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back pain and Narcotics

BadThunderBBadThunder Posts: 15
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Chronic Pain
360 2 level lumbar fusion and hardware removal 7 months later. Started out on Norco 10s which progressed to Methadone and finally OxyContin 80s and Oxycodone 30s for Breakthrough. Undergone Spinal Cord Stimulator testing and about to try the pain pump when I decided to get off all meds and see what my real pain is. 30 day rehab and a painful detox yeilding amazing results for me. My pain level is between a 0-2 but tolerable and managed with Iburprophen 800.

I would never have believed it if you told me. The pain was manufactured in my mind. Please be careful out there with these powerful Narcotics.


  • This is a very interesting experience you had and I'm glad you are able you manage on Motrin now. I must say however that my pain, and many others here, is very real and if it weren't for our medications and other pain mgt intervention, we would be bedridden. Could it be that you totally healed from your fusion and it coincided with the time of your detox? There has got to be more involved than just your mind creating this pain don't you think? :?
  • I have been involved with severe back pain since 2001 in my bodybuilding days in the GYM. I tore 2 discs L5-S1 and tried physical therapy, epidurial steroid shots, multi trigger point injections, facet block injections, painful discograms, and several referals to PM Drs and Orthopedic Surgeons. Nothinig worked so I was a candidate for the 360 2 level fusion in Mar 2007. Super painful surgery as most of you know and long recovery. I still had a lot of pain and underwent a painful procedure where the spine surgeon gave me 8 shots all where the screws held my spine in lock down. That procedure indicated the hardware was causing the pinching sensation I was feeling so surgery #2 Dec 2007. I did well for a few months on tramadol and Norco 10s for breakthrough. Something happened that I was feeling more and more pain. The diagonsis by 2 drs was Failed back Surgery syndrom (FBSS). The escalation from Norco 10s was Methadone for about a year with monthly trigger point injections with some relief. My back still increased to the point i needed oxycontin 80s 3x daily with Oxycodone 30s 4x daily for BT. I was on that AND getting trigger point injections every 2 weeks. My body developed an incredible tolorance to the narcotics that it took more and more to get some relief and be able to function. It was when my family member got involved, whom is a Nuclear Pharmasist, that gave me some hope that when you are on constant narcotics that you can feel more pain than what the original problem was to use pain meds in the first place.

    That is why I posted this thread. Is to give hope out there and to be positive and smart about using pain meds.
  • Hi I'm scheduled for a lumbar fusion and would like to know advice before I go do it. What would you want to know and do before you did that surgery??
  • What your relative was talking about is called hyperalgesia and this is very contraversal topic among doctors. They basically think that pain meds cause more pain.

    Even though we have different opinions, I do appreciate you sharing your story with us and I hope you continue having success with your current regimen. Take care
  • Why don't you try clicking on POST TOPIC at the top of the page and select "new member introductions" or even "back/neck surgeries" so that way your post will be seen by everybody.

    You'll find a multitude of advice and personal experiences on lumbar fusions here at SH. What type of fusion are you having? I had a 2 level TLIF/laminectomy on L4-5 and L5-S1. Please add more detail so that we can help you better. Thanks
  • Glad everything worked out for you. When you read some of the stories on these online forums, you have to wonder whether these Doctor's are trying to eliminate pain or just manage it. There is a group of people on SH that are not going to want to listen to your story

    That must have been very difficult going through the detox and not knowing if it was going to help you or not. What was your Doctors response before and after the detox. It's important for us as patient's to understand that conditions like this exist. If you as a patient ramp up the pain meds rapidly and its not a transient ramp up, hopefully you're Doctor is trying to determine if the problem is hyperalgesia or a built up tolerance to the prescriptions or some other problem.


