Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sleep or Pain? That is the quandary

Oh the difference a week or two can make.  The insomnia that I have been battling had made me crazy so I thought it time to try and figure out which (if any) of the meds I am on was contributing to it.  I had a feeling that it was the Neurontin, so I started there.  The first two days with out taking it at night (still doing the morning- not totally stupid) there was no change.  By the third night, I started to sleep.  I mean really sleep.  First four hours without interruption, then six, then two actual eight hour nights.  BINGO!  We have a winner.

Unfortunately- it came with a price.  By this Monday night I went to sleep around 11pm and though I woke to my alarms at 4:30 and 5:15- at which time I gave an out loud "Oh thank you GOD that it's Tuesday and I can sleep longer because I close tonight"- I finally crawled out of bed at 8am.  Note the word CRAWLED.  I may have been sleeping, but the pain and stiffness are back with a vengeance. To the point that it took over four hours yesterday from the time that  I got up to get my hands to be able to fist.  My hands, my wrists, my elbows and my hips all had that lovely gnawing pain that we with Rheumatoid Arthritis know so well all day long.  My lower back?  Started out aching and by the time I got home from work last night it was screaming.  I heated up a frozen pizza because I was not feeling up to cooking and as soon as I took the puppies for their somewhat-abbreviated-walk; I went up to my room, flipped on the television because Glee (which makes me SO happy-natch) was coming on, put on my jammies and tried to get comfortable. After almost two hours of trying to find a position that would alleviate the pain enough to bring sleep, I gave in and took the Neurontin.  

It kicked in fairly quickly, again with much gratitude on my part, and I was able to start drifting off by about 10:30.  At 12:30 I was wide awake.  I had been having MAD crazy dreams and woke up with one of those "What the H-E-double hockey sticks" thoughts going through my head.  I looked at the clock and promptly laid back down to try to go back to sleep.  Eyes wide open, I gave up after 30 minutes and got out of bed.  We are now creeping toward 5:30am, I have had the better part of a pot of coffee, watched a bunch of stuff off of my DVR , stretched through yoga, and am just starting to get tired again.  Of course we are just past the time that my second alarm goes off for the day so there is no going back to bed for me and it's going to be a long, long, long day.  I am feeling thankful that it's almost time for my morning dose because the stiffness and pain are making their way back despite having stretched and I want to head it off at the pass as much as possible.

This is my quandary.  My next appointment with my Rheumatologist is on the 17th.  I don't know which would be worse- the continued insomnia or the ramping up pain.  I will most definitely have to decide before tonight because the decision will come down to whether or not I take the Neurontin again before bed.  I am open to any suggestions that you may have that would help me get comfy enough to get to sleep without taking the Neurontin.  


abcsofra said...

Call the pharmacist you use and run this by him/her. They often have some great suggestions and often more time then the docs. Good luck! Either one isn't the answer for you: pain and sleep or sleep with pain.

Mainlyglobal said...

Hi Julie -

I have had chronic back pain for over 20 years, and have known a lot of folks with RA as well. As a group, we have resisted relying on traditional drug therapy and, as a result, have spent a great deal of time looking into more natural forms of relief. I have since developed a potentially effective method for acute and chronic pain relief that has worked quite well for me, as well as many arthritis sufferers. If you would like to read about our experiences, please feel free to download our white paper at Perhaps we can help make a difference in your life.

take care, thom

Wren said...

That's a real conundrum, Julie! Can you take narcotic pain meds, at night before bed, perhaps? Of course, they come with their own set of side effects...
It's strange how drugs affect people differently. My mother takes a single Neurontin capsule every night at bedtime; it seems to prevent or dull sciatic pain and totally knocks her out. She doesn't want to stop taking it because she sleeps through the night, now, something she hasn't done since my dad passed away in '05. And for you, it's causing insomnia. Amazing.
I take nortriptyline as a sleep aid these days. It's an anti-depressant with a side-effect of drowsiness. It took a while to find a dose that actually helped me drift off and stay asleep, but I'm so grateful for it. Nortriptyline also has a pain-relieving effect.
I wish you the very best of luck with this problem, m'friend. It's SO hard to function when you haven't slept well.
Hugs for you, Julie.