The go natural, less meds debateNov 02 01:16
Oxybutynin for bladder spasms, Baclofen for muscle spasms, Docusate Sodium for the bowels, the list goes on and on. These are some of the meds typically prescribed to someone with a spinal cord injury. But just because they tell us to, should we take all of those meds? And are they good for us? Long-term? You have people arguing both sides fiercely, and as for me, 18 years into being paralyzed, I’m pretty sure that isn’t an option anymore.
When I was first hurt, I was put on a ton of meds and as I progressed into my early ‘20s I weaned myself off as many as possible. I did it to feel less disabled, more “normal;” not because I wanted the so-called health benefits. And as I did it, what I found was pretty surprising. I realized taking all those pills every single day wasn’t necessary. I found taking just one Oxybutynin per week was enough. But then I got older, and more Oxybuntynin became needed (getting old will do that to you). I now take meds, some, but try to take the least amount as possible. You should never neglect your body in the process of trying to be healthy. Its counter-productive like that.
But what do other SCI people believe? Depends on who you ask. I’ve met several paraplegics who’ve taken themselves off of every single med possible and are living healthy, happy lives. Their bodies are able to adjust themselves and still function without meds. These paras feel great and love sharing their stories of med-free lives. They make Dr. Weil and health nuts across the world proud. But the hitch: This isn’t possible for everyone with a SCI. The higher the injury, the more neurogenic symptoms. Sometimes you just have to say yes to drugs.
Where do you stand on this subject? Do you think less is more, or do you take a slew of meds each day without hesitation?
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1. Shark7 | Nov 02 02:13
I agree that taking fewer meds is desirable and some physians overprescribe. However, stopping meds without consulting a physcian is dangerous. If you stop taking an anticholinergic (Ditropan, Oxybutin) you may remain "dry" but there is a strong likelyhood that high bladder pressures are doing permanent damage to your bladder and kidney's--the only way to check if this is happening is a urodynamic exam. And there are alternatives to anticholinergics. If you stop taking baclofen all at once you risk a seizure. The key is finding the allusive physician that will llisten to your concerns and offer options. They are out there and well worth the time and effort to find them.
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.