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"Nuclear" - Liquid Pain & Addiction

jasrojjasro Posts: 224
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Chronic Pain
I keep experiencing episodes of pain that travels the course directly up my spine from my tailbone to just below my shoulder blades. It's not "bone pain" or mechanical pain - it's like an intense pressure w/ an irritating quality of 'pain' that feels "liquid" because it engulfs my spine but has no definitive boundaries. It feels as though I've been injected with chemicals. When these episodes occur, all of my muscles/ joints ache and my left sided headaches & facial pain grows more intense (suboccipital neuralgia). It's not excruciating because the "volume" of the pain isn't very loud - yet it's harsh and severe in quality. I hope that makes sense. I feel feverish during these spells but don't have a fever - except that my normal temp is 97.5 and it's up to 98.5 during these times. Is that considered a fever for me?

Has anyone ever felt this? Can you tell me what it is? I don't know what brings it on. If I lie down, it's worse - I don't know if it's because my mind isn't busy so the pain distraction isn't there - or if it's just lying down that increases it.

I've been given scripts of Vicodin (5/500) for the radiculpathy and fibromyalgia over the years but I've never needed it around the clock like I do now. I'm terrified of addiction. Death would be better so I ask myself why don't I just take the narcotics and kill myself later if they're ever taken away from me. Has anyone ever regretted taking narcotics or can anyone advise me on what to do. I can't take Ultram because it interacts horribly with the Cymbalta that I take. Lyrica makes my pain worse...Just figured that out today.

The regular chronic pain is I don't feel I have the strength to keep my body erect anymore. All of my life, I've only been able to walk 45 minutes before my lower back feels like it's going to snap. Now, it feels that way constantly and is worse if I stand still. Walking is better than standing. (?) Why is that??? All of my life, I've had severe pain if I stood up straight with my shoulders back - now I feel the severe pain even in a relaxed posture. If I twist left or right with my waist or my neck, I get pins and needles upper or lower. I'm 48 and feel like I'm 90.

Neck stretches antagonize my unilateral headaches/facial pain as well as the radiculpathy in my arm. The only PT I can do is lumbar strengthening on the floor.

I've been on SSDI for five years - and wish I was dead. Please don't give me suicide links - I've got them.

Thank you in advance to anyone who can/will comment on anything I've written.



  • My back pain feels very similar to what you describe.I've suffered with CP for many years,but this cervical and thoracic-even lower back pain,is relatively new to me.It isn't that I haven't had pain in my spine before,but it used to be that I had 'episodes',or a week or 2 of pain with months in between.The everyday CP is fairly new-about a year-and something I'm still adjusting to.Years ago my CP was because of my feet.New pain does not negate my feet problems/pain,but I never thought anything would hurt more than they did,if you know what I mean.

    I'm not sure what it is,but I've been dx'ed with DDD and OA.Your pain might be CAUSED by something else entirely..and still be similar pain.

    Laying down wouldn't be a reason in itself for less distractions unless you mean actually trying to sleep.If that's what you meant,then the fact that you have only yourself there with your pain could certainly cause you to notice more-without outside distractions."They" say to turn the tv off at night in order to get a good nights sleep,but I have found it better to leave it on low,just enough that I have to strain a little to hear it-and that helps distract me from thinking of my pain.It's always there yeah,but I do feel you are on to something with the thoughts of distraction.

    I'm 48 too and I took pain meds from 1991-2002.I quit cold turkey right after my brother died in March of 02 from an OD of pharmacuetical pain meds,and 2 or 3 pain patches were found in his mouth.My mother saw that,and even though my medication was nothing like his,I felt it best to discontinue taking meds for CP because I knew my mom worried about it,and I felt guilty.
    I 07 my Dr prescribed me lortab 5/500,and she knew my history/story.I didn't tell my mother that I was taking anything for pain,but this time I didn't feel guilty because I went for over 5 years in pain and during that time I picked up the bottle as a means to self medicate.

    I only tell you this because you mentioned your fear of addiction.I too have that fear.16 months after my brother died,my other brother died-also from an OD of pain medication.Though his pain was certainly real,he was always building a tolerance to his meds and I believe,chasing a high.

