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New to forum and need some advice on meds

Leamomof3LLeamomof3 Posts: 22
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Pain Medications
Hi to everyone,

I am extremely frustrated and I don't know what to do anymore. I had the AxiaLIF fusion on OCt. 29, 2009. WOW, was that a mistake. I am in worse pain now than I was before surgery. I now have horrible pain in my lower back,pelvis, hip & right leg.
I am taking Tramadol 50mg's 3x a day. This is not cutting it for me. I can't seem to make my Pain Dr. understand that it's not enough. Then, they make me feel like I'm a pill popper because I'm still in pain and asking for something stronger. I got that surgery to NOT have to take pills anymore, do they NOT understand this? I am miserable every single day.
They suggested that the hardware needs to be taken out. Well that's just great!? I can't take off anymore work, financially it would ruin me, and quite honestly the recovery is not something I care to go through again. I'm a Mom with 3 children, I was very physically active before all this back crap started and I don't see why I should have to live this way for the rest of my life.
What do I do? Do I go to a different pain Dr. ? Is that possible? Mine said he doesn't want me on hydrocodone or anything else like that because this is going to be a long term, chronic pain management. Well, YIPPIE. So, when is my pain going to be managed then???

I'm sorry for being such a downer. I just need/want someone to understand what I'm going through. I want someone to listen and HELP me be able to live my life the way it should be lived. Everything I plan to do revolves around my back pain. "No I'm sorry, I can't go to the ball game because sitting on bleachers OR sitting in general hurts me". It's ridiculous and I'm sick of it.

I realize my fate from my failed surgery. I was told I'll never be 100% again. Fine. I try so hard to keep my positive attitude. I lie to everyone when they ask me how I'm feeling because who wants to listen to someones problems all the time? Heck, I'm even sick of my problem!! It consumes my everyday life.

Please, does any one have ANY suggestions at all? Any would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for listening to my rant.


  • There are many options for managing chronic pain other than tramadol. Certainly, if a doctor is not meeting your expectations, you can always get a second opinion.

    That said, indeed, from here on out part of managing this is going to be your job as well. Managing pain partly means bringing it into your conscious mind and learning how to deal with it the same way you deal with the other problems in your life. Because the probability is that it's here to stay.

    You might want to start with the articles here on spine-health regarding back surgeries, and this article on failed back surgeries:


    to see where to go from here.
  • Thank you for the reply and VERY good article!

    You are right, I know that it's here to stay. As I stated above, I do my best to keep a positive attitude everyday. I could be much worse off than what I am, that's for sure. I do YOGA, I still do my stetching that was taught to me in therapy, I walk every night with my dog. I do as much as I'm able to do without traumatizing more than it already is. Exercise is always good, and it's good for me emotionally and mentally. Of course, I can't do the work outs I use to do. A little is better than nothing.

    I called a pain clinic and they are going to try and get me in, but it will be several weeks. I'm ok with that as long as someone might possibly help me enough to be comfortable.

    Thanks again for your reply. I hope you have a great weekend.

  • First let me say welcome to spine-health. Have a look around many that are here going through what you are going through. With that being said when they offered to take out the hardware did they do any testing to test wether the hardware is still the issue? One thing about hardware removal is the recovery is nowhere near as long as when they put it in. Also when looking at medications have they tried any meds for nerve pain? One thing that may help your doctor is to journal the pain so they can get a idea of what the triggers are. Include things that make it worse or make it better. Good luck with the new pain management doctor. Once again welcome to spine-health. Take care.
  • I just wanted to say hi and welcome to Spine Health!

    It can be frustrating coming to terms with a poor surgical outcome, but I think something that could be important that tamtam hit on is that instead of just throwing pills at you it would be good if they could figure out *why* you are having so much pain. Is it hardware related? Is there nerve damage? Hopefully your new doctor will be able to take a fresh approach and give you some answers. I think for me, in terms of coming to a point of acceptance and being able to move forward, it was tremendously helpful to have a doctor diagnose exactly what is causing my pain.

    There are ways to manage "unfixable" chronic pain, and pain medications are just one tool in an array of things doctors can do to help. Knowing exactly what is going on is important, though, and it does sound reasonable to rule out the hardware before assuming this is a long-term problem. Were you offered a hardware block? It does sound reasonable that if the hardware is causing problems then you would proceed to have it taken out, rather than doing pain management for a hardware issue....You might check out the surgical forums and read posts from people that have had their hardware removed to give you a better idea of what the surgery and recovery are like.

    Good luck with the new doctor. Hopefully he can give you some guidance as to how to proceed to start managing the pain.
  • Thank you both so much for the welcome :)

    You know, I live in a very secluded town. I've tried hard to get the answers I need and nobody seems to want to do anything about it. My PM Dr. (the new one) got mad at me and walked out of the room when I told him there was no way I could come to his office (35 minutes each way) 3x a week for intense physical therapy. While I would love to, I would lose my job! Yes, he literally walked out of the room all mad at me. I thought when we discussed it he was going to give me exercises to do at home. I do exercises already every evening and a few in the morning but I was ready to try and get some more stretching in. UGH!