    Opioid-induced hyperalgesia is a condition manifested clinically as hyperesthesia (i.e., dramatically increased sensitivity to painful stimuli) and/or allodynia (i.e., pain elicited by a normally nonpainful stimulus). It occurs in some patients (and, in laboratory studies, animals) receiving chronic opioid therapy; the abnormal pain often arises from an anatomically distinct region and is of a different quality than the original pain problem (Ossipov et al., 2005). Clinical reports dating back to the late 19th century documented that hyperalgesia was associated with opioid dependence. Later clinical observations and studies suggested that pain sensitivity differs between persons with opioid addiction and those who are not addicted (Compton 1994, Doverty et al 2001). In the 1940s, hyperalgesia also was described as part of the opioid withdrawal syndrome. In the past decade, research indicated that hyperalgesia also occurred in the context of short-term and continuous therapy in which physical dependence and withdrawal did not play a role (Angst & Clark, 2006).
  • I havent heard of that term before. I just finished my 30 day rehab last week. I did make appointments with my drs to talk about my experience. Im not against pain meds at all, I just wanted to share my experience.

    Before rehab, I could NOT sit in a chair for 20 minutes or mow the lawn without a burning achy feeling in my back. I tried to get off the pain meds myself to assess what my real pain was or if it was in my mind. Withdawls were so violent I had to go to the ER not once but twice in 1 week for opiate wd. There they gave 2 rounds of morphine to stabilize me. I was so miserable that I had accepted the fact I was going to fail the random drug tests at work, lose my job, marriage and home my new Corvette Z06, and commit suicide to rid myself of the back pain. I just wanted to be painfree and happy again.
  • I am so glad to hear that you have had a good response to your surgery and are now managing your pain with IBUPROFEN!


    I hope this continues for you, my friend. It does my heart good to hear success stories such as yours! Thank you for sharing.
  • am suitable for ADR {LAST CHANCE TO CHANGE MY LIFE?}
    the reason i mention that is .i take oxycontn and oxynorm and i have reached the ..can't live with them cant live without them ..i hate being a slave to them but my pain is so bad without them i have no choice i would love to be well enough to not have to take them {but both the last surgeon and my own GP said that its the only option i have as they dont thing that ADR is going to be an option ..in other words they have written me off!} this is unacceptable to me as long term narcotics is not something i want .they make me feel lousy. bloated stomach constipation etc i would love to come off them ...then i wake up at 3am and they are the best thing in the world ..as that pain is just too much for anyone to bear anyone that has this kind of debilitating back ache will understand me on this one ..i do hope that am in the minority because its no live living as i do sorry to go on but i am so sick of it now ..its not like i can turn it off for the holidays {everybody's having fun and i am sat on my recliner popping pills and wired up to my TENS ] any way wish me luck for tomorrow
  • I hope you can get some good news tomorrow. Let us know!?!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    just being able to not having to take all the narcotic pain medications. There are not many people I have talked to that would'nt wish the same for themselves.

    Everyone is different every body is different. Some of us need the medications that are prescribed for us because it is so very necessary. Others can get by with less or none.

    None sounds like such a nice word. I would love to get there, maybe some day I will.. Just seems that after 30+ years of dealing with chronic pain and medications that I dont see a quick exit.

    So, I am happy that you were able to deal with all of your pain without pain medications...
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Well, all pain is all in our minds ;) Pain is the brain's interpretation of the signals it is getting from the body. Those signals or the interpretations of the signals can get messed up in any number of ways. Nerve pain is in itself a mix-up of those signals (right now my brain is telling me my right hip hurts, but I know it is actually because of nerve impingement in my spine).

    I've heard of hyperalgesia due to prolonged opioid use. I'm glad you were able to get out of that awful cycle!

    Thank you for sharing.
  • Just be careful of the effects of too much Ibuprofen on the stomach (or is it the liver?)..

  • Yep, I can no longer take NSAIDS regularly, my body finally rebelled :(
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    there are not many things out there that if we take enough of them it can potentially hurt us (or so science tells us.