    Only you know if your pain neccitates the need for and the use of pain medication.If you know all the risks and take your medication only as directed you will still become dependant on them.I feel that all CP patients become dependant on their meds,but to have a quality of life that best suits their needs-not dependant on the feeling we might initially get from their use.

    When we have a quality of life,a reason to feel we are a part of life-in the game instead of in the stands watching,we no longer feel that death is an option that we wish for.If medication can help us feel better about life and living,it is the right choice-not for our meds,but in spite of them.

    Only the best to you.
  • Make sure you get 2nd & 3rd opinions or more. I will be seeing my 3rd opinion soon. I have had also 2 Pain Management Drs also. Never give up. Sometimes when I awaken I think Why? Have you got your facet joints looked at? They were crippling to me and after 3 sets of injections I feel better. I've also had trigger point injections and 5 epidurals with 2 different steroid injections. Besides lyrica which I'm stopping slowly under Drs care, I will try Cymbalta for nerve pain. As well as I take amitriptyline. Tell your Dr your anti-depressant is not working and in some rare cases they can make feelings stronger. There are different meds available to help you. Please never give up because you could be one option away one day that will relieve you of most of your pain. Please call the Distress line in your city. Even go to the ER and tell them your intentions you may need more treatment. We're in this together. Delay those thoughts and reach out for help. It looks like you have real pain and we believe you're in pain. Keep looking because one day a Dr. will be able to help you or at least control your pain. There are SCS as well as morphine pumps that can help. Know we're not Drs but we're knowing how you feel. I haven't had pain as long as you but 14 months is a long time. I'm glad you have income from disability and you have some income. You're not just a number to us. You're unique and put here on earth for a reason. Finding fresh a new day in which to enjoy yourself and every moment. It's truly a gift to have life. I pray you can call upon God to help you understand even if you don't believe, God believes in you. Are you using a cane or walker? I'm 48 also and I miss my youth but I hope to get back stronger and keep looking for a Dr or solution to help me. I hope you feel better. Take care of Yourself. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • The episodes you describe sound like what I call "waves of pain." They come randomly rolling over me without any direct cause. I have herniated disc with sciatica down both legs, at least 2 facet tropisms, and so on, but it seems like I don't do anything when these waves hit. I start to sweat and my temerature seems to rise, more like my skin flushed full of pain. Could it be that the lying down makes your head/neck pain worse because of the position? After being in pain for a while, muscles spasm to try to compensate for the injury, so this and the injury itself leads to constant discomfort, pain, and strange symptoms.

    I know all about the walking/standing thing. I can walk for about 15 minutes on a good day, but only stand for 5. Quite frustrating! I think it's because walking helps because it keeps you loose, but standing still lets all that pain settle and build up and uses more of the muscles that it hurts us to use. Although walking uses more muscles, they don't ge tight as quick because they are in motion. Just my hypothesis...

    As for narcotics, I have always taken them as prescribed. I've never refilled early, or needed to because I'm terrified of losing what little relief I do have. Even though I'm underdosed, I still would rather have a little relief throughout the day than have to go through somedays without any relief if I take more than prescribed. This keeps me on track. I've never regretted taking narcotics. They help me to do the little I'm still able to do. I waited 4 years before seeing any doctor. I waited until the pain was severe and chronic. Any relief I can get at this point, now 7 years into my problems, I'll take it! It's easy to want to take more than you're allowed, especially if you're underdosed, but just remember that it's better to have a little constant relief than have to go sometimes without any relief or lose it completely by losing a doctor's trust. This should hopefully keep you on track. Have you tried Topomax for nerve pain? Supposedly it's the best out there with the least side effects but I can't use it since I take birth control and it makes that less effective...

    These are only my opinions, but I hope something in here helps you! I'm always here to listen!

    Much love and understanding,
  • I guess I forgot that addiction *also* means tolerance so one has to take more and more for the same relief. To the point that you lost two brothers? I feel bad that I asked now - at the same time grateful that you'd share it.

    I never thought of sleeping with a tv on. My head constantly rings (ears ring too) so a different source of noise while trying to fall asleep might be a relief. Thanks. The episodic pain (that's new to me) gets worse just lying down not particularly trying to sleep but would if I could just to escape from it. I've been honing in on my MRI reports trying to find a reason for it and wonder if "Annular Tear" would result in a leaking chemical? Hmm...off to google more. Do you have one too?

