Emotional impact of pain dulled by prednisone?

TJ_in_UT

Well-Known Member
I went on a 6-day course of prednisone back in August when I was in treatment for chronic sinusitis. On day two of prednisone, I felt better than I'd felt in over a year! Pain was modestly reduced, my mind was much less foggy, and my energy and mood were up. It was a pretty productive day.

While any relief is nice, the thing that was most interesting was the change I noticed in my emotional response to pain. On day two, the pain was still there, but it just didn't bother me like it usually does. I was able to say to myself, "Yes, that hurts, but I can still do this." Often, the pain makes me just want to give up -- I feel emotionally overwhelmed by the experience of pain. I was able to observe that there was a difference between the feeling of pain and the emotional reaction to that pain.

Frankly, I don't expect pain to ever leave my life completely, but if I could get that emotional reaction under control, I expect that I'd be able to do more in spite of pain. What have you found to help diffuse crippling emotional responses you may have to pain and illness? Long-term use of prednisone seems like a very bad idea. I've been thinking a lot about gabapentin, and I plan to see my doctor about getting on it next Tuesday.
 

Creekside

Member
I tried prednisone. The first course went five days with no effects, and I thought it was just another failed treatment, but the next morning I awoke feeling great: full remission. That faded when I tapered off. The second course gave the same response after two days. Prednisone never worked again after that. I tried it at least twice in the years after than, but it had zero effect, even at double the normal dose. Other people have reported the same 'works great the first time or two, then stops working' effect. So, long-term use of prednisone is likely to not be an effective treatment. Some people report that an occasional capsule will block PEM for a day.

Oh, as for the emotional effects of blocking pain, yes I've noticed that too. I had muscle aches (focused in the front thigh muscles) that definitely hampered my desire to do things. LDN blocked that pain effectively for a few years, and allowed me to enjoy walking and other activities again. Then the aches went away, though they occasionally return when something triggers stronger ME symptoms.
 

Not dead yet!

Well-Known Member
Prednisone has always had a positive effect on me. My current setup with my MD is that I must leave a month in between the stepwise treatment packs.

Since I have arthritis I could take it daily, but this is why I don't: https://www.naturalendocrinesolutions.com/archives/the-dangers-of-steroid-medications-how-they-affect-thyroid-health/

If you read the 'side effects" it merely hints at the thyroid connection between prednisone and thyroid problems.

I also take active T3, so maybe for me, that's why it's safer to take prednisone (T3 isn't dependent on TSH levels).

So far this has worked well for a year and my thyroid indicators are all perfect. They were never perfect before the combination of T3 and periodic prednisone.

OTOH< I don't feel like I'm recovering, just holding steady. At least the downward spiral has stopped though.

My elderly relatives are always given prednisone whenever they have a respiratory infection and I can confirm that any mild dementia they have is instantly reversed within a couple of days and the clarity remains for a month or so after. I also feel like my life goes much better on prednisone.

There are some alternative medicine specialists for adrenal exhaustion. In my area, sometimes compounding pharmacies will direct you to such a person (since they make the formulas for them). Usually adrenal exhaustion is revealed when the thyroid is fixed, once your thyroid levels are properly medicated, then you get the adrenal exhaustion effects and can see them clearly for the first time. Trouble is, normal medicine assumes the body will fix itself, but in my case it didn't.

Another way to help the adrenals is to take DHEA, a precursor to some of the adrenal hormones. There may be other precursors out there, but that's the one I like, it helped me recover enough to start seeking medical help. I was too sick to leave the house before that.
 

TJ_in_UT

Well-Known Member
It's interesting that people have such a variety of effects from prednisone. I'm pretty sure I have a messed up HPA axis. Seems to go with the CFS territory. After all this time off work and taking it easy, I'm sure my adrenals have the umph to make more cortisol than they do, but they just aren't getting the message that they need to do so.

Creekside, I tried LDN for a while, but it didn't seem to make a difference. But I didn't take it for long, and didn't experiment with the dosage, either, so maybe it could help. I'm fortunate that I can go out walking every day, since I'm not a severe case.

NDY, have you ever taken hydrocortisone? I think that's the bioidentical version of cortisol.
 

Not dead yet!

Well-Known Member
It's interesting that people have such a variety of effects from prednisone. I'm pretty sure I have a messed up HPA axis. Seems to go with the CFS territory. After all this time off work and taking it easy, I'm sure my adrenals have the umph to make more cortisol than they do, but they just aren't getting the message that they need to do so.

Creekside, I tried LDN for a while, but it didn't seem to make a difference. But I didn't take it for long, and didn't experiment with the dosage, either, so maybe it could help. I'm fortunate that I can go out walking every day, since I'm not a severe case.