    First they tell us to eat more fish, its good for us, now we need to cut back on fish

    Then eating too much red meat was not good for us, but now, red meat is ok

    I could go on and on listing these. I recently saw a paper article that listed over 35 different items that only a little while ago we told were no good for us, yet today, those same things are.

    To me, its simple: MODERATION

    Works no matter want

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • no mater how well we look after our selves {and before my smash i was super fit } we are given two dates one when we are born and one when we die
  • when I was in severe pain you guys were very comforting. Now that I am not, I get blasted. Im done.

  • Allergic to Aleve/naproxen sodium-if you can take advil-you may have even better results with aleve-my hubby has. Me- allergic to aleve. Have been on tummy meds (pick one) since high school- hubby threatened to hide the advil from me. Have had 30+ days off opiates-ouch. Not everyone can be so lucky to get off opioids & be able to have quality of life. Right now, I basically have no life. Not hypoanalgesia, but pseudoaddiction, missed by my clinic.
    No wonder, all my messages were sent to the wrong doc.-one I'd never seen. It is a long sad wah wah. Was on fentanyl 50 + oxycodone 5 for breakthrough. I wish I could take even one advil so I could wash a few dishes. Oh wah, wah, wah. Cold turkey for Christmas-maybe I'll sue....
  • Don't let a few negative comments bother you. Some people get defensive or negative and that can come from many places in those people, somewhere we'll never know. Everyone has their own crosses to bear, so please don't let them bring you down.

    One thing we've learned on this forum is when you read posts, take what you need and leave the rest. It's impossible to have so many members agree and you've put out some great information that has gotten a lot of people thinking.

    Keep posting. I'm very proud of you and know it was a very difficult thing to do. Keep up the good work of taking care of yourself and inspiring others to do so as well.

  • I did find your experience very intriguing and I hope that you don't think that I was being negative. As you know, some people have used the theory of hyperalgesia as a way to restrict pain meds in chronic pain patients and that is why I don't agree with it. I have read and reread everyone's posts and I honestly didn't pick up anyone blasting you. Sorry you had that impression and I hope you don't leave.

    Anyway, in your second post, I understood better what you were trying to say and also came away knowing that you have gone through hell just like the rest of us. I found your outcome miraculous and an inspiration to all seeking better pain relief. I do find it hard to believe that anyone would be content to live life as worthless human beings and not want to help themselves. If that was so, they wouldn't be here because we're about uplifting each other and sharing experiences.

    If I may add..I'm also jealous too :D and I'd give anything to do as well as you are today. Who wouldn't want to toss all their meds and get their life back? Sign me up. Keep up the good work and take care.

  • I have been on narcotic therapy for the last 8 years. There are occassions on the rare good day that I don't have to take any meds, I don't try to get out of pain as I have seen to many people become psychologically addicted. I go to pain clinic every four weeks and you can sometimes tell who is out of meds. I feel sorry for them, they need some help, between the depression, pain, an all that goes along with chronic pain the meds become an attractive escape. Anyway after 8 years of narcotic use I can honestly say that I'm not addicted or dependent on my meds. I have a good friend who is a pharmacist and he is the one I trust more than anyone in regards to monitoring my meds. We have to be careful, sometimes we have to increase our doses, as long as I'm not constipated and I can miss a dose without any side effects, I feel as though I am in control of my meds instead of the meds controlling me.
  • After finding this informitive site, I see its got alot of good info. and stuff I can relate to. Your post stood out, as I can totally relate, especially around the Holidays like this. I've tried diff. things to make for better Holidays, mostly I stayed in or around my recliner while taking Oxys to make it thru the day. I wanted to feel part of the festivities even though I didnt do much. I carved the turkey, I prepared it where it looked nice and neat too. I thought hey this isnt so bad, until towards the end, where I started really feeling it in my low back, I had to go sit, take a 10 min. break then finished it up. I paid for it the rest of the night, should of taken an extra break or two, but didnt want someone jumping in and say I'll do it, just go sit. I wanted to participate something . somehow.

