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So many pain meds don't work for me & I am frustrated & confused?!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,662
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Pain Management

Hello everyone,

I have had 2 back operations last year, the last one was a decompression of L-5 S-1 with a fusion. Two rods and 6 screws with a dynsys system installed at L4- L5 to help try and save the disc at L4-L5 level.
My question to you all is this; Before surgery I was on lortab 10/500 3x per day and Lyrica for the nerve pain. Post op its been 1 year now, but after surgery I found out that morphine did NOT help with pain ( did nothing) while I was recovering in the hospital and they had to give me an injection of Delodid every few hours instead of the morphine pump?
Since surgery I have been on Opana that did nothing. Fentanyl patches for 8 months that I thought were working a little but found out they actually did nothing at all. I tried oxycodone 30 mg tabs last month but I would sweat so badly that I had my PM Dr take me off of them.. I am now back on lortab 10/500 4 times a day until we can figure something else out that will work.... I was for 6 months after surgery taking Percocet 10/325 with the lortab that seemed to help, but that had to end.
My surgeon does not want me to take Lyrica until we see if the surgery has been a success. He said it would mask the nerves & we would not be able to tell if the operation relieved the pressure on the nerves that had been damaged. I had spondilotheses (sorry I can't spell it correctly)
Any ideas would be Greatly Appreciated.
Thank you
Just so you all know; before my last back operation I had an allergic reaction to some medication that effected my endocrine system that caused my bones to soften. Perhaps my spinal steroidal injections, but they don't know for sure. They found out I had soft bones at the time of putting screws in my spine. I now have a weekly testosterone injection, take 2000 IU of vitamin D and 600 mg Calcium twice daily. Now my bones are getting harder but I need my knees replaced because they are worn out due to the soft bone issue. I am 47 years old & too young for knee replacements according to my orthopedic.
I said all of this so everyone will understand that I now have knee pain too..

Thanks Again & any help would be Greatly Appreciated.... On what type of medications may work for me, my PM Dr said he reluctantly prescribes some medications because of miss-use & its just against his policy. I am new to this and have only been on this path for about 14 months now.



  • What I don't understand is why your doc would take you off of the Lyrica in order to see if the surgery was a success or not. If you problem is Spondy, the issue of doing a fusion was to stabilize your spine. It just doesn't make sense to withdraw the one medication that may have been keeping your pain managed.

    Many of us will be taking medications such as Lyrica for the duration due to nerve damage that cannot be undone regardless if the surgery removed the impingement and pressure.

    Sorry, this has left me scratching my head, since I've not ever heard of a doc withholding a medication for months just to "see" if the surgery was a success.

    Welcome to Spine Health. I hope we can make your journey an easier one and help you find some answers.

  • Hi Hagland,

    My surgeon made me wait 5 weeks after stopping the Lyrica before he would even do the surgery. The reason he gave me made since to me, the lyrica or Noronten would mask over the nerves & I would have a limited amount of feeling in them. He wanted the nerves to be intact & working fully before he corrected the compressed disc so my PM Dr took me off of the meds. I have been off of them now for 15 months, I still have nerve damage in my hips & buttocks periodically & numb spots in my buttocks. My PM Dr wants to put me back on the meds but the surgeon still wants me to not take them. After the surgery I use to get an electrical shock feeling running down my legs & it would scare the crap out of me because it felt like I was getting electrocuted. The surgeon said that was nerves coming back to life & if I'd been on the Ltrica I never would have felt it & he would not have been able to do the nerve testing that he has been doing. They did more testing this week where they put a wet sponge on my lower back & touched different parts of my legs with a wet probe to test the nerves from my spine.

    And thats the way it stands

    Thanks for your input
  • Drugs like Lyrica and Neurontin don't "shut down" the nerves so that they can't function or you can't feel them in a normal capacity. Basically the drugs knock down the over-excited feature and calms them, hence calming down seizures and pain signals. I've had EMG's done while on these drugs and it did not inhibit the testing or determination.

    I'm not saying that your doctor doesn't know what he's doing. It's not my place to do so, however all the rationale that you say he is giving, just doesn't pass the basic logic test, nor does it make good sense from a pain management perspective.

