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05/07/2012 08:44 AM

What medications increase circulation?


Hello my RSD/CRPS buddies,

I think I'm going through a little rsd research burn out these days so I thought I'd try asking you all if you knew of the "standard" meds used on rsd/crps for helping increase circulation?

I've been having a few weeks of intense deep constant pain in my lower spine and across the top of my hips. Another problem I've had is an increase of 7 pounds of edema. The swelling is in my abdomen and from the knee up. The pain gets worse the more I swell up. I'm not over eating and have even decreased calorie intake.

At times my feet and toes look like they are drying up and shrinking/red.

I suspect this problem might be the low dose zoloft. I took zoloft before and after about 7 months had a sudden weight hike and severe pain in lower bowel area that went away when quitting the zoloft.

The zoloft helps reduce my brain spasms and I hate to not have that relief but if I stop it the headache/spasms and ringing in my ears gets really bad.

What has worked for any of you for increasing circulation that isn't in the zoloft family of drugs? I seem to do better when I have medication suggestions for my PA appointments rather than going in with the problem.


05/07/2012 06:41 PM
Posts: 2330
Senior Member


I wish I knew something to suggest, but I don't at all. You've always been so good about everything from making diet changes to research, and I don't know if there is anything that you aren't already aware of, but I do hope someone can suggest something. I guess I just want you to know that I hope for the best for you.

Right now I think I'm experiencing where they say that narcotics are not very helpful with this kind of pain because I'm taking a LOT and wouldn't want to take more than I am, yet the pain this week is very bad. I don't think we'll ever get wonderful results with an oral medication, but hopefully I'm wrong.

I'm sorry you have to cope with the headache issues. I just want you to know that although I don't have any answers, I do care, and so hope that you'll find something that will help with this.


05/07/2012 07:47 PM
Posts: 540

Luckyduck when I was on Zoloft I gained 10lbs in 2 months. I am now on lexapro and take diazapam for spasms. I get spasms everywhere even in my stomach. I don't know what else you are on but a lot of these medications slow up your bowels and you will bloat big time. I also get gasritis which is my stomach fills up with air and gas. When this happens I look like I am 3 or 4 months pregnant.


05/08/2012 01:42 PM

Thanks so much Gail and Cindy. My meds right now are oxycodone, baclofen, tylenol, lasiks, xanax, zoloft, flector patches and compound cream. The gabapentin was helping but the side effects were so severe I had to stop that before I ever even got up to a theraputic dose. Morphine was brutal and I couldn't handle the constipation and brain fog.

Living in this body of mine and trying to figure out what pain is what makes me think that this deep horrible pain is my blood vessels spasming or shinking or swelling? It feels like maybe it's inside the bone or behind the bone/spine. I really can't handle this new deep intense pain much longer. I have to get something that can relieve it a little cause it's so strong I'm getting sick to my stomach, crying and can't function. I'm going to slowly get off the zoloft to see if that helps. I have to go lay down, feeling really sick again. thanks for your friendship. hugs, Lucky

05/08/2012 10:18 PM
Posts: 2330
Senior Member


I feel so bad for you with what you are describing. I know that the past few days have been similar for me with the deep bone pain which feels like someone has hammered my toes to pieces, and it's so high but the burning was so extreme at the same time. It was almost more than I could cope with and I didn't know what to do. How long did you take the morphine or gabapentin? A long time? I take both of them and I know they help me, but this last few days the pain was so bad that it's very scary to be talking these medications and still hurt this much. I see my pain doctor tomorrow.

The reason I asked if you took either of them for very long was that for me many of the side effects went away after about a month. I can't really tell that I've taken the morphine in any way. The gabapentin I think still gives me a bit of foggy-feeling, but it's hard to tell what does what. I do know they help with the pain but it sure isn't a perfect help. Are you talking to any doctor about going off of the zoloft? I think it can cause problems that you don't need right now and was wondering if you wait until you feel a bit better maybe it would be a better time to try to come off the zoloft. But I obviously don't know the details of how this is working for you and just want you to be careful.

I'm just so concerned about you feeling so bad. It's been a terrible week for me and I for some reason have had a better day today, but it's so fresh on my mind how bad things can get. Please let us know if there's anything we can do for you, OK? And, let us know how you are when you feel up to it! I'll be thinking of you Lucky, I really will, and put you in my prayers. We do care about you!



