Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Anyone taken MS Contin 15mg-Taken off Lortab 10

scottymacsscottymac Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Chronic Pain
Has anyone had any experience with MS Contin 15 mg. I was on lortab 10 3x daily. I have had 2 discectomy on l4-5. My most recent on last December in Chicago. After my recovery I kept telling my surgeon I was still having lots of pain. He assured me it was not a disc problem. After bugging his office everyday his nurse told me there was nothing more they could do. I finally went to my chiro after hardly being able to walk examined me and said he would bet any amount of money i had a broad based disc bulge at L5-S1. He ordered my mri reports after surgery. Surprise, surprise severly bulged disc at l5s1. This was radiologist report, my surgeon said no disc issue. Wow a neurosurgeon from Northwestern University in downtown Chicago couldn't tell there still was a disc issue? My chiro thinks he didn't want to admit it. After all he performed discectomy at L4-5 and didn't notice disc bulge a level lower? Anyway a year later I am still in pain everyday. Nothing has helped! Pain clinic 4 months now. Monthly injections, started me on Lortab 10, now put on Ms Contin 15mg every 12 hours. But after 6 i'm ready for another. The lortab 10 every 8 hours seemed to work better. The nurse told me morphine or ms contin is stronger and would provide round the clock relief. Should I call the pain clinic and tell them it's not working? I don't want them to think i'm an addict and i want a higher dosage. I don't know much about "breakthrough pain" but i will bend over and stabbing pain will shoot in my lower back. The pm wants me to see his neurosurgeon to be evaluated, as he thinks i need surgery. I don't know what to do, i hate to have a 3rd surgery but i can't live like this, i cannot do anything physical, cannot stand more than ten minutes, cook, cut veggies or anything like that. Any advice will be apprecieated. And anyone have any thoughts as to why my surgeon from Chicago couldn't figure out i had a broad based disc bulge at l5-s1 when the radiologist at same hospital found it. He had just performed discectomy on l4-5 in december and had another mri in june, and that's the one he read and said only thing he saw was disc degeneration. He said it was a muscle problem. Please advise, Thank You!


  • I started at the same MS Contin 30 mg a day. I returned to my Dr. and told her I had pain at night too so she increased it to 60 mg a day. Then I found out it wore off also and told her 5-6 hours I still had pain and was impossible to live like this. She increased it to 30mg 4x day and I would usually take 60mg in the morning and 6 hours later take another 30mg and sometimes did not require the 4th dose. I went so many times to my Dr. and the car ride was so awful to get there. Now after 2 years she's put me on Oxycontin 120 mg/day and 2 weeks later have less pain. I would get another opinion Neuro or Orthosurgeon. I wouldn't began to understand the Surgeon who didn't identify the herniation. I wish you all the best if you plan surgery. 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
  • One thing to remember, is that everyone is different; some have higher thresh holds for pain than do some. Some people are able to perform usual daily activities in spite of the pain where others are not.

    The nurse was correct; the MSContin is a stronger medication than the Lortab. I've been on this ride for quite some time and have found that when I take the longer acting medication (MS Contin; these are also called extended release meds or ER Meds) I am able to "stay ahead of the pain". When I find the MS Contin is wearing off and I am experiencing pain, I will take what is known as a break through medication (or short acting/immediate release - IR Med). Your IR med is Lortab; mine is oxycodone. I've also undergone a series of accupuncture treatment which - oh my GOSH! Literally put me in Heaven for a good 5 hours. And I was a non-believer in the process. Imagine the results I'd have had if I actually thought it would work!

    The medications such as Lortab and Percocet, I believe, have added medication such as Ibuprophin or acetaminophen, which when taken in large amounts or for an extended amount of time can actually cause other problems with your liver or stomach...

    As I said earlier, it's easier to "stay ahead of the pain" by taking your medication around the clock, than skipping does and then playing "catch up" after your pain rears that ugly head.

    Maybe you could discuss this with your doc the next time you see him/her.

    The disc bulge you mentioned, is it pressing on a nerve?

    Of course, it is never an easy decision to have "another surgery" unless you simply cannot function, and/or lose control of your bladder/bowel.

