BP: How low is TOO low?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by ILoveGreen, Sep 18, 2011.

  1. ILoveGreen

    ILoveGreen New Member

    I have had low BP since before I was Dx'd with CFS then 6 yrs later, FM. Prior to CFS, my BP was 110/70 which was at it's peak. Now, it's 91/49, and I'm experiencing dizziness, lack of energy, brain fog, etc. I was reading the side-effects of my Oxycodone Rx, and ding, ding, ding, all of my symptoms were listed as side effects of my pain meds.

    My question is, how does one deal with the side effects of pain management and at what point does a side-effect like low BP become a health risk? I can't seem to get a straight answer about the overall effects of low BP other than it puts organ function at risk, including brain function. I was in multiple auto accidents and NEED some relief for chronic neck pain and migraine and overall FM pain which is bad, but not nearly as debilitating by comparison.

    Acupuncture works great, but is expensive. I already do device chiropractic and massage. I'm trying to get it together to move to an arid, warmer climate, but with pain vs. no pain & side effects it's all I can do to maintain let alone take on a project like moving. What to do? Any suggestions welcome! Thanks.
    (BTW, I live in northern WI...cold AND damp. Brrr!)
  2. ILoveGreen

    ILoveGreen New Member

    I almost wish I hadn't mentioned the opiates, since there is such a stigma attached to them. (It appears by the responses that is DEFINITELY the case here.) There are days I have to function in the real world and without them I am in such severe pain that wouldn't be possible. I don't take them EVERY day, and I am well aware of the down-side of continual use. I'm taking them for sledge-hammer-banging-on-my-occiput type migraines and neck pain that makes me wonder if cutting my head off would be less painful. Believe me, after being in 10 rear-end accidents and trying injections, PT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Biofeedback, ENT, Reiki, massage and accupuncture to name a few, also I do Yoga, Zumba, and H20 exercise. I take Oxy as infrequently as possible, and only 7.5mg/day at that, which is a super-low dose. (Why do I feel as if I'm being looked down upon for seeking relief for my pain?!?) On a good day, I'll take aspirin or PainX, an herbal complex I purchased @ All Star Health.com, an online health food store which has very reasonable prices and an excellent selection, enabling me to afford the supplements I need. I will give grapeseed oil (ingestion) a try. Have used it before topically, but it surely can't hurt to give it a shot.

    The real reason I posted was about the low BP. Even on the days I don't take the Oxy, I have dizziness, fog, and low BP. Thought perhaps someone could shed some light on whether FM => low BP on it's own, or if I need to get checked out by a cardiologist, since heart disease, both electrical imbalance (my brother died of cardiac arrest in his 50's) and blockage type- (another brother died in the midst of a heart transplant after undergoing multiple bypasses and defib implants)both run in my family, although my EKGs and blood work from less than a year ago looked great. Just would like to figure out how to live safely with low BP and not go untreated if it's a red flag. (When my 86 year old father's diastole approached 40, I had to take him to ER for a pacemaker!)

    Also, I am single and live alone (by choice) because of my erratic sleep schedule and difficulty sleeping with anyone. So, I do not have the luxury of having a "pain day" and lying around, waiting for someone to cook, clean, or do my paperwork for me. I only want to function at the highest level possible, and don't think I should have to settle for less.
  3. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    These are questions your doc should be answering for you. Best of luck.

    Love, Mikie
  4. rkidd3423

    rkidd3423 New Member

    I experienced side effects from having low BP. Mine was 90/40 at one point and I was very dizzy. The doctor couldn't figure out why because I was not on pain medicine or any other medicine at that time (it was life before FMS which was awesome!). I would suggest talking with your doctor to see if there is some combination of medicines you are taking that are having that type of adverse affect!

    I understand your statements about the pain pills; however, I take them just like you...only when I am in so much pain I can't move. I'm a single mom of 2 kids and there are days I have to take something in order to be a functioning parent...not to mention I work 40 hours a week! I hope you figure out what's causing the drop in blood pressure. Please call your doctor since you have issues in your family. Best of luck to you and I will say a prayer for you!
  5. richvank

    richvank New Member

    Hi, ILoveGreen.