NDY, have you ever taken hydrocortisone? I think that's the bioidentical version of cortisol.
I never noticed a difference with hydrocrotisone, rubbed into my skin. Except when I stopped I had a definite reaction. I was thinking.. oh no effect. But it was having an effect. I haven't ever taken it orally. And now that I take prednisone, I'm staying away from hydro- because I just don't want to cause any issues.
 

TJ_in_UT

Well-Known Member
I never noticed a difference with hydrocrotisone, rubbed into my skin. Except when I stopped I had a definite reaction. I was thinking.. oh no effect. But it was having an effect. I haven't ever taken it orally. And now that I take prednisone, I'm staying away from hydro- because I just don't want to cause any issues.
That's very odd that your reacted. Could you have been reacting to something else in the cream?
 

Not dead yet!

Well-Known Member
That's very odd that your reacted. Could you have been reacting to something else in the cream?
No, I was using ointment, the only ingredients were hydro and (vaseline). Unless it was contaminated. I think my adrenals took a break and then were stressed when I stopped.
 

TJ_in_UT

Well-Known Member
No, I was using ointment, the only ingredients were hydro and (vaseline). Unless it was contaminated. I think my adrenals took a break and then were stressed when I stopped.
Could be. There is a negative feedback loop involved in cortisol production.
 

debs

Member
Frankly, I don't expect pain to ever leave my life completely, but if I could get that emotional reaction under control, I expect that I'd be able to do more in spite of pain. What have you found to help diffuse crippling emotional responses you may have to pain and illness?
Unfortunate to say this, but I find that plain old denial has served me best and taught me the most about my inner resources.
 

cujet

Active Member
the thing that was most interesting was the change I noticed in my emotional response to pain. On day two, the pain was still there, but it just didn't bother me like it usually does.
Prednisone is in essence, synthetic Corsisol. Cortisol being the hormone we use to handle stress.
 

jaminhealth

Well-Known Member
I avoid Steroids with a passion, too much damage done from them.

Breakdown of bones, osteoporosis and other stuff that I don't feel like researching now. .
 

Not dead yet!

Well-Known Member
I avoid Steroids with a passion, too much damage done from them.

Breakdown of bones, osteoporosis and other stuff that I don't feel like researching now. .
I actuallly tried to find information about the exact negative effects of steroid anti-inflammatories like prednisone. It's harder to find that I expected. I wonder how much of he supposed negative effects are urban legend, supported by pharmacos because they're a cheap drug that's not under patent?

I konw that women who have Crohn's that take prednisone daily have osteoporosis, but their gut is so damaged that I don't think we can blame the drug in that case. What are the other reasons to take it?

Severe arthritis is another reason to take prednisone. That's a collagen dysfunction. Which is already a disaease that affects bones. So I can't say that osteoporosis is directly a result of the drug there either. If bones didn't need collagen then they wouldn't contain it and I couldn't make bone broth that turns into savory jello.

The only accusation that I think the jury is out on so far, is that prednisone can mimic all other hormones in the body. But seriously ALL? Really? How many studies have we done to prove that? Can it mimic vitamin D? That's a hormone. I feel like we're finding accusations for a drug that works well. And the downsides aren't proven.

How do we know that those people wouldn't get osteoporosis anyway? Or they wouldn't get hypothyroid anyway? Both of those are things we don't understand very well. Why blame a cheap drug that relieves suffering?

The lower immune system issue. Really? Where is the evidence for that? I've looked. Maybe I missed it. What I see is that it lowers inflammation which is out of control in auto immune problems like thrombocytopenia (a form of blood disorder where the body's immune system kills blood cells, often in the elderly). In a case like that, less inflammation is reducing immune activity in a good way. Auto immune problems are the classic use for prednisone.

If you want actual modification of how the immune system works, you have to look for the new expensive monoclonal antibody therapies, used in cancer. But they have other uses as well. Prednisone just modifies the inflammatory response which many people need to have modified.

Well that's my take on it. I plan to continue using it.
 

jaminhealth

Well-Known Member
I'm into 9 months using a homeopathic HGH gel, on my skin, and it's keeping this 81 yr old going better and no steroids. The OA I live with isn't too pleasant and take no pharma drugs for it. They are essentially poison in my mind. I believe the extra magnesium I take daily keeps my bones strong...no osteoporosis.
 

Larry

Member
I went on a 6-day course of prednisone back in August when I was in treatment for chronic sinusitis. On day two of prednisone, I felt better than I'd felt in over a year! Pain was modestly reduced, my mind was much less foggy, and my energy and mood were up. It was a pretty productive day.

While any relief is nice, the thing that was most interesting was the change I noticed in my emotional response to pain. On day two, the pain was still there, but it just didn't bother me like it usually does. I was able to say to myself, "Yes, that hurts, but I can still do this." Often, the pain makes me just want to give up -- I feel emotionally overwhelmed by the experience of pain. I was able to observe that there was a difference between the feeling of pain and the emotional reaction to that pain.