    Maybe, you could speak with your doctor about adding a third MSContin - that's the dose I am on (30 mg 3 times a day). Wouldn't that be too cool if that was all it took to allow you to function on a level close to normal?

    Once you get your pain under some sort of control, you may want to consider other avenues such as physical therapy (if your doc approves, of course) or some exercise where you are moving all your limbs and muscles without it being too strenuous, but enough to keep your muscles from wasting away - causing more problems in the long run.

    Well.... Sorry I went on and on. Just remember, there is hope. Not so much for your pain to go away completely, but enough that you could maybe get it under some semblance of control.

    Best of luck to you. Keep us posted?
  • I agree with BionicWoman and jeauxbert. They both give out great infor. And they both been threw the pain.

    Hoping you to be pain free

  • scottymac, one thing that can be very helpful for you and your doctor is to start keeping a pain journal. That allows you to create a picture of your pain over time, in the context of your daily activity. It also helps track your medication use and the effectiveness of other interventions.

    The American Pain Foundation has a really great starter journal:


    It has a lot of good information about understanding different types of pain we deal with (chronic pain, break-through pain, pain flares, etc.) and tips for talking with your doctor about the pain you're having. It's also got a simple layout to help you get used to tracking your pain in that way.

    Keep a journal like that and taking it to your appointments gives your doctor a lot more information, quickly. Too often, patients go into appointments and tell their doctors "I can't do anything because of the pain" and doctors know that's not entirely true. The fact that we make it to appointments proves it.

    It's very helpful to your doctor when you can offer them a tangible snapshot of what's working (even just a little bit) and what's not working, as well as more detailed information about your activity levels and how that impacts your pain levels.

    (edited by me, because writing in complete sentences was hard last night..lol)
  • I am currently taking Morphine ER - extended release, Morphine IR - immediate release and Soma for pain. I take 100 mg of the morphine ER 8 times a day, 30 mg morphine IR 8 times a day and Soma 4 times a day. I do very well on this dosage now. I dont nod off or get floaty feeling. I was told by my friend that her husband who had cancer didnt even take that many mg's a day. Is 1040 mg's a day
    normal ?
  • Taking any ER drug 8 times a day is not normal, because it's not how ER drugs are intended to be used.

    In fact, the dosing schedule you've described is the type of prescribing that tends to draw the DEA's attention to your doctor, because it's extremely pill-mill-ish.
  • That seems to me to be extremely too much to me.I agree with BW about the DEA.It should definitely draw a red flag.Good day to all my spiney comrades.Mark
  • As BionicWoman and Mark already stated, the amount of ER and IR medications you are on... seems to be unusually high.

    ER medication means extended release. The extended release medications are generally given in 8 hour or 12 hour increments. Sometimes, 6 hour increments. Taking the ER medication every 3 hours does not allow the medication to work properly.

    The IR medication is given for break-thru pain, before the next dose of the ER medication is due. With the doses you are currently taking, you don't have a chance to experience any kind of break-thru pain.

    I feel really bad for you, as it appears you are being over-medicated. With chronic pain, it is always best to go with the least amount of ER and IR dosing... as you want to leave room to grow with the mg amounts. You can always increase the amount, if the lesser dosage is not working.

    What kind of spine problems do you have? I looked under the New Member forum, but couldn't find any posts from you. Please feel free to introduce yourself and share a bit of your history under the New Member forum.

    Best wishes to you,

  • I hope you found the link BionicWoman posted, to be helpful. It's a great way to keep track of your pain and it gives your doctor(s) valuable information on how to treat you.

    Please keep us posted with your progress.

    Best wishes to you for less pain,

  • I take 2 100mg morphine extended release every 6 and the 30 mg immediate release for breakthrough pain Usually I take the ir's at the same time as the er's.