05/09/2012 01:20 AM
Posts: 1392
Group Leader

Hey lucky,

I feel for you my friend. I don't know any meds for circulation, but can suggest that exercise like tai chi, aquafit, or yoga can help along with epsom salt baths. Massage therapy and lymphatic drainage work wonders too, if you can find a massage therapist trained in this. I have been fortunate enough to know 2 really well trained in my city and they have helped me with similar problems. It is horrible to feel sick on top of the pain of RSD and I give you gentle soothing hugs for comfort.

Sad Sad Sad Hope this turns to

Smile Smile Smile


05/09/2012 09:09 AM

Hi Gail,

Sorry you're having a hard time right now too. I sure can relate.

I was on the morphine for 3 or 4 months. It did help me get through the winter but I don't remember those months and the bloody bowel movements and pain were worse than the crps pain after a while.

I took the gabapentin a little over 2 months. Started 100mg 2 times and day and was to build up slowly to 4 times but at 3 times a day I couldn't walk without holding onto the walls and was dizzy the entire day and night, throwing up too.

The dizziness and throwing up was so bad I couldn't continue but tried even with the lowest dose. One a day was still causing me to throw up and have the dizziness. It did feel like it helped the pain but all those new problems were horrible.

Don't worry about the zoloft. I'm familiar with how to go off it. With that it has to be weaned off slow and that's what I'm doing. Skip one day, take the next, then skip two days, take the next. If skipping a day helps I may just let the doc know I'm doing that.

My doc had suggested that last time I had problems with it and it worked for a little while but then my system just couldn't tolerate it at all.

Hi Scorpio,

I already do daily exercises, yoga and epsom salt baths. I tried massages but that was torture. I do better with graston therapy which gets right to the problem areas, treatment is short, and usually the pain increase is short, one day and it seems to help for a week or two. If I don't do it the swelling and pain start to "grow" like a vine of pain in my feet, legs and back. It follows the same path, I can map it out on my feet and legs. I get hard bumps and what I've learned to do is work them out the minute I feel them. Sometimes I go to the chiropractor and have him do it though.

With this pain in my spine I can't do anything but lay in bed to help it.

I'm so tired of looking for ideas of what might work. I'll hear about something and then get excited about it but then read up on it and find out it's too risky or short lived. Then there's the expense of trying some of these treatment options that stops me.

If I get in the bathtub with hot water that seems to help relieve the pain. The hot water opens the blood vessels and increases the circulation. The fact that I need to keep warm to reduce the pain makes me think a lot of this is from the blood vessels choking up so there has to be a medication that calms down the blood vessels and in turn would increase blood flow to the oxygen starved tissue.

I've been reading about Nifedipine. It increases peripheral blood flow.

Relaxes blood vessels.

I'm going to get off this computer and move around. Sitting isn't helping any. Thanks again for your ideas. hugs, Lucky

05/09/2012 10:49 AM
Posts: 37

Hi Lucky,

I think you might ask the doctor if increasing your lasix might help. It is a diuretic and might help remove the extra fluid, eventhough it won't increase circulation. The first medication that was suggested to me for sleep and pain relief was nortriptyline. I take it at bedtime. You have to increase the dose slowly until it is at a level that helps you. I take 100mg at night. That would help if you are having buring pain and help you sleep. But you didn't mention these, but said you had tried gabapentin, so I am guessing that you do. For the aching pain, you might stop the tylenol and try Relafen 750mg twice a day. It is NSAID that is very strong, but doesn't irritate your stomach so much.

I have constant ringing in my ears also. I had really bad vertigo, I think caused by the relafen. I stopped the relafen and the vertigo went away, but my knees started to ache and burn. So I am back on relafen. I have the ringing in my ears, a constant ticking like a clock, and a sound like someone has left the hose running outside! But I want to keep my pain level down, so I am trying to accept the noises and I tell myself that I am ok, it's alright and sort of make them a sound that is just part of who I am right now!!! LOL!!! I am suggesting these only because they have helped me, I don't know if they will be helpful for you or not.