    Thank you - Robin

  • Thank you and Yes, my facet joints are a contributing factor to the root stenosis. I've read enough to know these are the main source of discomfort from vibrations - like the car, a boat, etc. But would they create these episodes?

    Thank you very much for your kind words. I'm a believer that antidepressants only work for chemical imbalances in the brain - they're aren't going to change one's perspective on circumstance, however.

    I guess I'll just have to make another appt with my doc & ask him what he thinks about round the clock narcotics. I can't stay ahead of the pain like "this".

  • I truly have waited until the pain is severe and chronic as you have. It's why tolerating these new episodes of liquid pain is pushing me over the top.

    The chronic pain goes up and down in severity - sometimes requiring narcotics and sometimes not. I just can't help but wonder if I just took the damn things every day if the ups and downs wouldn't be so stinking drastic. The days of "narcotic type pain" are out-numbering the days of NOT. Getting out of bed "most" (not every) days takes such effort - taking those coveted hot showers requires unbelievable determination and will...because I KNOW they'll help me. Why should I put myself through this crap if I can just take the narcotics continually - let them not only build up in my system but also allow them to stay ahead of the pain? God, I don't know. I'm afraid to do it. sigh. Should I wait until EVERY day is a narcotic pain day?? Then...these stinking episodes - make me want to go to the ER for demerol or something.

    Thank you for everything you said. I guess no one else can tell me what to do - but your experience and thoughts are so appreciated.

    Yes, Topamax was great for nerve pain. Most of my pain is mechanical now. Subject to change at any minute!! Like you, I don't expect to be pain free - I just want life to not be such a daily challenge. You know?

  • Why not go see your Dr. to tell him the pain is bad everyday and then maybe get a alow release med like a fentanyl patch or MS contin. I use my rolling office chair to get me out of bed. There's away to get out of bed that doesn't put so much pressure on your back also. when you're rolled to the edge of the bed use the arm underneath you to slowly slide yourself up. Others may have a better way of describing how to do it. See you. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I'm sorry that you've been having so much pain. I fully understand this because I've experienced times where the pain would "wash" over me. No matter what pain med I take, I'm always in severe pain but it's better than not taking anything at all. I know how the pain can get so bad that you feel like there's no hope, but you've got to hang on and not give up. There must be something out there to help you feel better. I'm having a morphine pump trial next month and I hope this is the answer I need. It hurts to do anything and it hurts when I do nothing. I'm pretty much homebound and I lay in bed with ice packs all day long. As you know this is tiring and surely no way to live, but I must try anything for my sake and the sake of my family to improve my quality of life. Jasro, I know how you feel and you're not alone in this anymore because we here for you and want you to get better. Please let us know how you're doing and feel free to vent your frustrations. Take care
  • That sounds dangerous. It's awful that the waking moments are the hardest.

    I DO need to see Doc. I'm going to google those patches.

    Thank you

  • Thank you. What you said meant a lot.
  • That's very kind of you. By the way... I like your "Kenny" avatar :) Keep him alive :D
  • LOL..."That blankity-blank killed Kenny !!" -whether he gets run over by a bus or squashed by something falling outta the sky...man, do I feel like Kenny on most days. :)

  • Laying down wouldn't be a reason in itself for less distractions unless you mean actually trying to sleep.If that's what you meant,then the fact that you have only yourself there with your pain could certainly cause you to notice more-without outside distractions."They" say to turn the tv off at night in order to get a good nights sleep,but I have found it better to leave it on low,just enough that I have to strain a little to hear it-and that helps distract me from thinking of my pain.It's always there yeah,but I do feel you are on to something with the thoughts of distraction.

    Drug Rehab
  • That is a good description.

    I agree w/Charry about getting 2d & 3d opinions. I'm also learning that I really have to be my own advocate.

    I'm trying to get my doc to put me on something longer acting than Vicodin also. It wears off too quickly & with too much force.

    As for addiction, I asked my doc about this. He said the drug is binding to our pain receptors & there is nothing left over to get any kind of high. He told me emphatically he is not worried about addiction.
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