    I had a laminectomy / discectomy on L5/S1 back in 2002, at the age of 29 and re herniated the same disc plus the next 2 up during physical therapy. I had a large disc fragment from previous surgery and had to have a dynamic stabilization *hardware / pedicle screws and bone graft on L5/S1 3 years later. No physical therapy afterwards. December 2008 had myelogram and films showed burn spur growing towards thecal sac, 2 herniated discs still as well as being diagnosed with deteriorating / arthritic facet & sacroiliac joints and degenerative disc disease. 3 months ago I asked my PM doctor if I should have a new myelogram with no result. Actually Ive only seen my PM doctor twice in over a year. His nurse does everything then he looks over her recc. and signs scripts. I have recently moved to another state and will be looking for a new PM doctor next month.
  • No offense, but that makes your doctor sound even more like a pill mill. :O

    I would brace yourself for the change in PM docs, because it's highly unlikely that you're going to find a doc that's willing to continue that treatment plan. In fact, I'd expect most docs will send you packing as soon as they see that morphine dosage.

    While it's true that there's no "ceiling" on pure opiates, there is a "ceiling" of sensibility, for lack of a better description. If it takes 1040mg of morphine a day to manage your pain, that's usually a cue that it's time to explore more powerful drugs, as well as more invasive interventions.

    If you've moved far away from your old doctor, I'd recommend starting your search for a new doctor sooner rather than later. Don't base it on when you expect to run out of meds, or you may find yourself facing detox because nobody's willing to take you on.

