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Old 08-24-2000, 06:51 PM
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I suffer from chronic back pain. Have for about ten years, mostly for the last eight years or so, it's been pretty much nuisance level. But the last few weeks I've been having a flare-up that's been absolutely excruciating, to the point where I've been crying at work. Which may not be a bad thing, I'm a craps dealer, I figure it might be good for some pity tips.

I've tried all the standard non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, Lortab if it's so bad it keeps me from sleeping, and the only thing that I get any kind of meaningful relief from is Benadryl. I found this out accidentally, then I realized that my back flare ups do kind of coincide with my allergy flare-ups.

What gives here? Why does Benadryl work on my back pain?
My ex-boyfriend speculated that I might have some kind of auto-immune problem. I just wonder if maybe I have some damaged tissue in my back that my immune system is mistaking for foriegn tissue.

Has anyone else ever heard of this? Know of any websites I can check out that might help explain the back pain/allergy connection?
Old 08-24-2000, 09:34 PM
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It could be that the benadryl relaxes you. If the pain in your back is muscle related, the antihistamine might have you close enough to drowsiness that your muscles are relaxing a little. Have you tried Valerian Root? It is a natural mild muscle relaxer that I have found to be effective for me. It doesn't work for everyone and you will have nay sayers that doubt its efficacy, but it does really work for at least some people, and is worth a shot.
Old 08-24-2000, 09:47 PM
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Could just be stress. Stress is definitely an aggravating factor in both back pain and allergies.
Old 08-24-2000, 09:56 PM
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I don't know about Benadryl and back pain, but I lived in Vegas for almost a decade. Quite a few people swore by support pantyhose and/or girdles. Don't get the stiff girdles, get the ones that are soft and stretchy, and provide light support. Those all-in-one support garments are good for bad backs, too.
Old 08-24-2000, 10:22 PM
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I'll go with Meephead on this one, the Benadryl probably relaxes you. I have terrible allergies, I swear by Benadryl, mostly because it knocks my ass out so I don't have to deal with the sneezing. Works great for headaches, too! Benadryl-the panacea of the millenium!
Old 08-25-2000, 04:14 AM
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no, i think agisofia is on the money with the antihistamine thing. if benedryl were such a great low level muscle relaxant that it helps with chronic back pain, i'm almost positive that we would have heard of that by now (or at least the good folks at Benedryl would have).

if it's chronic pain, it makes sense that an immune response may be involved. i know that histamines are important in both swelling and pain, so even if there's no immune interaction the anthistamine would help with the pain a little. but given the fact that you had an excruciating amount of pain, agi, and had that pain sufficiently relieved by the benedryl, leads me to suspect that you may have some kind of rheumatismistic thing going on. i think your boyfriend is right. have you seen a doctor about that particular angle?
Old 08-25-2000, 06:36 AM
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Actually, I did bring this up to a doctor once, and he just kind of poo-poohed the idea that there could be any kind of connection between my allergies and my back pain. Next chance I get to go see a doctor, I'm going to bring it up again. There has to be something to this.
Old 08-25-2000, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jb_farley
no, i think agisofia is on the money with the antihistamine thing. if benedryl were such a great low level muscle relaxant that it helps with chronic back pain, i'm almost positive that we would have heard of that by now (or at least the good folks at Benedryl would have).
They have. This is why it is labeled as possibly making you drowsy - it is a sedative. It is an ingredient in some sleep-aid pills.

From New Jersey State Paramedic Association:
Quote:
Diphenhydramine hydrochloride is an antihistamine with anticholinergic (drying) effects and does have mild sedative side effects.
Old 08-25-2000, 05:24 PM
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Actually, it's in just about all of the sleep aids. I was looking for one once that didn't have diphenhydramine as its main ingredient. I've been taking Benadryl for allergies since I was a kid, when it was still only available as a prescription, and I think I've built up an immunity to the drowsiness side effect.

