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Chronic Pain 8 years. Narcotics just stopped helping

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi, I am new here and I don't suffer from any problems. My Girlfriend does. For 8 years since she fell down a flight of stairs she has suffered Chronic Pain. Her pain while always present was managed by Morphine, though she always took just a little more then prescribed and would end up going a few days without until she could get her next prescription filled.

She takes Morphine 100mg and Tylenol 4 for breakthrough pain. She runs out of both a few days early. Eventually her "fill dates" stopped coinciding and when she only has one or the other, she takes even more of what she has. Generally when she has both she is much better. Not good, but much better.

That is until about a month ago. Her pain is worse then ever. Today she had injections by her new PM which did nothing. her morphine does nothing and her Tylenol does nothing. She went to the emergency room this week and was injected with dyloded, which did nothing and left with a small script for Tramadol, no help.

She has become very depressed. I don't know how to help her. She is angry and obviously in severe pain. I have tried to get her to join this forum but she is resistant and feels nobody can help her. I don't even know what I am asking except what can I do to motivate her to continue to find some relief.

Where do I start? What can she do? I fear for her safety and mental health.


  • It's great your girlfriend has someone like you looking out for her. She should return to the Dr. who's giving her her medications and let the Dr. know the Morphine extended release isn't lasting the prescribed amount of time and say the meds wear off at 5-6 hour level. The Dr. can then decide to try another med or increase her meds. I had to return to my Dr. several times as I was started on one 30mg a day. Then went to twice a day then returned again and finally I take 30mg 4x day or take 60mg in the morning and the 3rd 6 hours later and sometimes don't even take the 4th one. I also take Cymbalta which helps with nerve pain but is also a compliment to the pain meds as it's also an anti-depressant. Most people with chronic pain may require an anti-depressant as it helps with sleep and mood etc. But I'm not a Doctor and that's just my experience. I hope she can get the help she needs to help her pain which is no stranger to us. Take care. 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
  • Aron
    Firstly I would like to applaud your efforts in trying to get some appropriate help for her and that assumption that her depressive mode will not get better without the correct support maybe correct. =D>

    Those words of despair are hers and it is understandable when the pain increases the deterioration of our mood goes in the opposite direction, early intervention may help.

    We all become despondent at times and that notion of nothing working seem more paramount in our psyche than reality, these times are always difficult. Most chronic patients have someone to manage the pain that they have and doing this in isolation is unachievable. I agreed with Charry go and see the doctor who gave her the shots, they believed what she said sufficiently to warrant a shot and it is not unreasonable to say that this is not been as effective as one would like.

    We do understand here and some testimony even as pain patients, a rage of continuing difficulty is a facet of many people here. Emphasis the positive and try to ignore the negative, empathy is one thing actively encouraging anyone to be negative in general does not help.

    That nothing helps notion may be the first indicator that something is more amiss and highlights what is going on inside however much we try to hide it, have you tried her GP, who does she trust.

    Araon you are doing the best you can for her given the circumstances and you give us an insight of just how difficult and frustrating it is being a care when any improvement is limited. Many here are looking for that illusive answer to the condition that they have and keeping those expectation linked to reality always difficult and painful.

    Take care and thank you, things will get better.


  • I also think you're doing a good job and it is evident how much you really care about your girlfriend. She really needs to get her pain under control before her situation gets even worse.

    She needs to talk to her PM doctor and let him know that she is not getting relief with her medications. It is not good to run out before the next fill date because this looks really bad to pain mgt and she risks getting discharged. I hope her doctor will reevaluate her and either adjust or change her meds so that she doesn't take more than prescribed anymore.

    I understand how hard it is to live with chronic pain, day in and day out. Depression and chronic pain go hand in hand and you'll find that many of us take an antidepressant. Not only does it help our mood, it also helps with the pain. I think your girlfriend would really benefit from being put on one, and also going to a professional to help her cope with living with chronic pain.

    I really hope that things work out for her so that she can get back in control again and manage her pain more adequately. Take care
  • Take her out back and shoot her! I'm only kidding!

    I think going back to the original prescribing doctor and letting him/her know that her pain isn't being controlled as well anymore. I've been on pain medications for many years, and have built up tolerances to all of that I have been on. I usually switch from oxycontin to methadone, methadone to fentanyl, fentanyl to mscontin, etc, etc. I will only go as high as 200mg. 3 times daily of most pain medications (15mg. 4 times daily for breakthrough pain medication). A dose increase may work but only for so long, as tolerance will eventually build up regardless. I'm a fan of switching the type of narcotic taken as opposed to increasing dosage. A doctor with the same philosophy is a must in my opinion. From what I hear, it seems they are far and few between unfortunately. Good luck. (please don't take her back and shoot her!) I WAS KIDDING EVERYONE. I would take it back, but it takes me forever to type.
  • Taking more meds than prescribed is a big no-no! I know how hard it is when you're in pain, but besides managing your pain, pain management doctors have to manage dependence and drug resistance.

    Taking her meds exactly as prescribed is going to be the first step in getting pain management to really cooperate!

    As for her depression, of course chronic pain can cause depression. She should see a psychiatrist who can treat her for that.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    Sounds like she needs a serious conversation with the doctor prescribing the medications. My pain management physician put me on some long acting medications (for me it's Opana ER). Long acting medications in combination with short acting break through medications (such as vicodin) can work well together. The idea behind long acting medications is that you take them 2x a day and by doing so you keep a constant level of the medication in the blood. Then the break through medications can be used as needed when pain is not being well controlled by the long acting medication. Some long acting medications can be administered by skin patch others orally.

    Depending on what her injuries were - has she had a recent evaluation by a neurosurgeon and/or orthopedic spine surgeon in conjunction with recent testing such as MRI/CT?
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Well, thanks for all the advice. She tried having a conversation with her PM guy today and he rushed her out and wouldn't listen to her. He gave her a script for a medication not covered by her insurance, she told him it was not covered and he gave it too her anyway. She said he did not hear a word she said. This is her second PM guy the first refused to use any narcotics. So she never saw him again and kept getting her pain killers from her GP. Now she started with this guy a month ago. He is prescribing the same Morphine ER but changed her break thru last month to something that doesn't help her. She went to see him 2 weeks ago for shots that provided no relief. He gave her Tylonal 4 again for breaskthru but that has done nothing for her for a few months. Today he gave her something she can't fill. She changes doctors and they all freak out about how much she is taking now and cut her back. I don't have a clue what to do next. She is miserable ALL the time, she is unable to do anything.
  • Can her GP help her find someone? I know there are a lot of bad pain doctors out there, and it's so hard to try to find a doctor when you hurt all the time!

    She needs to keep looking until she finds a doctor who listens!

  • when she fell down the stairs what did she hurt?
  • motelman99 said:
    when she fell down the stairs what did she hurt?

    I don't know exactly, she has hardware in her neck from the fall. her biggest complaints are her low back. 2 disc herniations.
  • Go through her primary care Dr. The PM doctors are under a lot of pressure from the medical boards. Running out early looks bad with all the addictions out there. If she is going through the meds too quickly, see the DR immediately. They have to document it and the time of last visit. Makes it a lot easier for the Dr to change the meds and have a legit reason in the books. Now days the pressure on Drs prescribing pain meds is becoming evil.

    Is she doing physical therapy or aqua therapy? Inactivity will cause more pain and depression. If she cant afford therapy at least try to go walking with her. Anything to keep the body in motion. Good Luck to the both of you.

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