    I wanted to ask you about your acticare. How does it help you ? How long does it last. I/m for checking out anything for pain relief. Thanks.
  • I just had to laugh at the OP. My PM Dr is getting fired for this line of thinking. I have 3 torn disks, S1-L2, and many more bulging. I had a major turn for the worse a few months back, no one knows why, and that led me back on the narcotics. I have a past history with substance abuse and am upfront with my Drs about my past. The Dr put me Narcos and ibuprofen. Worked well for a while but the pain was to much and I was not sleeping. Over a 3-4 month period I had not gotten more than 3 hours of sleep at one time. My PM Dr told me it was all in my head lol. At one point I went 15 days without a wink of sleep. That landed me in the hospital, very sick and in pain. They got me stabilized, sleeping and my pain down in a manageable 5-6ish rang.
    When I go back to my PM Dr he tells me, well you got the attention and drugs you wanted are you happy. He starts yelling at me, telling me that I am not in pain and I'm just seeking. He tries to tell me that taking drugs in the hospital was a violation of out pain contract, another big old LOL.
    I am using 10mg oxycodone ER and 5mg Imm rel for breakthrough. I tend to only take my breakthrough pain meds when I need to sit through an AA meeting or meet with my sponsor. I some times have to take them to get through the hour with my therapist. I am using 30 5mgs every 45 or so days. I take my ER 1 every 12 hours as prescribed and it keeps me in 6is level on the pain scale. That allows me to do a few thing around the house and sometimes even leave my house. The PM Dr will not refill the scripts I left the hospital with nor will he give me anything thing else.
    All I can say is YOUR FIRED! My PC Dr has told me how unprofessional this guy is, what a moron he is, wonders out load how he ever got to be a Dr, and that I need to fire him ASAP.
    Some of us have addiction problems, some of have pain, some of us have both. A good spiritual foundation, solid sober people around us, and life is good. Has many bumps, but it's all good.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    12/21. I hope your still popping in to read the responses.
    I don't think anyone was blasting you. But I do think your post made all of us think! As it was very thought provoking.
    Some may wish they could have the same results as you. I, for one am envious. But what works for you may not work for me. Hearing about it though, dose make me feel like, why can't that be me? I struggle with the weighing up of pain vs. narcotics and the guilt that comes with it. I have a upcoming surgery and I have been trying to cut back on my meds. 'cause I'm afraid my tolerance is so high that nothing will work for me post op. And I'm failing at that too.
    So, in part, it's a guilt thing, in that we all wish we could be like you. Some of course may become a little defensive. So one could say we are all either envious or jealous of you.
    You on the other hand are very lucky that you've found out that this dose work for you. And thank you for sharing, because some may try and possibly find that it will work for them too!
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • Don't quit coming in here just because you're doing well on non-narcotic meds. THAT'S GREAT!! I'm very happy for you. Not everyone gets terribly addicted to the meds either. I still have a prescription for oxycodone. Mine are fairly low-dose and I only take them when I'm in horrible pain which, thankfully, isn't that often any more. I have flare-ups -- kind of like when you over-do it with yard work on a long weekend. Unhappily, it doesn't take all that much to create a flare-up like that for me, but I'm learning to move and live comfortably without needing to take the meds all the time.

    Perhaps anyone who has responded negatively is just jealous. We should all be very happy for you. Best of luck with continuing to be pain free.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I found BadThunder's experience with narcotics very interesting and very thought-provoking. I will take his experience into serious consideration if I should ever need long-term opioid therapy.