Frankly, I don't expect pain to ever leave my life completely, but if I could get that emotional reaction under control, I expect that I'd be able to do more in spite of pain. What have you found to help diffuse crippling emotional responses you may have to pain and illness? Long-term use of prednisone seems like a very bad idea. I've been thinking a lot about gabapentin, and I plan to see my doctor about getting on it next Tuesday.

All of the eastern movement practices directly address this very issue. Pain is a part of life, however our reaction to it totally under our control. While pain IS a valid message, the meaning behind it may not be what you think. What is your pain teacher here to tell you?
 

jaminhealth

Well-Known Member
There are many ways to address pain and I avoid those hard core drugs like steroids and gabapentin.

For sinus issues and I had my share for decades...no drugs and Grape Seed Extract keeps that part of my life in good standing. Been taking it close to 25 yrs. Again Less drugs the better for this body.
 

Not dead yet!

Well-Known Member
All of the eastern movement practices directly address this very issue. Pain is a part of life, however our reaction to it totally under our control. While pain IS a valid message, the meaning behind it may not be what you think. What is your pain teacher here to tell you?
This amounts to "suck it up buttercup." Because if it doesn't work for someone then what? It leaves them more damaged emotionally than before because now they think they "failed" to control their pain. You can't think your way out of a broken leg.
 

TJ_in_UT

Well-Known Member
All of the eastern movement practices directly address this very issue. Pain is a part of life, however our reaction to it totally under our control. While pain IS a valid message, the meaning behind it may not be what you think. What is your pain teacher here to tell you?
Pain (like any form of discomfort) provokes a stress response once it exceeds a certain level. This is an autonomic response, not totally under our control. Brain retraining work can help get it under control, but that is a process that has more to do with creating new associations and pathways in the brain, not sheer will power. I've been reading about this in "Your Survival Instinct Is Killing You" by Dr. Marc Schoen.
 

TJ_in_UT

Well-Known Member
This amounts to "suck it up buttercup." Because if it doesn't work for someone then what? It leaves them more damaged emotionally than before because now they think they "failed" to control their pain. You can't think your way out of a broken leg.
There is a certain validity in what he said. Our pain in a separate thing from our emotional reaction to being in pain. It is possible to reign in the emotional reaction, but takes time and work (as I said above).
 

Larry

Member
Our bodies are sensors. Pain is just a sensation. It's a message or warning. Suffering is what happens when sensation passes through our ego. This turns the volume of pain up or down. If you get shot with a bullet, you won't feel it. until you feel safe enough to use your ego again. As soldiers stormed Normandy, some had an arm blown off. They keep moving with no pain until they were safe in a hospital. Our bodies encounter this process all day long. How many times can you drive down the road and not remember the last mile? You were on auto pilot. All of us do this. We go unconscious to avoid feeling things that aren't deemed necessary by the ego. The problem is the ego can be a construct of someone else's beliefs. When we suffer, this means a pain signal is received calling us to action. Which action we then take is a product of the unconscious part of us. If we do not take action, we will suffer and the pain will increase. This is our pain teacher calling us to action. A lack of action causes the freeze response. Prolonged freeze response causes disregulation of the system. In CFS, this is where energy is being wasted unknowingly to us. Our energy is being used to keep the freeze response in action. Just as a battery must be constantly charged to remain in a charged state, or a spring must be compressed to stay coiled, our bodies waste energy to maintain suffering. Think of two magnets with similar poles. If we're holding a positive side near another positive side, the magnets will try to push away from one another. We will need our bodies energy to hold them in place. The stronger the magnetic energy (suffering in this case), the more energy will be needed to keep them closer together. This is resistance. Eastern philosophies teach how to feel this in the body. If we were to then hold the same two magnets but with a positive side facing a negative side, the magnets will attract without needing any energy from us to bring them together. As woo woo as this may sound, Pacing teaches us this without having to understand it logically BEFORE we start. Yoga teaches this, Meditation teaches this. Healing from CFS requires awareness that one foot is on the gas and one foot is on the brake at the same time. As I have described so far, this causes resistance, which in this case is friction, which causes heat, which ultimately breaks the system. When we Pace, we learn where we are creating resistance in our system. When the resistance is allowed to flow freely, the body heals rapidly. If you only adhere to strict pacing, all of this will unfold on its own. It's not the prison many think it will be, it's actually the path out.
 

Not dead yet!

Well-Known Member
There is a certain validity in what he said. Our pain in a separate thing from our emotional reaction to being in pain. It is possible to reign in the emotional reaction, but takes time and work (as I said above).
It doesn't stop the pain though.
 

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