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Hey Everyone, New & in Pain (unfortunately)

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in Spinal Stenosis
Hey everyone, my name is Greg from Atlanta, Ga. I have had lower back pain since 01/2005.

Warning! Anecdote! It all started me waking up one morning with a back ache. I thought it was my bed at first, so, I changed where I slept and eventually got a new bed. Eventually my back started to hurt if I stood up for a long period of time. (mainly at work) I got an x-ray and an MRI and it showed that at L4/5/S1 I have moderate stenosis. It was around this time that my left leg started to go numb. Best described like you sat on the toilette for too long and your leg goes numb.

I go to see a surgeon and he says, "You're too young" I'm 23 right now, so, I was 21 at that time. I then go see a new PCP (I moved from Mi to Atl) and of course, the first thing he thought is that I was a drug seeker. I told him I was on 7.5/750 Vikes, 60 every two weeks. He sent me to a pain specialist who got me on 7.5 Perc's (120( and 300mg ER Ultram (30). He started doing injections which helped for the first 24 hours but then it all came back. I came in for my appointment one day a little sooner than I was supposed to (I was going to Cali for 2 weeks, so, I was just wanting my script before I went) and he discharged me. So, now I'm horribly dependent on Percocet and have nobody to prescribe me medication. I go to a orthopedic doctor who prescribes me over 450mg of Tramadol a day. I stay with him for a good year because, well, it worked. I did go to another doctor as well who gave me a few Percocet (60). But this is where it got bad. To get rid of the pain, I started taking more than prescribed. Now my dependence has turned into an addiction I do not want. I ended up getting Bariatric surgery 'cause I was also overweight. When I got the surgery, I told my Tramadol doctor (who wouldn't prescribe me ANYTHING else, literally, I begged him) that now I can't take Tramadol due to the surgery. So, instead, he discharged me. I go see another orthopedic doctor who does a bunch of steroid injections and gave me Roxicodone 5mg/5mL (1050mL/month) I told him the injections didn't work so he just sent me to a pain clinic. While with him, I got an EKG and a Myleogram (which showed that my spinal canal is 7mm...(is that bad?) The pain clinic doctor put me on Fentanyl 50mcg patches which don't work well and I'm still getting my Percs from my new PCP (shhhh)

So, after losing 160lbs, 10 injections, 2 MRI's, an X-ray, a myleogram, an EKG, and a wonderful addiction to pain killers, I'm still in pain. Really, does anybody have any advice for me?!! NSAIDs don't work at all (Lyrica, Gabapentin, Neurotin, blah blah blah, and I cna't take 'em anymore anyway).

If you skipped the huge back-story, my stenosis is 7 mm at L5, is that bad?

My opiate tolerance, I have actually eaten a 50mcg patch just to get rid of the pain since it took 16 hours to start working and all it did was obviously give me a buzz and made me fall asleep for 2 hours.

I really really really really want help!
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Comments

  • Hi Greg, my name is melanie. I just read your post and my heart goes out to you. I am 35 and am just home 2 days from my 3rd back surgery. This surgery was for a ruptured disc so they knew what they were going in for when they did surgery. But this past January I had severe pain and was on a walker for 2 and half months and the M.R.I, myleogram, nothing showed anything that was causing that amount of pain. I have a wonderful Neurosurgeon who went in and did exploratory surgery and found that the main nerve root was hiding a bone spur that was like a knuckle sticking up pinching the nerve. He did surgery and that night I was upu walking. Maybe you also have something that is not showing up. also, as for the pain medication I was seeing a pain management doctor for 3 years and he had me taking mscontin. I had told him repeatedly that I would prefer being on someting that I didn't have to take continuously but something on as needed basis. he refused to do that so I quit taking it and had horrible withdrawal. It is not fun. I had to go through another doctor to get me off of that and now I take Lortab 10mg as needed. I would suggest finding a compassionate doctor who will help you with the addiction and still help with pain control. I live in mississippi and we have strict laws about pain medicine here. I have a pain treatment doctor who gives me my normal pain medicine but since I am now under the neurosurgeons care I have to wait until I am released before I get any more from the pain doc. They do that to prevent drug seekers. I hope you can get some pain relief that you need. My prayers are with you.
  • So much to say.Bear with me please ok..because my first reaction was not good..then I stepped back and tried to put myself in your shoes and so now I'm doing something I almost never do and I have tears in my eyes.

