Aches and pains

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Aches and pains

Postby bromley » Wed Sep 15, 2004 1:56 am

I was diagnosed in May 2004 and am on no treatment at present. However, I'm getting fed up with stiffness and aches and pains (legs / arms / back etc) - particualrly in the morning. Does anyone know of anything that might help? My neurologist made no suggestions and didn't seem very bothered (do they have their hearts taken out at medical school?).

The other problem I have is sleep - I keep waking at 3.00 each morning and lay awake until I get up at 6.30. I'm not keen on getting hooked on sleeping pills - any other suggestions?


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Postby Felly » Wed Sep 15, 2004 2:25 am

Hi Bromley,

As you know none of us can give medical advice. I suggest you get a referral to see a rheumatologist because this may not be the MS.

After diagnosis it is very easy to attribute every ache and pain to MS and sometimes they are not related. However, before one can say for certain you will need tests.

For example, aches and pains in the morning-before activity- are more often associated with arthritis. If after walking more likely (but with no certainty) it is MS if before moving more likely it is arthritis or an associated disorder.

Aches in the ankles can be related to MS if your posture has changed and other muscles are affected but you would know about it it this had happened and your neurologist would see the signs.

Age, general fitness and weight also play a role with aches and pains in the morning as does how you are sleeping. If you have lesions in you spine, dependent on where they are, sometimes they can make sleeping in certain positions difficult, similarly if you have leg spasms you may be having them during the night. And they could be waking you up. Some medications can also interfere with sleep such as anti-depressants, like prozac.

I suggest doing some gentle stretching in the evening and in the morning as this may help with the aches and pains. Make sure you stretch correctly - it shouldn't hurt, if it does you are risking injury. Maybe see a physio - a good idea for anyone with MS as they can really help with posture and excercises that can help allievate pain.

Some suggestions on sleeping that may be of help (you might have tried them already but here goes)

Stop drinking caffeine at least 6 hours before going to bed

Drink camomile tea 1/2 hr before bed (make sure it is pure camomile)

Go for a relaxing walk an hour before bed

Try to switch off and wind down, take nice warm bath with lavender oil, play some soothing music.

Make sure all electrical equipment is switched off in your bedroom

Keep your bedroom dark but cool

Try sleeping with a pillow under your knees as this can go someway to alleviate the aches and pains in the morning.

Invest in an orthopedic pillow to encourage proper posture in bed (if you have lesions at the top of your spine this will really help).

Take a herbal sleeping pill such as valerian or passiflora - nightol is not too bad, but you need to give it a few days before you will know if it suits you are not. In a small number of people valerian actually keeps them awake.

Keep to a regular sleeping pattern, try to get to bed about an hour before midnight at the latest.

If you do wake up: try some deep breathing and focus on relaxing your muscles and limbs one by one.

If this doesn't work get up and make a list of things that are worrying you. The worst thing you can do is lie there worrying.

If you are not sleeping well at night (and many people with MS don't) then you are going to be tired during the day and the temptation is to have a nap, if this is something that happens to you if possible try not to do this for a couple of days just to see if this helps with your nighttime sleep.

Insomnia can be both an emotional and a physical condition with a multitude of causes. If you are worried about MS then this could be another reason for sleeplessness.

Hope this helps, goodluck

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Postby carolsue » Wed Sep 15, 2004 12:41 pm

I sometimes have similar problems with going back to sleep if I wake up in the middle of the night. Felly has some great advice. I'll add that I sometimes wear earplugs so that some late night noise doesn't wake me in the first place. And I'll give myself about 15 minutes to fall back asleep. If I don't, I get up and make myself some herbal tea to bring back to bed with me. That and a book will usually knock me out.
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