    I go again this Friday to PM. My chiro took pictures and said I've not fused at all?
  • Physical therapy is about a lot more than exercises, though. Isn't there any way you can fit it in?

    I understand that your job is important, but your health is more important!
  • It would be great if there would be a way for you to go to therapy, but I think that your PM should be thinking of your job as well. My PM does. It's a part of your life. You're trying to function and working hard, and you should be respected for doing that while in pain.

    For me, my career is a huge part of my life. I go to physical therapy after work. I wouldn't be working without it. But, if I had to go during work (and quit my job because of it), I would not do it. I feel called to do what I do and it is an important part of my life. I would feel as though my doctor were minimizing it if s/he acted so dismissive.

    I spend a few hours a night in therapy. It's a huge time commitment and it is very exhausting, but I know that it helps me, so I do it. Maybe you can talk to your doctor about finding a therapist that has hours in the evening. He could keep in contact with the therapist and tell the therapist exactly what you need.

    I'm sorry that you feel like your PM is not treating you properly. I would be upset too, but I would also talk to him about other options. Hopefully you can compromise.

  • I guess I am spoiled. Living in Orange County, California we have plenty of very good pain management doctors. Sorry, for your situation but hammer down and look for a another PM doc. But as others posted seek out alternative skills for dealing with your pain.

    That aside to me your doctors attitude toward meds is a indication of his contempt and overall approach to complete treatment of dealing with cronic pain issues.

    Best of luck
  • also.... I was sent to a physical therapy place and the first thing they wanted me to do was to put me on a machine that measured my neck strength. I told them that if I did that it would put me in a flare up up to a 9-10 on the scale. As much as I hate to use that scale cause it is so arbitrary and different to everybody.

    They gave me a song and dance about how they need a baseline of my results. I told them I could tell them how its going but they did not like it....... I refused and walked out.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    HappyBMom was very correct when she made these two comments:

    1- There is a lot more to Physical Therapy than just exercise.

    2- Even though right now, time out of work can be a financial burden, the potential outcome of not taking care of the medical situation now could lead to a much more serious condition that may have a larger financial impact. Sort of like, Pay Now or Pay Later.

    Many Physical Therapy facilities have after work hours. Do any in your area have those? I can not stress how important it is to get some of the initial physical therapy done. That is part of ensuring a successful recovery.

    Some of those tools used by Therapists to measure range of motion and strength are key. They need to establish a base line, so that as you progress in physical therapy they can measure your improvement.

    Many insurance requirements state that the patient can continue with therapy until there is a point where there is no progress, no improvement.

    Without having something to measure this by, it becomes difficult for a therapist to make a educated decision. The therapist is working off a script written by your doctor. Now unless the therapist does not know what they are doing, putting you through a measuring device will not cause additional problems
    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
  • Im sorry to hear about ur failed surgery and all the stress that goes with it. I myself can not take Tramadol it makes me aggressive, nervous, sick, and even gives me hallucinations. It to me is an awful drug to take. Although for some it maybe helpful. Doctors also can make u feel even more hopeless then u did before!! I think research and putting yourself first counts the most as this is affecting your life. Im going to fight the Doctors for accupuncture, masssage, and pain management as the amount of drugs I am switch of my personality. I cant remeber the last time I felt like myself. Do whatever u can to be heard no on else can walk in your shoes so u need to be direct and yourself frst as if u dont the pain/depression/stress will just get worst xxxxx
  • You know, now that you mention a few of the things Tramadol does to you, it actually makes sense that possibly it's making me feel that way also. I do feel nervous a lot, and I'm extremely jumpy.. lol

    I can tell you the Dr.'s I've been to kind of HAVE made me feel hopeless. My general Dr. will have nothing to do with anything that concerns my back. In a sense, he makes me feel like it's all in my head. (So yea, that's why they did surgery..DUH!) Anyway, it's all quite frustrating, but there has got to be SOMETHING in my future for hope. I'll never lose hope and it's nice to have found this forum to speak with others like myself who do understand the frustrations. Sometimes it makes you feel better just being able to vent knowing that others can relate.. lol

    I do all of the above that you speak of for dealing with pain. The massage I have to pay for myself and it isn't cheap!! Wish I could do it everyday, or at least 1x a week, but I can't afford that. I also do PT every evening at home and for 15 minutes in the morning. (Yoga) Man am I ever sore in the evenings afterward. At least then I'm able to lay down and take it easy. I only do a few in the mornings because I can't afford to be sore and go to work all day. Plus, I do my mantras with my YOGA and it's a good way to start the day.

