One subject I really haven’t addressed on here yet is medicine. This surprises me, because if there is one piece of advice I could give anyone in a situation similar to mine, it would be to become as naturally healthy as possible. That means getting off any medication that is not 100% necessary or does not have a natural alternative (which most medications do). The few main meds that I am mostly against are anti-depressants, pain medication, and baclofen. All of these that I just mentioned are highly addictive and/or dependents. Meaning, your body will become highly dependent on them over time.
I know a lot of people who say anti-depressants are great once you find the one that best suits you. I have a couple of problems with that. First being that you are going to need to test out multiple brands that each have their own side effects and also take weeks to “regulate” into your system. This process could not only take months to be effective, but could also cause problems with any other medications you’re taking or even worsen your depression. Alternatives to anti-depressants are so simple and effective that I have the hardest time understanding why people don’t choose this route. The main thing is your diet. The nutrients you put into your body make you feel the way you do. If you’re a healthier eater and exercise regularly, you’re going to notice a positive difference. It’s as simple as that. If you’re thinking ‘ok.. you just became a paraplegic, eating a banana isn’t gong to help that kind of depression’ you’re right. It won’t, but in the long run, neither will medication. The only thing that will help something of that magnitude is time.
Pain medication. I have so much to say and so much personal history with this stuff that I honestly don’t know where to start. When you’re first injured there is no other choice but to take pain meds, and a lot of them. Unless you want to suffer like you couldn’t imagine. What they’re doing to your stomach lining, liver and kidneys is by no means a good thing and staying on them can cause major difficulties with these organs. But the choice to slowly wean yourself off them when the time comes will not only be hard, but it will probably have some negative effects as well. With a recovery that takes years, it will only be normal that you’d take pain meds for a while (months-years). With my recovery it was also different on a whole other level because it is very hard to regain movement in muscles that are numbed by drugs like Vicodin, Norco and Oxycontin. If you are having trouble weaning off you might want to consider a non-narcotic. This may be a very controversial suggestion, but this is my blog and I feel that if others in my situation will benefit from it, then I will take some judgement. The best suggestion for pain, anxiety, sleeping difficulty, appetite problems, tremor/spasm pain, nerve pain or tingling is cannabis. The best quality it possesses when it comes to recovery is that there is so many forms, so there’s something for everyone. Although, the only downside is that it is not medically legal in every state. Almost every person I’ve come in contact with that are also injured use some form of cannabis.
Lastly, I will strongly urge anyone with any type of paralysis to stay away from Baclofen. If you’re not familiar, Baclofen is primarily used to “treat” spasticity. Usually its used in pill form, but in some cases it needs to be inserted via intrathecal pump (which has the potential to malfunction and cause some serious health problems, possibly ending in death). My experience with Baclofen was not only a bad one, but it took so long for me and the doctors to realize that it was the Baclofen causing my other health issues. With my body being so fragile at the time it was the perfect candidate for a lot of the side effects.
The main ones being:
dizziness (which is terrible for a person with low blood pressure like myself)
drowsiness (which is terrible when you take it 3 times a day and are expected to do aggressive physical therapy)
unusual weakness- especially muscle weakness (which is the complete opposite of what I need)
loss of appetite (which isnt good when you’ve already shed 35 lbs.)
low blood pressure (which a doctor will “fix” with another drug with other side effects)
muscle or joint pain (which is weird, considering its supposed to help pain in some cases)
A lot, right? It took over a year for me to finally realize it was the medicine worsening these issues. When I finally got off it the amount of recovery I saw amazed me. Not only were my muscles and joints feeling completly different, in a good way, but I had so much more energy to go to therapy and kick its ass. When coming off this drug, you have to be very careful and make sure to slowly wean yourself. Reason being, the side effects of stopping it may be even more dangerous than the ones of starting it. I’ll list them just so you can see what I mean…
Increase muscle spasm/ cramping
Mood or mental changes
Unusual nervousness/ restlessness
It might sounds crazy that I would suggest this, but bananas and avocados are proven to help muscle cramps/ spasms. They’re high in potassium, which helps ease tightness in muscles. As odd as it sounds, it definitely helps me. Also, drinking plenty of water to hydrate your muscles is important. If simply changing your diet isn’t enough, using electric stimulation on the spastic area will surely help!
These are just a few of the pharmaceuticals I feel strongly about. I could go on about this subject for days. The main reason being that only 4.5 months after I stopped using the majority of the drugs my doctor had me on, I was walking with assistance. This included pain killers and spasm medication. By no means am I saying you will walk again, but your chances are a lot higher with healthy body than with a weak/ sick one. I hope this info is insightful to others in a similar situation.