This is the first time I've ever visited the off-topic forums, I've never really gotten involved with the community side of ATS before, having taken
a bit of a scattergun approach to my membership contributions, in terms of topics explored and threads started. It's been a chaotic journey to my
current open-minded and somewhat more chilled out state of being, and I'm looking to make a fresh start here on ATS. I figured sharing a little
about my health situation and asking whether anyone has any ideas for alternative treatment methods might be a good place to start.
With that in mind, I suffer a serious form of chronic pain syndrome which combines with incapacitating neuropathic spasms, leaving me unable to walk
far (need crutches to visit a shop from my car, can only really visit one shop before I'm wasted and need to go home - longer excursions require a
wheelchair). I experience what is known as hyperalgesia - sudden, horrendously painful 'electric shock' type nerve pain, which tracks in a radial
fashion through the nerve roots in my lower back and down the legs via sciatic nerves, along with other nerves. This also affects my hips and
sacroiliac regions, and combines with something called Allodynia (a hyper-sensitivity to stimuli causing pain which usually wouldn't cause pain -
example, sitting upright in bed, turning over in bed, trying to walk) - those are the main aspects of my condition, though there are complex issues
connected to these symptoms, and side effects from the ridiculous amount of different medications I have to take to manage even a vague semblance of
life. I'm on high doses of gabapentin, amitryptiline, codeine, tramadol, morphine; also moderate doses of diazepam and paracetamol. My prescription
has been monitored and modified over the past eighteen months, after I was hospitalised for ten weeks due to a major degeneration in my condition.
I've been under the care of a neurologist and an anaesthesiologist (pain management specialist) for those eighteen months, and have now been
discharged on the basis that there is nothing further that modern medical science can do to help me. My prescription is signed off by both men as
acceptable for ongoing use, and my general practitioners are very supportive, though naturally there is nothing further that they can do - they simply
check to see how I'm getting on every now and then. I hope it's clear that the condition has left me disabled in the full sense of the word. The
last efforts of the medical practitioners was a pain management course, where they taught us the science of pain, explained the reasons for various
symptoms, told us all the requisite technical info of how the medications work, and gave us lessons in relaxation, guided visualisation and
self-hypnosis. I was also provided with a TENs machine, which does sometimes help taking the edge off the neuropathic pain. I'm signed up for a
'mindfulness meditation' course in the new year, as apparently it's a good approach to coping with constant and unpredictable pain problems.
Has anyone heard anything about any medication, non-typical to western medicine, which has been reported to have a positive effect in relieving
system-wide neuropathic pain? Some time ago I read a wonderful book by an excellent anthropologist named Jeremy Narby. The book was called: 'The
Cosmic Serpent; DNA and the origins of knowledge'. In it, he describes how he spent time with Amazonian shamans and was exposed to their methods of
gaining knowledge concerning the medicinal properties of various jungle flora. A brief mention was made of a plant which, when prepared properly, was
able to have a regenerative effect upon damaged nerves, significantly reducing pain that has been chronic and irremovable to the time at which the
plant-based medicine is used,
Trouble is, he doesn't mention in the book what the plant was called! I think this may have been because he had gained an understanding of and
sympathy for the fate of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin - they were promised money by pharmaceutical companies for any indications of
plants with healing properties that they could point out. When such advice was given to these very western snakes, the natives were not paid properly
(a 'magic beans' payment type situation, but without the bonus of a mystical beanstalk) - often they were almost immediately kicked out of their
ancestral homes/territories, so that the pharmaceutical giants could come to investigate en-masse.
My question to ATS is simple - do you know which plant he may have been talking about? I have relatives who live in South America, with access to
Amazonian shamans literally a five hour car journey away. I just need the name of the plant, and I might have access to the possibility of
significantly reduced pain problems; naturally, if I discover what it's called, I can possibly help others who suffer chronic pain, via the forums
and support groups I'm involved with (I wouldn't tell big pharma). It may sound like a 'snake oil' promise, but the author is steadfastly
scientific in his approach to his work, even though his methodology was a little unorthodox compared to standard 'sterile' anthropology, where the
person simply observes and never participates. The author's methodology was based in solid logic, and he laid out a disclaimer about certain aspects
of his subjective experiences whilst working with the shamans on their vision quests.
Thanks all, look forward to any and all discussions as they arise.