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Missing the bookcase for the forest

I’m on a new medication as of July. It’s working really well, only after I was on it for a few weeks, I started to have a lot of muscle stiffness, cramping and spasticity, including pharyngeolaryngeal pain. A lot more than usual. This is part and parcel to my underlying chronic pain disorder, the one for which I have taken two other medications for the past several years. As you may recall, I have a rare bone malformation in my neck that causes chronic pain and neuropathy, so the pharyngeolaryngeal pain specifically said to me, your other medications aren’t working anymore.

I contacted the specialist managing the new medication to tell her that the new medication was controlling what it was intended to control, but it seemed to make my other medications less effective and I didn’t know why. What was her response? “Please consult your primary care physician regarding pain.”

So I email my primary care doctor, only to get back that she’s not familiar with the new medication I’m taking, and so I should consult the specialist. So, being a millennial, I referred myself to Dr. Google with a consult from Wikipedia, MD, and discovered, to no particularly great surprise, that the new medication had the common and less common side effects including muscle pain, spasticity, stiffness, pharyngeolaryngeal pain, loss of appetite, etc. – the usual platter of side effects associated with drugs that impact neurotransmitters.

What’s the takeaway from the experience? Yes, I am disabled. Yes, I have chronic pain. But if my pain level suddenly gets dramatically worse shortly after you change my medication regimen, dear doctor, it’d be really great if you could go ahead and NOT assume that because I am a chronic pain patient, all my pain is chronic pain.

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Yessenia is a graduate student studying to be a speech therapist with an emphasis on traumatic brain injuries. She spends far too much time correcting the wrong people on the internet, lifting heavy things and training her cats. She's a proud internet atheist and trolls only for the greater good.

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