Coping strategies for the bodily pain of withdrawal

edited and updated 6/2012

More info here: Adventures in natural pain relief

 

Getting well takes effort and time and listening to the body for most of us. These are some of the things I do to help with pain.

I’ve collected several things I do to cope with the pain I experience as a result of long-term psychotropic drug use and the subsequent withdrawal pain I find myself in. Many people suffer from these pains upon withdrawal from many different psychiatric drugs and psychiatric drug classes so I thought I’d share how I cope.  In most instances the pain remits in time but that can take up to a few years so we do need to have coping strategies in place while the time passes. This is by no means an exhaustive list of what might be done to cope with pain. Some of this pain is sometimes talked about as fibromyalgia. I don’t personally find that diagnosis helpful as it’s a garbage pail term, but the pain is very real.

For additional discussion about the varieties of pain some of us with withdrawal syndromes experience see here: Dyesthesias: abnormal pain from psych drug withdrawal (includes info about several sorts of withdrawal pains too). These are all caused by the nervous system having been harmed by the neurotoxic drugs.

I do yoga almost daily…generally just for about 10 minutes max  as that is all I can manage. On good days I may do that twice a day. There remain days when I can’t do anything at all but those days are becoming fewer and yoga really helps almost always. See: Do Yoga at Home

Yoga is also one of the primary ways I practice mindfulness and embodiment. It’s been, perhaps, my most important practice for healing all around. Rehabilitation too, from having been bedridden!

I’m wanting to share a posture that’s really helped with pain/neuropathy and paresthesia etc. It’s very easy. It does not work in a structural sense. It’s energetic somehow, though I’m not an expert at yoga so I don’t know how it works. The thing is it temporarily, on good days, relieves pain in my whole body. Even in my arms. It’s like there is an energy shift of some sort while I do it and for a while afterwards. On a good day it’s a long while. It can also help relieve the physiological and iatrogenic terror that is associated with benzo withdrawal.

Generally before this I do some brief standing postures that also stretch my body. If you are unfamiliar with yoga and need ideas you can google yoga postures and also check on youtube. And look here too. For simple beginner postures it’s a great way to start. In the long run a serious practice requires a teacher, but having taken yoga off and on for many years, right now what the computer offers us is plenty since many of us while sick can’t do altogether too much.

The one that seems to offer relief at the end is simple and very powerful…

legs against the wall:

Or I also have my butt a few inches from the wall. Feel free to make any adjustments your body finds necessary. Absolute form isn’t terribly important when it comes to finding some relief from the pain I’ve found.  On some days doing this can alter the course of the day for the better. It’s really quite wonderful when it works that way.

My longest and most frequently used strategy for combatting the daily pain from the iatrogenic pain of withdrawal are frequent epsom salt baths. I did a post on how I do that here. I actually sometimes put even more epsom salts in the water and have also found that a highly concentrated foot bath is very good for bedtime relaxation.

I also take Tart Cherry Extract as a supplement. I did a post on it here. Anti inflammatory foods and diet can potentially help any and all pain  (nothing is a cure-all) and neither has my heavy anti inflammatory diet been a cure-all for me but it does minimize pain. I’ve since also added Turmeric supplements. I like this one that has something added to aid absorption: Super Bio-curcumin.

Identifying and eliminating food intolerances have been very important too. Food the body doesn’t like can add to inflammation. This may include foods that are generally considered healthy. (I can’t eat nightshade vegetables, for example). Finding and eliminating these foods has required (and continues to require) meticulous attention to diet and how foods effect my body. I continue to learn all the time.

It’s possible to heal many food intolerances and once  again be able to eat foods that offend but if one doesn’t eliminate them first it’s less likely. It can take years to clear things up. I am in process with this. See: Nutrition and Gut Health

These suggestions are not exhaustive. People find many things to help. Also none of these things cure the pain but all of them can help one cope with an ongoing chronic situation.  Slowing my situation has become less acute, but I still have significant issues. I often say, I’ve gotten much much better, but I am still very very sick. I don’t know how else to convey what this journey is like to those who’ve not passed through similar terrain!

Hope this helps!

For a toolbox of more extensive coping strategies for withdrawal issues in general see here: Tool box for coping with psychiatric drug withdrawal syndromes (and some chronic pain and/or illness too)

I found this book, Freedom from Pain: Discover Your Body’s Power to Overcome Physical Pain helpful as well to deal with chronic pain issues. I have a post with an interview with the author here: Trauma is often held in the body and experienced as chronic pain

 

More info here: Adventures in natural pain relief

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters