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Chronic pain and the use of opiates and anti-anxiety medications

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Pain Management
Hello my name is Dan,
I have degenerative disc disease in not only my lower spine but my neck as well. The lower disc causes ferocious bouts of sciatica in one of my legs at times forcing me to just stop everything and sit and stretch as best i can to try and get this to pass.
I'm on a very low dose of opiate pain medication only once daily for if it gets really really bad, other than that i take a very mind medication (Ultram aka Tramadol) to manage along with a low dose of lorzapam aka ativan to manage my daily anxieties over all of my pain and feeling like i just cannot do what others can.
My question of others here is are there a lot of others who feel like they need an anti-anxiety medication in combination with their opiate pain medications for nervous feelings and anxieties about life and itself. Being disabled and not working because of an ongoing condition like this is a true self esteem issue where there are many days i have a hard time shaking it, sleep patterns are poor, driving and riding in a car hurts something aweful. I have tried antidepressants but it seems every one i've ever tried has had worse side effects than what we were trying to treat. Is it rare or odd to feel the need to be treated for anxiety because of pain issues?


  • Its not just you. I am battling severe depression, anxiety..everything bc of my condition. I still can not accept who and what I have become.
    I have days I can barely walk, shift my legs - everything hurts so badly that even a deep breath is painful as the pressure is too much on my lower back.
    I have and continue to do everything my doctor asks me to do..therapy, stretching, walking, medications..icing, heat..I do what they ask. I get the injections when they suggest, I get treatments they recommend.
    And now their latest recommendation is to seize all medications. Wow. I felt like I was slapped in the face. Now, if I argue it - perhaps I will look like a drug seeker..however if I allow it, I potentially would be putting myself and my children in harms way.
    I am in dire pain. It hurts. It hurts incredibly bad, and I dont know how else I can describe to them or to anyone else. I feel like I broken record already. Its this invisible pain that we have been damned with and I just dont know how much fight I have left in me. Some people are grateful to just be alive etc...thats not me. I am in so much pain that I can not function. I cant even use the toilet like a human being..I am 32 years old. This shouldnt have happened to me.

    So yes, Dan, a lot of us are battling a lot of anxiety, depression..a lot of it may have to do with the unknown. We wake up every morning not knowing if we will be functional or not that day. We just dont know.

  • Talk to you doctor about this. I have a perscription of Lorazapam and it seems to really help take the edge off when needed. On top of the constant pain I am also running my painting business and at times I'm in too much pain to meet with customers or employees.

    I would think most of us deal with increased anxiety to one extent or another. I dont know how you wouldnt dealing with all chronic pain has to offer. Best wishes for you and good luck talking to your doctor to come up with a good game plan for your situation.
  • Let me see if I can help.
    First the Ultram has ssri antidepressant properties in it. While it often works quite well it can really mess up your sleep pattern if taken after 3-4 pm. You may want to look at that pattern and use the Ultram in the AM and the other in PM.
    Antianxiety drugs do several things, they knock that panicky feeling from all your nerves and mind working overtime, plus they RELAX the muscles which can really help the pain aspect.
    I am BiPolar Type II
    I take Lamictal for it
    Valium for anxiety
    Ambien for sleep
    Benedryl for allergies and sleep
    Desipramine for depression and sleep.
    My primary drive in life is to be as pain free and as anxiety free as possible. I spend most of my days in less pain then anytime in the last three years since I broke my neck and T spine.
    The SCS plays a big part, but the meds that help me relax and not dwell on it make just as big of a difference.

    So, anxiety meds are quite commonly used one people in pain.
  • I have talked to many members here that suffer anxiety along with and about their pain issues (this includes myself). I went through every med available for the anxiety and also had side effects make it not worth the benefit. Don't give up though. You must find the med that is right for you. Sometimes it will take 2 or 3 weeks for your system to adjust to a new med so be patient when trying new meds. I have am currently taking Wellbutrin as well as Methadone for my issues. I settled on the Wellbutrin because at least it does not make me sleepy. I think that what you are experiencing is very normal for a chronic pain sufferer so please don't feel like you are alone. Good luck to you and please keep us posted with your progress.
  • As has been already said. You {and I -that is the invitation] are on a long-term journey to find all of the things that help us, eliminate the ones that are harmful and learn about yourself.

    I too have anxiety and just realized that I dropped through a depression, in the last 12 months. I have to say that the learning part of my personality, is challenged every day.

    We are all individuals and so, I need to learn about myself, I invite you to recogize this and continue to listen to yourself and come to some answers for you.

    Cheers -C45
  • It's a true bonus to have other echo that i'm not alone in what i'm feeling and that anxieties with us folks in daily pain is not a rare thing.
    My doc seems to want to play with my anti-anxiety medication dosage on occation because of her own worries i suppose. I'm only prescribed 60 1mg lorazapam a month, enough for 2 a day as needed. I truly guard them and dont see the issue, i have been on them at the same dosage for probably 6+ years and never requested an increase in the amount prescribed or the milligrams. My anxiety never seems to go away so i feel i need them yet i always make due with what i have prescribed to me. It just bothers me that she seems to think just because i'm in pain maybe i shouldn't be having anxiety. I full well know the difference in addiction and dependence. I will be the first to own that i am probably quite dependent upon them when i get upset or cannot sleep, yet i've never used my medications in an addictive or abusive manor. As a matter of fact at one time she was prescribing me the strongest percocets made 3 times daily and i ask to be taken off of them and only prescribed one strong narcotic a day as needed and take the milder ultrams as an alternative, i would expect she honor and see my integrity. Just please dont touch my few low dose anxiety meds. On top of being in chronic pain i am bipolar and take meds daily for it, i do believe the bipolar is a contributor to my anxiety and nervousness.
    well thank you all for listening, again your the greatest..Dan
  • Have you considered seeing another doc? After 6 years your PM really should have a strong trusting relationship with you. Most docs are well aware of the fact that anxiety/depression and chronic pain go hand in hand. Maybe a new set of eyes would be a good thing?
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