  • Thanks for posting that link to the pain journal Bionic Woman! I pretty much agree with the entire post above.
    Krissy - I am kind of shocked your doc only sees you twice a year, most PM's I know prefer to see patients every month, usually don't stretch it for more than 3 months. While that dose of morphine does seem high, some people really do metabolize medications twice as fast as other people, some don't absorb the drugs well in the stomach, or just develop an outright tolerance. I think a change in docs is a good idea - if your insurance allows it it might be worthwhile to do a quantitative test of amount of drug absorbed into the bloodstream so they can figure out what is going on. Making either a lateral move or moving up to a "stronger" drug in less quantities probably makes sense. I have to wonder if the DEA isn't watching your doctor.
  • edited 09/21/2013 - 10:58 AM
    30 mg ER, 15 mg twice a day. Was taking six percocet 10/325 and I am on my fourth day. When I called dr office about withdrawls and nausea I was told to stick with it. 15 ml of odium helped nausea and I am taking a stool softener for anticipated constipation. Am wondering if this is Gods way of saying it is time to move on? Any advise is helpful and if I can be supportive.
  • When you are converted from an immediate release medication like Percocet to a long acting medication, a couple of things factor in- your total dosage from the old medication, is taken into account, then usually when a patient is changed to a different type of medication, doctors factor in something called cross tolerance- which basically means that your body will make the adjustment to the new medication but it usually takes less of the new medication than the straight conversion of the old to the new, so the dosage amount is reduced a bit to prevent a patient from getting over medicated from the new medication and to prevent reactions/side effects.
    The other thing is that your doctor changed the medication type- short acting to long acting....this means that while they both are opiates, instead of taking it every 4 hours, now you only need to take it twice a day, and still will have continuous pain relief. This is done for almost every patient if the doctor feels that they will be on pain medications for an extended period of time.....
    As far as some withdrawal feelings- what symptoms are you having? When you are converted to a different medication, there should be little in the way of withdrawal symptoms, and those should be over by now, since the conversion was done 4 days ago. Withdrawal , when it comes to opiates is a short lived process, and really should not occur when you are converted from one med to another....The worst of it is evening of day 2/ first half of day 3 and then improves significantly, with the large majority of symptoms gone by the end of day 4/5......
  • Speaking from personal experience, I would consider having someone responsible help keep tabs on your dosage schedule. I went down that road 10 years ago and administered my own meds. I was in so much pain and the meds took away my mind and judgement and perspective instead of the pain. I OD'd in feb 03 and almost died.
    If you are on that much pain meds and still uncontrolled, you should consider more alternatives, such as new drs and new surgery perhaps.
    Wishing you well and safety in the process.
  • This thread orginated in 2010, and that poster I believe you are referencing is no longer here..........or at least that I can recall seeing since. The new member added to the old thread, which brought it up to the top again.....
    I'm glad that you are okay and didn't suffer from the accidental od......it is far too easy when taking tons of medication to do just that. It's one of the reasons that I always try to convince people that less is more when it comes to using pain medication.
  • Yea being switched from Percocet10/325 every four hours to MS Contin 15 mg every 12 hours is a real adjustment. Slight nausea, overall sick feeling, insomnia, overall increase in pain. Feels like the MS Contin only last about 7-8 hours NOT 12. Anyways these are just some of my unpleasant experiences going from a IR to a ER. Sandi, have you or anyone else have any experience with MS Contin 15 mg X 2?
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 09/22/2013 - 6:12 PM
    is one of the long acting meds that truly does seem to be the 12 hour dosing.....there are one or two others but I do know that some don't seem to really be 12 hours in duration, like Oxycontin. It might be that you aren't at a steady blood plasma level as of yet, since you were just changed over. Most PM doctors like to have a patient give a change in meds at least two weeks to see how you do on the new med before making any change in dosage or frequency. Most patients who have used MSContin seem to like it and seem to do well with the dosing schedules.
  • From MSContin 15 mg ER to 30 mg ER. Fist night slept like a baby but last night I tossed and turned. Made an appointment to see a psychiatrist, psyologist, and case manager and the intake tried to have me commited to the psych ward cause I have insomnia?? Watch what you say to those people. Anyways, I am going to give it a few weeks on 30 mg and see what happens. Thanks to the community for responding.
  • Glad that you got some help from your doctor. Hopefully, the change in dose will give you the pain relief you need. Sometimes, the lack of sleep can come from the meds, some tend to make sleeping difficult so I talked to my PM about shifting my dosing around to earlier in the evening and that made all of the difference.
    We did it by shifting my doses by one hour earlier over several days to change the times to something like 8 am and 8 pm when I was on a 12 hour dosing schedule.
  • MsContin;
    Do not miss a scheduled dose even if you think you don't really need it. This med works best when taken as prescribed. It builds up in your system and within a few days will provide you as much relief as possible. That being said, if it is not working for you then, have Doc up your MG or Frequency. It would help for you to keep a real good record of when you feel more pain and how severe it gets.
    As far as the Surgeon, I might would seek some legal council.
    Scott -N- Florida
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,459
    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • I was started on 15 mg of MS Contin in addition to 10/325 hydrocodone. Went a month with no relief, doc bumped me up to 30 mg, still no relief, in fact, my pain got worse. He said this is common with morphine (making your other med [hydrocodone] ineffective). So he's having me taper off MS Contin, and see what we need to do shortly.
  • rockfish2013rrockfish2013 Posts: 12
    edited 10/23/2015 - 12:03 AM
    Hi scottymac. I think you posted this long ago, so I hope you're doing better now. I'll be switching to MS Contin 15mg this week, after taking Norco (Hydrocodone 10/325) for the past six years or so. I've been dealing with a poop-load of spine problems for years now, and I've read a lot about it, plus I've had two multi-level fusions -- C4-C5-C6 and L3-L4-L5. I currently need another spine surgery but am having a hard time finding a surgeon willing to do as many levels of spinal fusion as I probably need. Based on my experience and research, I can offer some *possible* reasons that your doctor didn't fix your L5-S1 disc bulge during surgery on L4-L5.

    The reason that a neurosurgeon might not notice a problem with other discs or vertebrae during surgery is that most one-level spine surgeries are now done through just a tiny hole -- via minimally invasive surgery. The surgeon cannot see any of your spine except the part he's fixing, which is one of the drawbacks of minimally invasive spine surgery (this drawback is sometimes debated in medical journals). But minimally invasive surgery lets you heal faster, so it has become the preferred method of spine surgery, in cases where it can be used (my multilevel lumbar fusion, fastened together with rods and screws, could not be done with that technique).

    Another explanation is that the L5-S1 disc problem may not have existed at the time of your surgery. It could have occurred AFTER your surgery, since it appears the surgery was done in December and the MRI showing the L5-S1 problem was done months later. In this scenario, the L5-S1 pain could have begun just as the post-op pain was decreasing, which could make you think the surgery didn't help. I've found lumbar surgery to be very painful, and painful for a longer period than doctors seem to realize. Which explains the continued pain after surgery. But even while you're still healing from surgery, other spine problems can develop, especially if you have Degenerative Disc or Joint Disease.