    First let me tell you incase you don't already know this that getting the 2 scripts from 2 different Drs (scheduled drugs) will only end up getting you red flagged and unable to maybe ever get pain meds.again.Drs have to (by law) report their patients getting scheduled drugs after a 3 month period.This is to stop drug seeking and diversion and to protect the Drs.So,best not to do this to yourself,or your Drs.They have worked long and hard to get where they are and they have families and loved ones too-they do not want to lose all that they have worked for.

    My brother was found dead with 2 pain patches in his mouth.My mom saw him like that.I can't even imagine her pain.I remember mine.

    I'm sorry that you are having difficult issues-Pain/opiate tolerance..addiction,but in your post I also see a person that obviously is intelligent.I don't know about the 7mm in your spinal canal,but other than that I feel you know those answers.

    Welcome to S~H.You will find a lot of support here :)
  • Never ment to make you cry, but, it is nice to know I'm not some horrible person.

    I scared my fiance' the other day too with the pain patches. I can't believe your brother died that way. You always hear about it, but, never actually know somebody, ya know? I know Heath Ledger and such died that way, but, he was doing so many CNS depressants that it was no wonder. I took two of the patches in one day and basically passed out with my eyes rolled back and wouldn't wake up. Scared me half to death too.

  • I hear so many more people worse off than me and it makes me feel like a pansy honestly. I guess I'm just stubborn, or maybe that's the wrong word. I feel I shouldn't have to deal with this and that somebody out there should be able to make it go away or at least, give me a better answer than, "I have spinal stenosis". If mine is congenital, why did it start hurting at 20 and get worse? And with all these injections, you'd think something may have worked.
    I feel bad that you and so many others on here have had to get surgery. I've always heard, that once you go under the knife, you basically keep going back. That's why I really would like to find something else besides surgery and pain killers to help.
    I am definitely not your typical drug seeker. If I wanted to do drugs, I'd go smoke a joint or do some cocaine. Or hell, I'd get drunk if needed. I "seek drugs" to get outta pain. Plus, this stupid "habit" is breaking me. Spending $100/month on Fentanyl patches is not very profitable.....nor is it healthy. My mom died because she was a re-re and took over 12 Aspirin at once a couple times a day to relieve her pain and burned a hole in her stomach (she also had the bariatric surgery) so, I don't wanna go down that route.
    I'd like to take a ER drug but, I have yet to find one that helps. And with my stomach being smaller and my intestines being shorter, ER drugs don't work on me anymore so I gotta take short acting drugs. 10mg Percocet gets rid of my pain and it gives me a buzz but within 3 hours, my pain comes back and I wanna take another one. I have an appointment with a doctor on Monday and I'm going to see what I can do to change some of this. I odn't wanna go to jail/prison, 'cause shit, there, I doubt I'd even get tramadol. (excuse the french).
  • Does anybody take Suboxone(sp) and if so, does it help with the pain? I'm told it's like the wonder drug to get off of pain meds, but, I'd get off pain meds if I wasn't in pain. So, you know....

    I've gone through withdrawals in the past before and it was basically an uncomfortable feeling for like a day or two and then I was over and done with it, but, now since the pain started, it's 100x worse. Not only do the withdrawals start but the pain increases. I spend more time in the shower with the hot water blasting on me than I spend anywhere else.

    Has anybody also tried acupuncture?
  • There was someone here that was taking Suboxone for pain.I'm sorry that I can't remember his name right now.

    Hey-I never even meant to imply that you were a horrible person-honestly.I admire & respect the courage it takes to post an honest thread like you did.Please don't take this the wrong way but maybe it's good that you were scared "half to death"?

    Yeah,you never know someone that dies that way until they die that way..I lost two brothers to drug overdose within 16 months,so it was pretty close to home.Believe it.

