternoon and evening.  With any luck my spine is coming back into the correct alignment.

I'll keep you all posted on how this pans out.  I think it could be a wonderful solution to for people with chronic muscle pain, especially my cysters and fibros.  Its minimally invasive, not very painful, and the few potential side effects are minimal.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month!

Happy spring everyone!  I don't know about you but I'm ready for it!

As you may have gathered from the title of this post, May is CF Awareness Month!  I thought I'd do a few posts about CF in general, how it effects me, and what I think of it all.  First, some facts about CF.

  • Its the most common inherited disease, yet there are only about 60,000 people with it world wide.  Roughly 30,000 of those live in the United States.
  • About 90% of people who are carriers for the gene have no known family history of CF.
  • There are about 1800 genetic mutations known to cause CF and more are being found all the time.
  • The CF gene was identified in 1989.
  • When the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF was founded most children with CF did not love long enough to start school.  
  • The current life expectancy for CF patients in the United States is in the late 30s but there are many who are living well beyond that.
  • In my lifetime the average age of CF patients has doubled.
  • About 45% of CF patients in the US are over 18.
  • More than 70% of patients are diagnosed by age 2 thanks in large part to newborn screening which is mandatory in all 50 states.