Linda had been having symptoms of menopause for two years but they had become worse over the past 6 months, which motivated her to come in for treatment. She was having severe hot flashes as often as ten times per day and also had night sweats that would leave her drenched with sweat. She had vaginal dryness which made intercourse painful, she used lubricants that helped only a little bit. She also noticed changes in her mood. Lately she was feeling very tearful and would cry easily and often, which was unusual for her. She felt very irritable, especially toward her husband, which was putting a strain on their relationship. She had gained 20 pounds over the past 2 years with no change in diet or exercise. She had a Dexa scan (bone mineral density test) a year earlier that showed Osteopenia (thinning of the bones) but decided not to use medication due to the possible side effects.
Kim was in her mid-thirties and the mother of three. She knew it was normal to be tired with three kids but she said she was just exhausted all the time. She was always tired and the fatigue was getting to the point that her body ached and it was hard to get out of bed in the morning. She knew something was not right but wasn’t sure how to help herself. Her symptoms seemed to be getting worse over the past year. She dragged herself out of bed each morning and relied on 3-5 cups of coffee to get through her day. She had to be up early to get her kids ready for school, make their lunches, and get them to school on time. She had also noticed her hair was thinning and that really alarmed her.
Melanie’s migraine headaches would come on suddenly with nausea and excruciating pain on the right side of her head and behind her right eye. The pain was achey and sometimes throbbing and would usually get up to an 8-9 out of 10 on the pain scale. When she had a migraine she would have to stop whatever she was doing and retreat to a dark, quiet room to try and rest until the headache subsided. She took Zomig which helped but insurance would only cover 12 pills per month, so she often resorted to taking 1600 mg of Ibuprofen at a time, which helped take the pain away but was causing heart burn and stomach pain.
Kathy was an active 65 year old woman who had osteoarthritis. Part of her daily routine was walking 3 miles each day. She liked to get outside and her waking kept her active. It was also social as she walked with other women in her neighborhood. However, over the last couple of years her hip became increasingly more painful and disrupted her ability to exercise. It became more evident in the last several months when she could only walk 1/2 mile slowly and painfully. Nothing really helped her pain. Since she had gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) she was unable to take NSAIDs for the pain such as Ibuprophen. Kathy wasn’t sure what to do to help the pain.
DISABLING PAIN AT TWENTY-THREE
Sarah was on disability by the time she was in her early twenties. She had severe and relentless back pain and hip pain that radiated down her entire left leg to her foot. She had been to several specialist and they could not find the cause of her pain. In fact, some of the doctors did not believe her when she explained she could barely walk and do normal activities like grocery shopping or driving. She had been to so many doctors and her severe pain was not treated successfully. This resulted in her being on disability and semi-homebound for the last three years. The pain was severe and daily at a level of 8 to 9 out of 10. She was put on narcotics which only slightly numbed the pain but did not get rid of it. The intensity of the pain was so great that at times it took her breath away. She was at this point resigned to the fact that her life would be like this forever. She came for a visit from the advice of a friend but did not believe that she could be helped.