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SCS trial and pain meds

WramblerWWrambler Posts: 1,588
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Pain Management
For those who have or are doing an SCS trial.
What was your experience as to what pain meds you could or could not take during the trial?
I was told by my second opinion PM that pain meds would be stopped completely before a trial was done. My local PM who is doing the trial has not said anything about needing to stop the meds.
Information I find on web searches seems to be all over the place. I am not taking anything more substantial than 10/325 Lortab and while I have been taking 5-8 a day as a norm, I will reduce that. I just wonder what others have been told to do. I know nsaids and blood thinners are a no-no.
I also plan to follow up and double check with my PM, though when I asked them at the scheduling time for the trial they made no mention of it at all. I honestly am not having a good time with pain right now anyway. So really not looking forward to cutting back or stopping. I'm afraid missing too much work may cost me my job at this point :(


  • I wasn't instructed to change any of my medication prior to the procedure. Once the trial was in place, my doctor instructed me to continue to take what I needed, either for pain or to avoid withdrawal, and to keep a journal of what I was taking, when and why.

    Prior to my permanent implant, I had the usual pre-surgery requirement to not take certain blood thinning drugs within certain time frames, but I wasn't on anything that qualified, so it didn't matter.

  • I was unable to take any narcotic pain meds for different reasons, and was only taking the anti-seizure meds I've been on for years for other nerve issues.

    I think (just my own opinion) that it would be crazy to try the trial without your pain under some sort of control. Obviously you hurt regardless of pain meds, so stopping or reducing them and throwing yourself into an uncontrolled flare would be insane. The SCS is to help control your day to day pain, but it is not necessarily good with breakthrough pain. Many SCS users have breakthrough meds for those times.

    Call your doc and get the official read on this before you drive yourself crazy. No benefit will come from hurting more than you have to.

    Just my $.02

  • Thats what I thought and my PCP was dumbfounded when I told him the second opinion PM said I had to be off pain meds.
    I forgot all about the subject specifically when they scheduled the trial. I was reminded while doing some grumbling over in mind/body this evening and of course since my mind is running a million miles a minute I started to freak out about it... Still think I'll be lucky if I don't go off the deep end before this trial starts!
    Thanks guys!
    Anyone have any idea how to go about staying sane while waiting for this kind of stuff? I seem to have forgotten how to do that! I know I'll make it, but the idea of letting anyone poke me with anything medically oriented has me wanting to scream and run 8}
  • The locals approach is to evaluate med use and the patient case by case. In my case they do not consider the use to be so high that it will interfere with the trial! :)
    When patients are on patches and the higher does OXYs etc, they will taper them down to oral low doses Percocet or Lortab and let them keep those in case the trial does not work well.
    Besides the PM here dose only injections and stims, pain med pumps etc, They seem to want to completely ignore the medication aspect.
    I swear, if it was not for insurance coverage and my wifes begging me to get it done local I would not go to this place.
    They've never had any incidents or anything and they treat me OK when I am there, but.... Ah well.
    Need to keep the peace at home, don't need that adding to my stress.
  • I agree with "C" - why?? Nothing was mentioned about my meds and I continued as usual.

    And as to how not to go crazy? I don't know how I made it!! I was so excited - not worried, not scared, just excited and patience is not one of my better traits. lol I understand about being tired of trying different things, being poked, etc., but I was so positive about this, I had such a good feeling, my intuition was so at peace. My biggest issues that drove me the craziest was getting the trial in the first place. Fortunately, once it was approved, it happened really fast.

    I really hope and pray you have a wonderful experience like I did. It really can be so amazing!!

    Take care,

  • One of the problems of having one doc doing my drugs and another doing the SCS trial is I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON. Every single PM doc I've met has wanted to get me on a long acting narcotic (I should mention I'm highly sensitive to narcotics and most of them make me feel really nervous, agitated and panicky). I also want to be seen as cooperative with my new drug PM doc so I urged him to presribed a long-acting narcotic. "I will try it". I'm told the dosage of Dilaudid I'm taking is very high. So, today, I checked with the PM doc who will do the trial and asked about short vs. long-acting pain meds and it was explained to me that the SCS is to take the place of the long-acting pain meds so my insistance on trying something long-term was "for naught". Thank God my current doc will see the humor in this (when I send him a letter explaining the whole mess which he will understand because he does SCSs but couldn't do mine because it needed to include my feet which, I guess, is much more complicated. Some other doc might get mad at me. This one won't. I really do have the dream team but understand now that this is not the time to experiment with a long-acting pain meds. It makes sense. Susan.
  • No experimenting with my stuff either. I think I am at the end of my Lortab rope... I sure hope the SCS works for me. With the Lortab I am now wound up all day, Like a top waiting for someone to pull the d#*n string! If I don't take the Lortab I hurt like an S.O.B. Then the withdrawal crap. If I do, well all wound up. Go to bed at night and just lay there. I try to not take anything after 5-6 pm till my bedtime Neurontin and Desipramine, both meant to help me sleep. No dice, I'm not up all night, but it takes a couple of hours to doze off and its not good sleep at all. Wake up still worn out and hurting.
    Still have three weeks to go till the trial. Have that double, triple, doctor thing too. PM is near to useless as He will not interject any advice on meds at all. I think he is not too interested in me really. I had to walk on his head a couple of times to get timely treatment. Worst part is he's the only game in town. Any place else is out of coverage. :(
    I am going to contact my PCP this morning and see if he has any advice at all.
  • The last time I was in your situation, I experienced a 32 day flare up. I wanted that stimulator so bad and the days just crept by day after agonizing day. I hurt so much and it took a full month for the insurance to go through. I haven't had a flare since (Oh please thou most kind and benevolent pain gods show mercy on your lowly subject and spare her your wrath for having even hinted at your power and wonderfulness) Tee-hee Susan
  • That's good you have not flared up since. I actually was doing ok when I got sick a couple of weeks ago! As the cold retreated the pain has increased. I can only figure it is something to do with the little cold germs etc, I've been thinking of going and hanging out in a doctors waiting room till I get sick again! I think it was better than this!
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