    Here is a link to what some are commenting on suboxone:


    http://www.drugs.com/comments/buprenorphine-naloxone/suboxone-for-opiate-dependence.html
  • I take methadone and it works very well for my pain. I have heard others say that suboxone works too but I have to wonder why more docs would not prescribe it long term.
    BTW- I also know someone that died at 22 years old from chewing up a fentanyl patch. Please get some help soon. I know what it is like to be in so much pain that you will do anything to stop it but I am sure that you do not want to accidentally overdose. Please keep us posted.
  • Welcome.
    So sorry to hear what your going through. We are not here to judge you at all. We all have done crazy things at one point or another to control our pain when its bad.
    Just be careful like some others mentioned. Last thing you want is to get kicked out of pain managment that would be the worst thing for you. If you have a contract and they test your urine without notice you will be red flagged and then your screwed. I would hate to see that happen.
    Not sure about the 7mm but I do know from conversations in my ortho's office stenosis can be very painful he usually refers most of his patients straigt to surgery.
    Surgery is a last option after all other treatments have been tried and failed.
    Has this ever been considered??? Or even offered to you?

    You hang in there. Please just be very careful . Its just so dangrous.

    Yes meth is a great drug for pain. It is also used for withdrawal symptoms.
    Addiction and Dependency are two totally different things.
    What you needed to do was let the pain patch do its job, sometimes that can take awhile for some...

    Take care we are here to support you in anyway possible.
    Terri O:)
  • Hi Greg
    I know how you feel about the pain meds. I had five kids natuaral child birth to stay away from pain killers ( I have an addictive personnality) Now I take so many different pain killers. I hate them but I hate the pain worse. This has changed my life so much that when I look in the mirror I search for the out going person I once was. My advice is to hang in there. Talk openly with your docs and pharamist (they know more about the drugs).I hope that you have a good support system around you. The people here are really good listeners also.
    I wish you the best Greg!
  • Oh, I know you never implied it, but, that's just how I feel. I mean, pain meds have such a horrible stigma around them, and for good reason, but, because of it and me taking them, I feel that I'm some druggie and blah blah blah. I mean, I've done a lot of illegal drugs back in High School and have quit all of them (from Coke to Acid to smoking pot for 6months every day). Always felt special that I could quit them when I wanted. Now with this lumbar pain, I'm sitting here with a physical dependency on drugs.

    I appreciate the link.
  • Thanks everybody. I really do appreciate it. And yeah, I've been offered surgery, but, I really don't want to get it. The surgeon basically said he could help the leg pain but more than likely, the back pain would still be there.

    Some days, I honestly don't think it's just stenosis. All the stuff that is supposed to treat stenosis hasn't worked; from injections to stretches to leaning on a shopping cart. The only thing that makes the pain bearable are opiates and a scalding hot shower. I think the shower works just because it burns so much that it overpowers the back/leg pain and I don't notice it. But the myleogram and leg pain screamed stenosis. I'd actually like a completely different diagnosis, even if it's worse, just to know that it's not just stenosis. I'd take cancer if I had to just so be like, "Ha, I told you I was in pain". Doctors don't think that the stenosis causes as much pain as I claim. Just last night, I ran out of Tramadol and I slept for 3 and a half hours on and off. Waking up to switch sides. Good god it's annoying. I'll keep you guys posted the best I can. The only support I have is my fiance' and just the other day she exploded on me for my addiction saying that she'd never leave me but she would live away from me so she wouldn't have to see me like that. My mom was a great support 'cause she was also a pain pill addict due to degenerative back syndrome in her lumbar and cervical spine. But when she passed away, I was sorta like, "Bahh". And my dad has back pain but he's one of those people that thinks pills are evil and he's better of being in pain. I disagree obviously.

    Thanks again for the kind words yall. I hope to hear from yall as well to see how you guys cope!

    Greg
  • You should not feel bad about taking something that you need.Understand too that there is a huge difference between dependence and addiction.

    I am dependent on my medication,but I do not abuse it and I am not an addict.You need to understand that because if you need these meds it can help with the guilt that we (a lot of us) chronic pain patients have had to deal with.It's just part of the process and I think it helped me to learn about it.

    After my first brother died I refused to take any medication because I felt bad that my mom would worry about me,even though I wasn't taking anything like my brother-let's face it,to moms pain meds are all the same(at least to my mom).So from 02 to 07 I was med free as far as pain meds were concerned.I hurt pretty bad and I drank almost every day.

    Last year when my Dr put me on pain meds (totally different kind) I didn't tell my mother or anyone else because I didn't want them to worry.To this day I haven't told anyone in my family.My mom has joined my brothers in July and she left never knowing I was suffering.She had cancer and I wasn't going to burden her with my aches and pains ..besides she would have worried about me.

    As it was she was proud whenever I quit drinking... ;)
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