Nortriptyline did make me gain some weight, so I cut out most carbohydrates except vegetables. Clonidine is a vasodilator that might help with the pain and decreased circulation in your feet. I found CRPS medications listed and explained at this site. reflex_sympathetic_dystrophy_complex_regional_pain_syndrome

I am not trying to give you medical advice, just things that you can discuss with your doctor. I'm so sorry that you are feeling so bad. I hope you are better soon.


05/09/2012 02:54 PM

Thanks very much Kathy,

I looked up all of them up and two of them I can't take but one of them I will ask my doc about. Increasing the lasiks is a great idea I'll ask about.

I was in a car accident years ago and my doc put me on nsaid without checking me. A year later I was still in bad shape and he finally realized he hadn't been checking me. My stomach lining got trashed and I've never been able to take any type of asprin or nsaid meds since. I had been bleeding internally all that time and never knew that black stool was a warning of that.

Steroid shots were the only way to go after that when I'd have a hard time with my muscles. Now with having osteoporosis I'm not allowed to have those anymore which makes me really sad cause they work so good.

My misery is that I have the crps and the bad arthritis, bulging discs and stenosis, to name a few.

My crps started as intense freezing. Cold acid pouring into my leg, not hot. It spread over to the other foot and leg very fast. For a while my arms and hands were freaking out too but they've calmed down and only act up now and then.

Maybe I'm odd but I can only describe it as hot if I go out in the hot summer sun and it starts sun tanning my legs. Other than that it's always a cold, stinging burn.

The arthritis in my hip is a stabbing hot burning sharp pain.

The pain that is driving me **insane** right now is sort of hot, deep and I get so angry I hit my back and hips with my fists and dig with my hands and thumbs to try to change the horrible sensation. It pulls and feels like it's going to explode at the same time. It's so impossible to describe it with words. Maybe I could describe it as my body is trying to rip my spinal cord out from the inside.

I lay on the floor and roll back and forth. Use a foam pad to roll on.

It gets worse in the afternoon after I'm up for a while. Now that the weather is warm I feel intense stinging in my feet and legs.(and my right arm today where the ulnar nerve is trapped)

If it was just one problem it would be easy to go to the doc but I have all these different issues and they act up differently. I feel nutty when I go in to talk to the doc now cause with my body every day is different and all these pains are from different issues. I'm so tired.

The low dose zoloft 25mg per day took my ear ringing away 99% and calmed down the spasms I felt in my brain. (behind my eyes)

Thanks very much for all your suggestions. I'm going to go take a nap now. hugs, Lucky

05/09/2012 06:42 PM
Posts: 2330
Senior Member


I just have to tell you that I'm still thinking about you and wish I could help you somehow. The suffering is just beyond what anyone should ever have and your fatigue is obvious, not just needing a nap but needing a break. I can't remember, but did you ever have good results with nerve blocks? Is there any kind of block or anything that might help you?

I just read much of the information in the link Kathy sent (above). At one place it mentions the unusual behaviors of CRPS patients and all I could think was "Of course!" Anyone would try to stop the pain with whatever means they could think of! I went so far as to have my toe cut off which wasn't brilliant but I couldn't take the pain anymore. Once years ago after I was in a pretty bad car accident where I was rear-ended by a huge pickup going about 50 mph, I had terrible back spasms among other things. I used a foam stick that my kids use to hit each other over the head with in the pool and I would press it against my back as hard as I could to stop the spasms. I'm almost willing to try anything that makes a difference that won't harm me further. It just makes me so sad for you that there are so many pains you are living with right now.

The side effects you described from the meds were really bad and I understand totally how you would stop taking them. I'm sure you've mentioned them before but my memory is really bad. My pain has subsided a bit today for whatever reason and when it does I think of how desperate I was to stop it at a 9 and there are not words to describe it. I have words that I use, but they aren't enough. Sometimes I recommend that others use lavender candles and things like that and when the pain is truly extreme I feel like a moran for saying that. Yet, the deep slow breathing and mental exercises probably are one of the best tools I have at that time because obviously the meds aren't cutting it. I'm rambling but just wanted to tell you that I understand as much as I can with a different pain than yours and I care.

Listen, don't feel like you have to respond to this. It was just that I had to tell you I was thinking of you.



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