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Old 12-18-2007, 06:29 PM   #1
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Unhappy Pain in legs and feet etc. no relief, diag PN???

Please help... I am new here, I need real help for my husband. He is in pain ALL of the time, literally. The problem started with his feet and legs a few years back, pain and cramping and burning sensations. Has gotten much worse since that time. It affects his legs also now. The Dr at the VA(Vets Admin) diagnosed Peripheral Neuropathy(probably due to his Agent Orange exposure). He is not getting better, only worse and it is affecting his mood(major depression). He takes Prozac for that, but because of his work he cannot take hardly any pain meds at all. Naproxen and Gabapentin did not help either. This past weekend he had an episode where he fell (slipped) and he could not get up at all. He said he knew his brain was telling him to get up , but his legs would not do it, it was like he was delayed in motion.
He is going back to the Dr again this week. I would really like to hear everyones opinions and ideas as to what to do next. I dont feel like the VA is doing enough for him, but thats all we got, no other insurance. I want so much to help him. The pain he has is so horrible; every night for hours I just massage his feet trying to make them feel better. Very little helps. He says the legs feel tight and stiff like they wont stretch, but still the pain and burning persists. I am worried too. Please offer advice. I am listening. Thank you all for being here and having this great support system. Thanks for letting me be a part of it and benefiting from your help.

 
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:04 PM   #2
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Re: Pain in legs and feet etc. no relief, diag PN???

Why exactly can he not really take any pain meds? Can he take any muscle relaxers? The muscle relaxers really might help with the muscle stiffness. As for the nerve pain there are several other medications that he could try.

Amitryptilene, Nortiptylene (both tricyclic antidepressants that help nerve pain)

Lyrica - a fairly new medication similar to Neurontin (gabapentin) that helped a lot of people with nerve pain including me

Ultram - a synthetic opiod, very weak narcotic medication (although many doctors do not consider it to be a narcotic) - very good for nerve pain

Cymbalta - an antidepressant that is also very good for nerve pain.

I think that he might definitely do better on one of these other anti-depressants such as the Cymbalta because they are clinically show to help nerve pain.

He may need to resort to narcotic medications if he can not tolerate the pain. They may be just what he needs in order to be able to function better. However, the above medications should definitely be tried first. Hope this helps and if you have any other questions feel free to ask.

Brian

 
Old 12-19-2007, 08:08 PM   #3
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Re: Pain in legs and feet etc. no relief, diag PN???

just what type of real testing has he had during the time he first presented with symptoms to present?any MRIs done on the spine or even a brain MRI?considering his exposure to agent orange and the far reaching effects it can have on body systems like everywhere,i think a full brain thru spinal MRI would realistically be the best step here considering his ongoing and seemingly progressive types of symptoms,they could be stemming from any number of possibilities.just starting at the very top of the CNS and going down with that scan would possibly show some level of abnormalities within those areas.at the very least here it could either rule in or out many many possible generators of his symptoms.brian gave you some really great suggestions for the best types of meds for his particular type of pain.narcotics in some cases can help some too,but when pain is neuropathic in nature the rate of success with them can be kind of hit or miss,depending on what is actually generating it to begin with.but they should be at least attempted with some patients just to see,since some levels of neuropathic types of pain are not always 'just' neuro.there could be another more structural/disease process or condition type of problem that is also present which narcotics could possibly help too.

it would really help to know just what tests they have done on him and when they were done and what the highlights of the findings were.thanks,marcia
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Old 12-26-2007, 08:32 PM   #4
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Re: Pain in legs and feet etc. no relief, diag PN???

Look for a good quality (not walmart) fish oil capsule with 1000 mg and take one a day. I use Whole Foods brand. My endocrinologist recommended keeping them in the freezer to cut down on "fish flavored burps", and that does help. I had gone through the horrible burning hands and feet for over 20 years, lost the feeling in my feet and legs to the knees and my hands up past my wrists. After taking the fish oil for several months I can now feel hot and cold again with my hands and fingers, and feel the grass and wind on my feet. It is amazing how this worked for me.

 
Old 02-27-2008, 09:47 AM   #5
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Re: Pain in legs and feet etc. no relief, diag PN???

My husband, who suffers from Peripheral Neuropathy, was just put on Lyrica. After suffering for years, it seems that Lyrica gave him relief within two days. I'm so happy
about this and wanted to share it with everyone out there. Hope this helps someone!
Ask your doctor about it....I sound like a commercial but honestly it has helped him.
Good Luck!

 
Old 02-27-2008, 04:10 PM   #6
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Re: Pain in legs and feet etc. no relief, diag PN???

hello. My neuropathy has also been caused by chemical exposure. Back last January at 39 years of age, I was beginning to wander if i could really make it through the day. It took my GP looking at me and saying that I had to get relief and then I laid down my resistance to lyrica and his other suggestions. I was scared of lyrica b/c of the side effects but it has stablized the PN and allowed me to continue with my life in a different but still productive way. I also had to reach a point of acceptance to the fact that I was going to have to get beyond the anger of "why me". Along with 300mg of lyrica, I take 50mg of nortriptyline, and PRN for darvacet and a muscle relaxer called Ali-Flex. I can totally understand the cramping. I have had episodes where it felt like every muscle in my body was being strectched as far as it could go. Luckily this muscle relaxer does not cause drowsiness and I can take it at work or driving. This is a good combo for me and your husband will find what is best for him. He may have to take some leave time at first to see how new drugs will affect him or start the drug on a weekend. The last thing I do that has helped me get back some of my past self is to go to the gym 3 to 4 times a week. I do a workout that does not put much force on my feet(recumbant bike). I also use some weight machines which have helped the weakness on my right side. If you don't work these muscles then they will forget what to do. Like your husband, when climbing stairs I have to really concentrate on making my right leg do what my brain is telling it too. With a supportive wife like you I know he will get through this. good luck!

 
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