    On the downside, I feel compelled to say something about the response BT's comments generated. While I wouldn't agree that he "was blasted" by anyone, I do understand how it is to put yourself in a vulnerable position by sharing something potentially controversial. Not to put any other spiney down, but I have to say that I perceived a somewhat patronizing attitude in some of the responses. It was couched in many of the "right words" but there nonetheless. I perceived this patronizing attitude before I ever read BT's reaction, so this was not an afterthought on my part, it was original. The feeling I got was basically, "I'm glad for you to have gotten off narcotics, but MY pain is REAL". The impression I had was that some of those responding simply dismissed BT's experience as an oddity and therefore not pertinent to most spineys, even though he was clear to point out that he had very REAL pain and debility from his back problems. I felt like BT was trying to help everyone here by giving them a perspective on their pain that thay may not have ever thought of. Instead of a grateful "wow, that's an eye-opener" response, he got an ingratiating pat on the head by some (not all) people, but enough to make him feel rejected.

    Please understand that I'm not putting anyone down for anything said, but I do hope we all take the information he presented seriously (and thanks to the person who provided the definition of hyperalgesia). I'm not on narcotics daily but if I was and was experiencing increasing amounts of pain, I would absolutely want to try his experiment (under a doctor's supervision, of course) to find out if the medications were playing a part.

    Now, before you respond to my thoughts, I'll say in my own defense that I've lived with varying types of chronic/recurring pain all of my adult life, they're just not all centered in my spine, but I won't bore you with the details.

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • I hope my response didn't come off that way. That side effect of narcotics is actually one that has always really worried me. Narcotics are the only thing that really helps with my breakthrough pain, so the idea that they'd start causing me MORE pain worries me :(

    I found it really sad that hyperalgesia is so well documented, yet none of the OP's doctors seemed to know about it. Apparently that's pretty common!

    For me, heavy narcotic use isn't my present, but it is likely my future so I read all of these posts with gratitude- any heads up for what I should look out for is appreciated.
  • I am like you Straker. I hate the meds and I love the meds. I hate the side effects of pain meds as you have stated. But when the pain level is up, sometimes I won't take the meds just to see what happens and I end up just plain miserable. I take a 12 hr slow release that I assume is working and percocet for breakthrough. I only take the percocet if the pain increases to a level that isn't tolerable. I probably endure more than I should but I feel like I still have control. I probably am addicted but won't give in to it. Somedays, the good days, I don't have to take any extras. But when the pain is bad, which is very frequent, I have to take the meds to get through the day. This is not the life I thought I would be living but it's the life I have. I will make my self as comfortable as I can just so I can function and try to enjoy life as it is. I truly wish that I did not have to take any type of medicine. My hubby told me that when I am taking my meds, that most people would not even know I was on heavy duty meds because I don't slur, I don't nod off, and I am very alert. He does know people who are on the same type of meds and barely function at all. I don't understand getting a high off the meds that I know some people get. I don't get anything off the meds but some relief. Sorry so long, but I found this post interesting. I am thankful that I am not on anything stronger or any more that what I am. At least for right now. It scares me to think of having to take more and stronger meds.
  • I have a huge fear of taking my needed pain meds. Such a fear that I stop at times and it causes huge problems. I know I have pain yet I toss between should I or shouldn't I. I still struggle every day on this. And it causes me not to take them correctly.
    Then one day I read the below quote! Something in my head changed and I can deal with things a little better. So I want to share the quote. To help other maybe see some light.

    "I told myself one day, you better start facing this thing head on or it's going to destroy you. People are dealt bad hands all the time, but it's how you overcome them, how you deal with them"
    Richard Collier

  • The pain management Doctor that I use tried a kind of medication sabatical for me, that lasted for 3 weeks, on those 3 weeks I was in pure Edited (pain wise)! Of course, he weened me from my 80 Mg's of Methadone for 4 weeks before we did the "break", I guess that he was trying to see if I had a case of Hyperalgesia, well I proved him and myself, that I didn't, and I am glad that we did what we did because it really showed me that my issues are real, that I do need my medications and that I am one of those unlucky ones that is going to have to live like this...

    Post edited by Authority Member haglandc for inappropriate language
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