    You might want to look into low-dose naltrexone. It has the highest rating from fibromyalgia patients of all the FM treatments on CureTogether.com. It is thought to operate by temporarily blocking the opiate receptors, so that the body compensates by raising its production of endorphins. Then the LDN wears off, and the endorphins stay high the rest of the day, overcoming pain. The tough part is that a person has to get off the opiates before trying LDN, and in the meantime, the pain is there. Note that naltrexone is an old drug that was developed for treating addictions, but in that application the dosage is much higher, and the opiate receptors are blocked all the time. Low-dose naltrexone operates differently. It is a prescription, and has to be made by a compounding pharmacy, because of the low dosage. There are Yahoo and Facebook groups for low-dose naltrexone. I recommend discussing this with your physician. I am not a physician, and this should not be considered medical advice.

    Best regards,

  6. ILoveGreen

    ILoveGreen New Member

    I appreciate your input. I have consulted my doc and because of my outstanding HDL ratio and otherwise normal (within range) bloodwork, she tells me it's OK. Once I had palpitations and she had the EKG machine in the exam room within minutes, so I tend to trust her judgement (EKG was normal). I will ask her for a referral to a cardio since I need to know if my low BP is cause for concern before I move back to high altitude...and don't have an established doc. Someone else mentioned a 24-hour halter monitor, since an EKG is really just a snapshot of rhythm activity. Thanks again.
  7. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    91/49 IS low and obviously can cause dizziness etc. I don't think that just because your other numbers are good that having BP this low is not a problem. People can faint if their BP is too low. I had a med awhile ago that was dropping mine down to 85 over I forget what, and it was a bit scary, I almost passed out. Finally I figured out what was going on and got it resolved.

    If nothing else, have your electrolytes checked - potassium levels and so on. You might need to increase your fluid and salt intake to raise your BP. I'd ask your doctor about this.

    I don't have any suggestions re your pain but it does seem like if you could get an alternative to the oxycodone, it might help your BP. I know you know this already. It's a bind.

    Good luck =

  8. justjanelle

    justjanelle New Member

    I have had low BP on occasion, and I get the same dizziness fogginess etc. that you have described when the top number of the BP goes below 100. So I definitely think the symptoms are due to the low BP.

    I couldn't say whether the low BP is related at all to the medications though.

    One problem I forsee is that if you tell your dr. you think the symptoms may be side effects of the meds and he takes you off them -- even temporarily -- you may find him reluctant to prescribe them again even if you decide the symptoms aren't related and you want to go back onto the pain meds again. You can decide if this risk is worth it or maybe discuss this with the doctor beforehand.

    Since you say you have the low BP all the time, though, unrelated to whether you take the Oxy, then it seems to me that it may be the FM or it might be something else. It probably wouldn't hurt to see if the cardiologist can tell you anything about it.

    It seems to me, too, that I've heard about a medication specifically to raise blood pressure, just like there are medications for lowering blood pressure. Unfortunately, I can't recall what the name was.

    Some people have had success in raising their blood pressure by taking additional salt; that might also be something to try as a temporary measure to see if it helps you at all.

    Best wishes,
  9. luigi21

    luigi21 Member

    Im on codeine, diazepam and amitripyline, but i do have days where the pain drives me insane believe me so i know where your coming from. I suffer low BP always have, but yours does seem particularly low. so if its the meds i'd talk to your doctor about alternatives, maybe it will mean withdrawal for a bit to get your body use to a lower dose again. If you dont think its the drug thyroid can cause low BP. and i've already read fluids and salt is what they advise for low bp, unless of course it is related to your meds. keep using the heat aswell.

    all the best
  10. ILoveGreen

    ILoveGreen New Member

    What dosage of grapeseed oil do you take and how often? I'd like to quit the Oxy even though so far I've found that nothing else seems to work. I've had varying degrees of atlas/occipital pain over the past 25 years, and until a few years ago didn't realize how debilitating it had been until I tried V (to which I seem to be allergic) and then Oxycodone 5/325, 1/2 tab 2x/day. For me, barometric pressure changes set off a flare which for me includes but is not limited to migraine (feels like someone is unscrewing my R eyeball from inside my head), extreme fatigue, lack of appetite, and of course, the hammering atlas/occiput headache, which makes the days with overall pain seem like a walk in the park. I have trouble doing ANYTHING when this happens, and the only thing that has helped so far is Oxy so I can at least get some sleep and plow through the next day.
    I will give the grapeseed a try. I'm trying to donate/sell most of my belongings and move to an arid, warm climate, but even that seems too daunting of a task when every other day is high humidity and cooler temps (barometric changes). Days like today make me wonder why I'm even entertaining the thought of moving...making plans that I may not be able to follow through on. I just want to live somewhere where I can have more good days than bad and feel good enough to get out, be around people and enjoy life...