Making adaptations to pain medicine can be difficult. I have been in a long process of attempting to go off my medication. I have gone from 20 milligrams a day to about 1/4 a milligram a day. I have switched from the slow release oxycontin to the 4 hour tablets so I can cut up the pills for smaller doses. Amazingly my body has adapted fairly well. My pain level has increased, but generally it is tolerable. I have traded the extra pain for more energy and ability to focus.
Last week I tried to go down to 2 doses instead of 3. This is the second time I have tried to eliminate a dose. The weird thing is I can continue to make my pills smaller, but once I eliminate a dose (about 1/8 of a 10 mg pill) my pain level increases drastically. My whole body ached where it was difficult to do much of anything. I decided to go back to 3 times a day, and take about 1/16- 1/12 of a pill each time. So far my body adapted.
I am also attempting to add in more intense exercise to increase my endorphins. I notice when I do this I have less pain for awhile. The down side is my body aches more and my knees hurt later in the day. I am also noticing more pain in my hands and feet. I am trying to find a balance in keeping the intensity up without adding injury to it all. Running is the best exercise (especially sprinting) for kicking in endorphins. Instead of my preferred way of running – basically a light jog until I am tired, than walk for another 10 minutes, I am doing a light jog to warm up, walking up the tougher hills when my knees hurt, and doing about 5-10 walk/jog/sprint sequences.
In many pain management/injury books I have heard about icing and heat to aid in healing. Though I have done this occasionally, I have decided to be more active in this method. I am trying to ice and apply heat to my knees, neck, shoulders and back three times a day. This seems to help temporarily, but is very time-consuming. I wish there was some kind of all over body wrap that was cheap. For now I just move my ice and heat pads around. I notice my back shoulders/neck feels less tight from the myofascial pain but the sensations can cause a more tingling pain.
In many ways I feel better than I have in years. I love being able to focus more and to have more relief from the fog. The exercise helps my emotional and mental state, bringing greater positive energy and reducing my stress level. Each day it brings more hope. It just feels good to be doing something that is effective.