The point jb was trying to make is that if it were such a great muscle relaxant, it would probably be in the pain reliever aisle, right next to Doan's pills.
Old 08-25-2000, 08:08 PM
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yup.

douglips, just because something is a sedative does not mean that it is a pain killer, nor a muscle relaxant. in fact, take too much benedryl and you get wacky hallucinations and delusions and terribly itchy skin. but you have little or no reduced sensation.

agi, i hope this clears out for you soon. back pain, especially lower back pain (ugh), really sucks the sour ass.
Old 08-25-2000, 10:21 PM
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You may want to see a rheumatologist rather than your family MD to ask about the possible allergy/benadryl/back pain connection. Unfortunately, a lot of MDs tend to dismiss things they don't know much about. If the connection you propose is not widely known, a family MD could dismiss it, even though a specialist might not.

Good luck. Back pain is, well...a pain.
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Old 08-26-2000, 01:16 AM
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A memory from my junkie days: over-the-counter benadryl contains small amounts of codine (a prescription pian-killer), plus a seditive. we liked it because if you take about 10 it'll get you F***ed up, just like straight codine.
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Old 08-26-2000, 01:30 AM
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are you sure about that dude?

as far as I know, benedryl and all its generic equivalents are 100% diphenhydramine hydrochloride. it's chemically very similar to Dramamine, also called dimenhydrinate. diphenhydramine is also the main ingredient in Nytol and Sominex and the like. but if everybody knew that, the companies couldn't charge four to six times as much for the same product.

take one or two, and you get drowsy allergy relief. eat enough of em, and you start to affect neurotransmitter functions in a big way. seritonin and acetylcholine levels start fluctuating, and the next thing you know you're in a delerient state. as if your brain was kick started into sleep mode while you are still awake. not very pleasant.
Old 08-26-2000, 01:43 AM
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not 100% sure. as I said it was a memory from darker (well, blurier) times. I either read it somewhere, or heard it from one of my junkie friends, so it's not realy that reliable. all I know is it had the exact same high (well, low realy) as prescription codine.
and for the record, It was actualy quite pleasent, but quite adictive.
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Old 08-26-2000, 09:38 AM
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I agree the benadryl would have a relaxing effect, but for severe pain? doesn't seem likely. Have you gotten checked out for other possibilities such as a herniated disk? Now, I hestiate to suggest this because I don't want to get booed off the board, but for symptomatic relief only you might try ...magnets. No, they won't "cure" whatever is at the root of the pain, and you should continue to work with your physician on the cause, but I accidentally discovered that they helped me. I had some severe pain from a boating mishap; could hardly move without pain; I bought a back cushion to use in my chair at work; I got it because it was inexpensive, not because it had magnets in it. But a few days later I noticed the pain was almost gone. I know some folks think magnet therapy is b.s., but what the hell, why not give it a try. (You can also get body wraps with magnets.) Another thought: in your work do you have to stand for long periods? If so, is it possible to use a stool with a back (so you can rest your back and use a magnet cushion).
Old 08-26-2000, 06:26 PM
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Actually, I have used magnets, and they do help, but lately the pain has gotten to be beyond the magnets' ability to do much. I've found them helpful for the muscle stiffness I had in my shoulder when I was exiled to the blackjack pit at my old job.

My current flare up started between my shoulder blade but has spread out from the base of my skull to my tailbone. I threw my sacroiliac out on the game the other night. Not good. I started a new job a few weeks ago, and I'm still in the 90 day probationary period... And I'm not eligible for insurance benefits yet. I'm starting to become concerned that my back is going to cost me my job.

I've been dosing myself continually with Benadryl, and the pain seems to be subsiding. I was kind of reluctant to take any more than half a dose because it does give me brain fog, even though it doesn't really make me that drowsy, but when I got to the point that the pain was so much of a distraction I couldn't deal straight, I figured I had nothing to lose.
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