    Who is supposed to be in control of your pain management decisions? Who is doing all the testing?

    Nerves will "come back to life" and heal, regardless if a body is using an anti-convulsant to block the hyper-excitability of the receptor. At least that's what my experience has been and what every one of my neurologists and my neurosurgeon and pain management docs have said.

    I hope you get some sort of relief and answers soon.

  • I don't understand but I am just following his recommendations & so is my PM Dr.

    I don't understand why the Morphine & any other medication that contains it has no effect on me. Fentanyl has no effect either I suppose because its part of the same family?.?

    I had a long reply typed out & for some reason I lost it before it posted, I hate it when that happens.....

    Have a Great Day

  • I lose my posts for some reason or other and it drives me nuts. I hate that!

    Anyway, I've been down the same road with med. I was on Fentanyl 100 mcg's and I knew that my body already became tolerant to its effects. It no longer did anything for my pain. I tried MS Contin after that but later on I became allergic to it. Currently I'm taking 80 mg's of Oxycontin a day along with 4 10mg oxycodones daily.

    Is your doctor willing to try another narcotic like Oxycontin, any of the morphine meds (Avinza, Kadian, Ms Contin), or Methadone? There is a lot of debate over the efficacy of Opana- some say it helps while others say it's overpriced crap. Oxycontin and Fentanyl are much stronger than morphine. I never took Methadone so I can't give you advice on it. All I know that people say it works really well when all other meds fail, and you get no euphoria from it.

    I also disagree with what your doctor says about stopping Lyrica and Neurontin. If you have nerve involvement, it will show up on tests no matter what. I don't think it's worth the suffering from not taking it in order to get a more "realistic" measure of the pain and damage. Take it from me, that nerve pain will overwhelm any medication that works against it. It is so hard to keep under control. I take Cymbalta and Zanaflex and I still have constant symptoms.

    Well, I hope your doctor figures out which medicine regimen will help you. Remember that it take more than one class of medication to help manage back and nerve pain. Take care

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  • Eric,
    I'm truly surprised that all of those meds gave you absolutely no pain relief. Even if they did not provide the level of pain relief that you feel that you need, almost every pain med helps reduce the pain on some level. Of course, some will work better than others at relieving your pain, which is why doctors use different drugs with each patient. Dilaudid is a relative of morphine . Fentanyl is a synthetic drug, not a relative of morphine or any other drug. It is also one of the strongest pain relievers there are currently available.
    The sweating with oxycodone is a typical side effect, one that most of us who have taken it have had to learn to live with. Percocet contains oxycodone and tylenol. Sweating is not considered a reason not to take oxycodone, unless it is a personal preference, but that doesn't mean that it didn't work to ease your pain.
    All medications have some side effect or another, the trick to medications is finding one that works relatively well to keep your pain levels so that you can manage the activities of daily living, with a pain level of about 4 or 5, which most doctors consider one that patients can live with.
    Once you have an injury to your body, that area is changed . It may have scar tissue or damage that could not be fixed so you may continue to have pain.
    Taking Lortab and Percocet at the same time is dangerous. Percocet has 500 mg of tylenol in it, and so does the Lortab that you are taking. That means if you are taking them both at once that you are taking 5 or 10 mg of oxycodone , 10 mg of vicoden and 1000 mg of tylenol at one dose. If you are taking this 4 times a day, you are at the maximum dosage of tylenol a day for the occassional tylenol user. One , like us , who is taking it daily for an extended period of time, the recommendation of daily intake of tylenol is 3000 mg or less, preferably less.
    If the Lortab works, then I would stick with that, understanding that pain free is not obtainable. It is a level of pain that you can live with that you should be looking to reach.
  • I'm curious where you get your information from based on the following quote:
    sandi said:

    All medications have some side effect or another, the trick to medications is finding one that works relatively well to keep your pain levels so that you can manage the activities of daily living, with a pain level of about 4 or 5, which most doctors consider one that patients can live with.
    Pain levels are open to interpretation by everyone, including the person feeling pain. One persons 2 might be considered an 8 by another. I think Doctor's prescribe prescriptions based on the patients perception, actual symptoms, and diagnostic evidence rather than just a number on an arbitrary scale.

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