Ask Larry:

Question: I am a 57 year old woman and am currently dealing with pain issues, along with many of the “symptoms” related to low thyroid (eyebrows almost gone in upper half, weight gain, fatigue plus others) and Post Menopausal problems. I am ordering the Progesterone cream, as my current MD took me off the low-dose estrogen/progesterone I was on, as she just decided I did not need them even though they were prescribed by my Gynecologist.

Regarding the pain issues, I have had a number of serious accidents/incidents. I have some serious and persistent pain: in my back, neck and legs. Am currently going to a Pain Management Clinic, but the MD there wants to do an Epidural and I am choosing to not do that at this time. Have done chiropractic, some PT, and pain meds as needed for several years, some massage therapy. However, I am very interested in trying something different for pain.

I am currently taking Gabapentin for leg pain and it has helped incredibly. After some MRIs, I learned I have pretty severe arthritis in some vertebrae in my back and neck, several herniated discs also. Pain makes it hard to work sometimes, unless I take pain medication (hydrocodone), but that makes me feel a little “spacey”.

Do you have any suggestions as to what would help? I will be glad to send you copies of recent evaluations regarding my back/neck issues.

Larry’s Response:

I must start by emphasizing that you are asking me for advice on issues that are far outside my areas of expertise. Also, there are so many things going on at the same time that I am certain that any one thing is impacting others – to the point where it is all but impossible to suggest a simpler approach without first backing away from some of the treatments and therapies you are using.

If I found myself in a situation like yours I’d work with one doctor – or a group in a clinic. I’d want to stop using all medications and all treatments. I understand that the pain would be bad, but I would have to tolerate it until I could discover the causes and which approaches are best for them. While I was detoxing from all the other drugs I’d be straightening out my diet, drinking purified (filtered) water, eating organic food, reducing red meat consumption by at least 90%, eliminating all processed foods, dropping all but a small amount of carbohydrates, eliminating all sugars and artificial sweeteners, and using quality nutritional supplements (with plenty of vitamin D, vitamin C, B vitamins, and magnesium).

If you are using any drugs to lower cholesterol you might want to ask your doctor help you stop using them. They have a distinct probability of unbalancing all of the body’s hormones. Cholesterol is an important item from which all of our hormones (and vitamin D) are made.

I think there is a clear choice available; continue using drugs – and adding more when ordered – or stepping back to start over. But, starting over doesn’t mean changing one drug for another or making one nutritional change without doing it all.

On top of this, exercising is vital even if it aggravates the pain. Numerous studies over the decades have shown clearly that arthritis is improved dramatically with just small increases in exercise.

This is about all I can offer without more specific information. However, please don’t send copies of your evaluations. I am not in a position to offer the in depth analysis that you would need to sort out all the issues you mention. That’s why I suggest you talk to your doctor(s) to devise a plan for creating wellness instead of only masking symptoms.