    If your surgery included spinal fusion, it would have actually put more strain on the joints immediately above and below the fusion, making them more prone to disc herniation and other problems. In my case, I had an L3-L4-L5 fusion, which caused post-surgical pain for many months, and just as that pain began to fade, I tore my shoulder rotator cuff and continued to need pain meds. Then, less than two years after the lumbar surgery, the lack of movement in the fused area put so much strain on the vertebrae above and below that my L2 vertebra partially dislocated, slipping off the L3 vertebra (it's called spondylolisthesis). This has compressed all the nerves going to my pelvis and legs, which produces LOTS of *new* pain and other problems. I now need more surgery to fix this problem.

    There are other reasons a surgeon would not have fixed your L5-S1 disc, even if the bulge had happened prior to surgery. For one thing, spine surgeons don't fix every bad disc or other spine problem. Usually they fix only the the problems that compress nerve roots or your spinal cord in such a way that it it causes obvious symptoms in your arms, legs, bladder, or bowels. Every level of my spine except C1 and maybe C2 have a problem -- bone spurs, herniated discs, missing discs, bulging discs, dislocated vertebrae (L1 and L2), etc. -- but so far, my surgeons only fixed C4-C5-C6 and L3-L4-L5 because those problems were very severe. My C-spine problems actually threatened to paralyze me., and my lumbar problems made me unable to walk more than 50 yards or so before having to sit down.

    Lumbar surgery is not generally done for kicks and grins, just for very severe problems and moderately severe problems that don't respond to "conservative" treatment. Since spine surgery such as fusion can actually cause future problems (see earlier paragraph), avoiding surgery is wise, unless it's badly needed.

    There's also a chance that your disc problem isn't considered bad enough to need surgery. A bulging disc is not the same as a herniated disc, which causes pain partly due to the disc contents spilling out of it. The severity of either a bulging disc or a herniated disc depends on whether it compresses nerves or your spinal cord enough to cause pain and problems elsewhere in your body; for instance, lumbar spine problems can cause sciatica pain in your legs and difficulty walking. Problems in the cervical spine (neck) can cause pain and dysfunction in your arms and hands, and if the problems involve your cervical spinal cord, it can cause dysfunction and pain in your arms, legs, and entire body.

    According to medical literature, the severity of a problem that appears on a spinal MRI does not always correspond to a person's pain level. So a surgeon might operate on L4-5 because it looks very bad on the MRI, while your pain could actually originate from L5-S1, which doesn't look very bad on the MRI. Sometimes doctors use pain injections as "nerve blocks" to help determine the true source of your pain, so that surgery will accurately be directed at your worst pain-causing problem.

    Please note -- a bulging or herniated disc that protrudes into the central spinal canal at L5-S1 is perhaps the most common cause of cauda equina syndrome, a rare but very serious spine problem that requires emergency surgery. If you have a CT scan or MRI that shows an L5-S1 disc problem and/or you have also suddenly developed numbness in your pelvic area, bladder or bowel dysfunction (esp. incontinence or the opposite -- inability to urinate), leg weakness, numbness, paralysis, or other typical cauda equina symptoms, you likely need immediate spine surgery or these symptoms will become permanent.
  • Krissy74937 said:
    I am currently taking Morphine ER - extended release, Morphine IR - immediate release and Soma for pain. I take 100 mg of the morphine ER 8 times a day, 30 mg morphine IR 8 times a day and Soma 4 times a day. I do very well on this dosage now. I dont nod off or get floaty feeling. I was told by my friend that her husband who had cancer didnt even take that many mg's a day. Is 1040 mg's a day
    normal ?
    Wow, Krissy, I don't understand how you are still alive. I'm pretty sure the amount of morphine you take could KILL someone like myself. At the very least, you must be causing yourself to be extremely tolerant to pain meds -- not just tolerant to morphine but to others, too, since almost all pain meds come from a similar source and act in a similar way to morphine. If you were to get an additional injury, for instance if you were to break a leg or hip in the future, I don't know whether doctors would be able to control your additional pain. I certainly doubt that any doctor working in an ER or hospital would willingly give you a bigger dose of morphine than you currently take. I cannot even fathom a doctor prescribing an extended release medication that's normally taken at 6-, 8-, or even 12-hour intervals, and tell you to take it 8 times per day and combine it with additional IR drugs, as well.

