I have questions about Oxycontin and the pain med routine....I know this is a touchy issue...but here it goes.
I was on heavy duty pain meds for a couple years before having the fusion. I consider heavy duty to be Oxycontin and up. Well, I was on Oxycontin 20 mg twice a day, plus Vicodin, with no real controls in place (if I needed another I'd take another, not writing it down, no one else really knowing what I was taking with a doc more then willing to fill the prescription at will, etc).
Since the spinal fusion--7 weeks ago--I have continued with the Oxy 20mg, plus now Dilaudid (new) for break-through at 4 mg, then up to 8 mg, a couple times a day. The past week, I have stopped the Dilaudid by weaning down, with no real issues except more pain (but then again, today, I feel the best I've felt....hmmmm).
Now, I am on the Oxy 20mg plus Vicodin 750 for break through. I am nowhere nearly healed or even ready to say my fusion was a success. I am still in pain--both in the leg and back--but it is bearable with the meds. It has gotten better every week, besides a major set back just last week--ended up in the hospital 3 days with blood clots...long story. But I'm back towards recovery now.
I've been told by the surgeon's PA (I have grown to trust this girl) that my case was hard because I came to them already on heavy hitters. She said that easily THE hardest part of my recovery would be coming off the pain meds (she said this a month before I had the fusion). Not because of the withdrawl, although that would be an issue. But because I would perceive pain differently for many months. I would not be producing the endorphins to fight the pain naturally--my body would cry out for the meds to fight pain that normal people would fight off without pain meds. She said there have been studies showing that those on the heavy hitters perceive pain up to 30 times more then those not on pain meds.
So then...If it is true that I am perceiving pain 30 times greater (or even 5 times greater) then others who would have the same pain, then I need to get off the meds ASAP and pain meds are really quite the potential problem both pre and post surgery. It also makes me question whether or not the meds talked me into this whole thing. Is it REALLY true that the meds mess up your pain sensors THAT MUCH? I just can't wrap my brain around that. Here's bad Chuck talking: My pain is my pain--regardless of the pain meds I'm on--my back has been stretched apart, they have drilled into my back, messed with my nerves, so I'm going to be in pain if I don't take the pain meds. Right? OR--is it true that, as my family is telling me (who aren't on drugs), that the first few weeks off the pain meds I will perceive that I have this terrible pain, but eventually it will wane because the natural endorphins will be built back up and then start acting once again as the pain meds used to?
Any thoughts on this? Why wouldn't those of us who are 6-8 weeks out of surgery, with a level 4-5 pain during the day and on the pain meds, just wean off, bear with it for a few weeks while it spikes to a 6-7 level while the meds go out of our system and the endorphins start coming back, and then enjoy it when it comes back down to a bearable 2-3, but without the pain meds?? Man was that a long sentence.
Sorry guys--I'm a writer--I wrote a 400 page doctoral diss--one night I wrote 40 pages. So, I'll stop. I really want to get off these pain meds more then ever.