There is no medication or treatment in the UK which takes away the chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia. So Victoria Hotson, of Hoghton, has had to find alternative ways.
For Victoria Hotson, adrenalin is the best tonic for her chronic pain.
The few minutes where she is falling from the sky takes her mind off the fact she has fibromyalgia.
After previously doing a sky-dive, she is preparing to take on another adrenalin-fuelled challenge - this time a wing walk with Into the Blue at Breighton Aerodrome, near Selby, on July 6, to raise money for Lancashire Mind.
The 41-year-old from Hoghton was diagnosed around 10 years ago after three years of tests to uncover why she had severe pains in her back. She is taking as many as 25 tablets a day, which often leads her feeling tired.
And whilst Victoria has sought out many different treatments, she says the only two things she finds works for her are massages at a Vedic spa in India and adrenalin.
She says: “It started 13 years ago when I woke up with a really sore back. It was getting progressively worse and I went to the doctor and after lots of blood tests, I was finally diagnosed after three years. It was not very well known back then, so it took a long time to diagnose.
“I had all kinds of different treatments and medications to try to sort it out. I was under the pain team at Royal Preston Hospital and at the Walton Centre in Liverpool. hoI was in chronic pain 24/7, in my lower back. I also suffer from severe spasms in my right shoulder. It feels like someone is stabbing me with a knife and they keep twisting it.
“I am on as many as 25 tablets a day - if not more. They are morphine-based and are muscle relaxants to help with my spasms. I have had to go to hospital on numerous occasions as my back has locked up. I was given high doses of morphine and diazapan. Some of the time I was kept in for a few days until the spasms stopped.
“Some times my back tenses up that much when the spasms stop, it leaves bruising inside.
“There are times when I can’t get out of bed as the pain is so severe. It really does take its toll every day.
“I also have secondary restless leg syndrome, where I can’t keep my feet still, which heightens in the summer. I am still on medications for that.
“I also have temporomandibular in my left side of my jaw. When I am stressed or worked up, the left side of my face goes into a spasm. It is a bit like bell’s palsy. I was having botox for that because I get quite a complex about it. It is not that noticeable but I can still feel it on my face.”
Victoria adds she has tried various treatments but they are not that effective.
She adds: “I have had more than 40 steroid injections over my shoulder and back to alleviate the pain. For most people that gives pain relief for about six months, but for me it doesn’t work. It only relieves the pain for about two days and that’s it.
“The best treatment I had was in India last year. I had a Vedic treatment at Sanjeeva Ayurveda Wellness Spa for around £2,000. If I had it in this country, it would be around £6,500.
“I was on a strict vegetarian diet for two weeks and had two treatments a day where two ladies gave me hot massages and therapy oils. “It was very relaxing and I felt great, but as soon as I got back home, I was back to square one again. The pain never goes away. It might subside for a bit but it comes back. Because I am used to so much medication, my tolerance levels go up, so I have a higher dependence on it. I have been on co-codamol for 13 years now. I have tried yoga and mindfulness which does take my mind off it for a bit but the pain will always return.”
But Victoria has found one slightly cheaper alternative - being a daredevil. She adds: “The few minutes I am in the air, I am distracted and I feel no pain. I can’t be given adrenalin as a drug because it would give me heart problems, so this is the only way.”
The wing walk is important to Victoria to raise money for Lancashire Mind, as she also suffers from anxiety and depression as a result of her condition.
She says: “With my fibromyalgia, I have mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.
“The mental health team at the NHS has really helped me when I was having really bad thoughts and my GP has also been really supportive.
“So I want to raise money for Mind to fund its helplines for people who are feeling low and anxious. It is a really important organisation which has helped me so much.
“I also have a good network around me, as I have a supportive husband and my family and friends help me.”
To help Victoria raise funds, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/victoria-hotson3
Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body. It can also cause extreme tiredness, muscle stiffness, difficulty sleeping, problems with memory and IBS.