    If your doctor really gave you such a prescription, the DEA will soon snatch his or her medical license, I think. And that's the sort of thing that makes it so much harder for the rest of us to obtain pain relief in the future -- every time a doctor loses his or her license for writing questionable pain pill prescriptions, several other doctors get frightened and stop prescribing these drugs no matter how much their patients may need them. Even some "pain management" doctors have become hesitant to write pain pill prescriptions -- some of them prefer to give injections, rather than pills, because they don't want to attract the attention of the DEA. Some doctors even give patients more injections per year than are considered safe, in lieu of prescribing pain meds. Also because they fear DEA harassment, there are general practitioners who refuse to take on new patients whose medical problems cause chronic pain. I have personally experienced such things, over the years. When searching for a new primary care giver, I sometimes try to keep my myriad spine problems a secret.

    I don't know the reason you require pain meds. But I suspect there MIGHT NOT be anybody on this forum with as many spine problems as myself, and with the resultant level of pain, yet I take far fewer pain meds than what you and some of the others describe.

    I was switched to MS Contin 15mg (extended release morphine) plus a breakthrough drug (Norco - hydrocodone 10/325) just one week ago, after taking only Norco and various muscle relaxants three to four times daily for the past several years. Soma worked great as a muscle relaxant but I can no longer get it because OTHER PEOPLE abuse it and, as a result, some doctors have apparently lost their licenses for prescribing it. Thus, almost all doctors in this area (Houston and the surrounding communities, which is a huge area) have stopped prescribing Soma. That isn't fair to me or others who greatly benefit from Soma and use it only as prescribed. No other muscle relaxant works as well as Soma, for my problems. In fact, most other muscle relaxants don't reduce my muscle spasms at all, but I can sometimes use them as sleeping pills.

    My problems involve severe DDD and DJD changes at nearly every level of my spine except (possibly) C1 and C2. I have bone spurs, facet joint abnormalities, bulging discs, herniated discs, missing discs, three levels of spinal cord compression in my neck, at least six to eight areas of spinal stenosis (including the spinal cord problems mentioned and at least 18 compressed nerve roots at various levels of my spine), and two levels of spondylolisthesis (dislocated vertebrae), at L1-L2 and also L2-L3, which is the most severely affected -- and most painful -- level of my spine. All this has also resulted in scoliosis and a gradual reduction in my height by three or four inches. My spine problems cause radicular pain and other symptoms in my arms and legs.

    My spine problems also cause reduced ability to fully empty my bladder or tell when it's full; reduced dexterity in my hands; and difficulty walking. I have additional -- and unrelated -- DJD problems and pain in my right shoulder, both knees, and possibly my hips (unless the hip pain is simply caused by my spine problems, but that remains undetermined). I have had two multi-level spinal fusions (C4-5-6) and L3-4-5) and need at least one more spinal fusion of my entire lumbar spine and part of my thoracic spine, but I have not yet found a surgeon who seems willing to tackle such extensive problems.

    Perhaps my worst symptoms are the excruciatingly painful muscle spasms and contortions I get in my hands, legs, and feet. When I was prescribed Soma, these were less frequent and far less severe ... without Soma, these spasms once contorted my feet and toes so severely that it caused a bone to break. These are NOT what you'd call a "Charlie Horse," but something I'd rate as 12 to 16, or higher, on a pain scale of 1 to 10. It makes me think of the torture devices used in castle dungeons during the Dark Ages or the Spanish Inquisition -- I often suspect that many of those torture methods probably caused less pain than my muscle spasms. [Prior to my lumbar fusion surgery for spinal stenosis in 2009, the pain in my low back made me understand how it must have felt to be "drawn and quartered" in that ancient, bygone era -- after walking a few steps or even standing still for more than 15 minutes, my back felt like it was going to rip apart, exploding from the inside out. But that's a different story and the surgery "cured" that problem, for the most part.]

    The muscle spasms I get are so painful and prolonged that they often prevent me from sleeping for as many as three days, during which I do a lot of moaning, groaning, and cursing. When the spasms occur in my legs, I cannot walk, and when they occur in my hands, I cannot use my hands, even to put food in my mouth. But pain that severe causes me to lose my appetite anyway. The pain from these spasms does not respond to Norco or other pain meds, and Soma was the only one of about six muscle relaxants I've taken, that reduced these in number and severity (especially if I also used ice packs), and it often prevented them entirely. But I can no longer find a doctor who prescribes Soma. If I'm very tired, certain other muscle relaxants do sometimes allow me to fall asleep for an hour or two at a time, even while having these muscle spasms.

    Despite all these problems, I have long been reluctant to take any pain medication stronger than or longer lasting than Norco. Granted, I've been in pain 24/7 for many years despite the Norco. And frustratingly, I have been losing the ability to do much more than sit in a chair all day, but I can usually tolerate pain levels as bad as 6 or 7 on a 10-point scale, as long as I don't have my horrible muscle spasms added to the mix. I have never really strived to be completely pain-free; I just wanted to reduce my pain enough to be "functional." But Norco isn't enough, any more, especially when it's not combined with Soma.

    My newest prescription calls for MS Contin 15mg "twice a day," with Norco for breakthrough pain. The MS Contin reduces my pain much better than I would have predicted, even providing short periods in which I feel completely pain-free for the first time in years. I've tried to go 12 hours between MS Contin doses, but this drug seems to begin wearing off in six to eight hours. It works so well for me that it's very noticeable when it begins to wear off. But I started using it only a few days ago, and am not yet sure what the doctor meant by "twice a day" dosing, with Norco for breakthrough pain. I took the MS Contin at six or seven-hour intervals a couple of days ago and developed a lot of miserable side effects, such as extreme nausea. So my body obviously cannot stand to take doses that are that close together.

    My plan is to take as little as possible of each of my pain drugs, such that I'll get pain relief while avoiding harsh side effects. Hopefully, this will also help prevent tolerance to the drugs' effectiveness and will eliminate the risk of addiction (which has not occurred for Norco even after six years of taking it as prescribed). Taking as few as possible also helps me to NEVER run out between prescription refill dates. I have too much pain to go even one day without some form of prescription pain relief.

    One thing I've noticed about MS Contin is that it takes a long time to begin working well -- an hour to 1-1/2 hours, or even as much as two hours. This may be why Krissy has avoided OD'ing on the MS Contin, but I myself would never, ever risk taking so much morphine in a single day. I may have a lot of pain and increasing physical disability, but I'm NOT suicidal.

    Hmmm ... Tonight the MS Contin isn't working very well. Both my neck and back continue to have fairly severe pain, despite having taken the morphine pill at least 1-1/2 hours ago (which means it should be working). Is this what they call "breakthrough pain?" I'm still new at this, but I think I'll take 1/2 a Norco (5 mg) to see if things improve. I hope that doing this does not cause nausea -- my stomach has never liked large doses of any type of pain med. Even after six years on Norco, I cannot take two 10mg Norco at the same time without getting sick. My limit is 1-1/2 Norco pills, and I take that much only on rare, extra-painful occasions.

    At times the MS Contin has made me entirely pain-free for a while, which is something that hasn't happened in years. I think it has already made me "spoiled" -- it makes me want MORE pain free time and makes me more aware of the pain I feel when the drugs wear off or when they're not working as well as before. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or bad. I'm usually able to ignore my pain for long stretches of time, which has been a blessing because my pain has been non-stop, despite the Norco. If I dwelled on having pain, I would constantly be miserable and unhappy.
  • kevsvikskkevsviks Posts: 1
    edited 11/19/2015 - 9:31 AM
    after many years of pain management in trying to manage that pain in my neck I was taking off of Norco tens and changed to morphine and oxycodone. and to be quite honest today is the first day in a long time where I am actually getting relief and a break from the pain. although my pain level is at a 4 I am able to manage it and keep it that low which is something that I have been unable to achieve prior to the change in meds.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,459
    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Coming accross your post was very meaningful and I would like to comment on it. I know what you are going through as I have severe back pain which doesn't let up much and generally now it is about level 7. There are certain times where it can go up to a level 9. 10 of course is the highest and experienced that as well. At level 9, it is a doubling up pain and is very hard to cope with. When I have it at certain times, not am I unalble to function but it effects my mind as well. Before I went to stronger pain meds, I was on Hydro codone (Vicodin) 5/350mg for over 18 years. It was finally increased to 10mg. Truthfully, I must say that it really didn't work really well but it managed to reduce the pain level to at least 6 or 7. That is still a lot of pain. I went to doctor after doctor, all specialists such as anethisiologist (mispelling)). Sometimes hard to spell medical terms. :) Neurologists, Rheumetologists, and some others. I have repeatedly had MRI's, CAT scans with and without contrast and other x-rays as well. All proved that I had degenerative disks, cervical and lumbar. I finally had 2 lumbar and neck fusion. My diagnosis was spinal stenosis, peripheral neuropathy, and degenerative nerve disease. Let me get back to most recent times like from a year ago to present. I had a pain doctor put me on Duragisic patches, Neurontin, Oxycodone, (Percocet) , Dilaudid and Oxycontin. Now I was taking Morphine Sulfate. I said was as both my pain doctor and general practioner recommended that I need to start tapering off so I can start medical marijuana. I tried to taper off but after so many years being on pain meds, I started to get withdrawal symptems. I had to go back on Percocent at least for now. I was prescribed a low dose heart medication which helps with the withdrawl. So there it is. No one should be in severe pain constantly.
  • PlumbTuckeredOutPlumbTuckeredOut Philadelphia, PAPosts: 325
    I had been on MS-Contin 15mg 2x a day for about a year but pain was returning and I was finding it impossible to sleep again. I was no longer experiencing side effects other than respiratory depression which the body never habituates to. I tried a month of oxy-condone 15mg and had no relief and so we upped the MS-Contin to 30mg 2x a day and I take Oxycodone 5/325 for break through pain. I stopped taking Lyrica 100 mg 2x a day because I was so tired and I gained 40 lbs! (ARGH!!!!!)

    I do miss the Lyrica! I didn't think it did much but it was catching some of what I call the background roar of pain. A neighbor saw me yesterday get on a bus with a disabled pass. She decided she needed to know and I told her why I'm disabled. She said oh so quietly, "But you're not on those hard pain killers right?" I told her that the only reason I was able to even get on a bus was because of those meds. She was reacting like I was heading for my own funeral! And I started to tell her about how much I can enjoy life now that pain is cut in half!

    And tonight, a Friday night I'm sitting by my essential oil aromafier! I am so hooked on the relaxation I get from different scents! And I've started taking care of ALL of me. I work hard, well as hard as I'm allowed and then I am learning to relax- to take great joy in doing nothing! I can separate from the pain when I'm engaged in my artwork, when I'm giggling with friends, when I'm watching kittens on Facebook!

    I'll be disabled and on narcotics for the rest of my life but it's a life worth living with the help of the meds, the distractions, the opportunity to do things I like, and the fact that chocolate and coffee continue to exist.
    Treat yourself daily. You may feel that nothing will help the pain but remember to treat the entire body and you will find relief.

    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by...... (Robert Frost)
    I still don't know if I should have taken the one that said, "Caution! Dead End" (Me)
  • Hi everyone. I have a huge favor to ask. I am a chronic pain patient and I have suffered from arachnoiditis for 26 yrs and I took ms contin 100mg for many yrs 6x's/day. This caused extreme dry mouth which caused terrible dental decay thus causing me to need tooth extractions, root canals, bridges, and dental implants. I need to see if anyone else in this community has suffered from this as well as me and you would be willing to tell me your story. Another thing is if you know of any research article or any article on dry mouth from ms contin causing dental decay. I need this information to back up my case in order for my insurance company to pay my bills. I thank you ahead of time for any and all information you can give me!!!!!
Sign In or Register to comment.