    I also take Paxil. I was starting to get very very anxious and have panic/anxiety attacks. I think a lot of that had to do with not getting hardly any sleep. And also being in what seems some days as such a hopeless situation. As far as the panic/anxiety goes, I'm much better and thank goodness for Paxil. It really has made a difference.

    I hope you find a comfort zone soon. And continue your good fight! We can only hope this too shall pass one day and keep on keeping on!! Hugs to you and thanks for your support. I wish you a good day :)

  • I do have to say in my youth ashamedly I did occasionally use cocaine and I can tell u that tramadol has nothing on it!! You feel hyper and doped up all at once and you this massive come down generally when your tryin go to sleep. Like your brain is buzzing but your body is exhausted. It is classed as a narcotic and even has street value. i wont touch the stuff and think its pretty nasty. No offence to anyone out there who uses it sucessfully. Im glad u get a chance to do things like massage and yoga. I think most of it is not giving up on yourself we are all having tough time and some days worse then others but u can always send me private message if you want to cry swear laugh or just general chat xxxxx
  • I WISH I had some place to go after hours. And I've even tried to get in BEFORE work which would be very early, but I don't mind. I'm up before the sun anyway.

    I live in a very small town with a major city being 35 minutes away. The first PT I went to right after my surgery did not have evening hours. That's why we opted for me to do all the exercises at home and follow them to a T, which I've done and am still doing. Along with the YOGA and positive affirmations/mantras. I've always been into Yoga and positivity. I even formed a group on Daily Strength in regards to choosing a positive attitude everyday. I feel that's up to each & every one of us and we should never let others alter what our mood is going to be for the day. We choose our own happiness. There are always going ot be bumps in the road (like where many of us are right now)but it's how we choose to drive that road. For me, I choose to continue working and try to live my life the best I know how with the situation I'm in. I'm obviously frustrated and it took me a lot to come on here and start venting & being negative. It's not the way I want to be not that nobody does. Sometimes we need a shoulder/someone who understands. I do not have that in my offline life, and was glad to find this forum! What a relief to be able to get some of this off my chest.. lol

    I realize I'm looking at the longevity of things. Believe me, I'd much rather be able to not work, get all the therapy I can INHOUSE and still be able to financially support myself and 3 children. I think it would be different if I were laying around expecting to be better but not choosing anything TO get better. That's not the case and it never has been. From the beginning, even before this procedure I was doing anything I could to avoid this. PT, massage, injections, epidurals (in which they hit a pocket in my spine and I had spinal fluid dripping on my brain..good times!) pain meds, chiropractic, accupuncture, TENS Unit (which I still use). After awhile, I think some of it even possibly made it worse but who knows?

    WHat are the answers? I don't think there are any really. Just venting and doing my best to live with this and try to be a good Mom.

    Thanks for your advice Ron and wishing you a good day today :)
  • Hahah, I live in a town in Illinois with a population of 6,000. Wish I had all the options you have there, I might be a happier =P

    When I first started going to PT, they had me do this bike pedaling. After the 2nd time I was bad for days. They quit having me do that. It just wasn't the strengthing exersise that worked for me I guess.

    Thanks for stopping by and giving your support and advice. I appreciate it!

    Wishing you a good day :)
  • lol @ swear! I may just take you up on that!

    I've not found the Tramadol to be helping other than for about an hour or so. I can tell when it kicks in, but it's very short lived. I think I've become so tolerant from being on meds for so long. The amounts that use to help me, don't any longer and they have to up my dose which they don't like to do, of course. Heck, I don't even want to take pills. I've always been a person that after previous surgeries, I would take them the first day and not take anymore. Just toughed it out.

    I will have to say this is THE toughest surgery I've had by far. Doesn't help that it's turned out to be a rotten outcome. I've even had a hyst at the age of 34 and that hasn't even touched this. Not even close. Went through menopause and all... lol However, that surgery was one of the best decisions I ever made and it saved my life.

    Yea I was told Tramadol works like a narcotic, but isn't one. Weird stuff! I know the one time I didn't get my refill picked up and holy crap did I feel awful. Stopping my others that I had been on previously I didn't have any withdrawl issues but then again it was gradual. YIKES! I've never let myself run out like that again.

    I've not had success with it so maybe it's time they take me off of it. If it's not working, I'd rather not be taking it.

  • Sorry I missed your post! Thank you for the welcome :):)
  • Sounds like you've been through hell and back. At the moment Im on Valium(makes me feel numb emotionally) Mefenamic Acid and Paracetomol. They will be doing an Eopidural Injection soon nto L4 and L5. Im hoping that I can do pain managemant rather then opt for surgery as it seems that often it can only worsen the problem or cause more pain. Back pain is so tiring as well as everything you do domething simple like picking up the post...hurts. You hurt all day and sometimes I think u just get so frustrated and tired. But as we keep saying we will not be beaten. I remember last week my consultant said how are u? I said not very good and she said in sarcastic voice looking at my MRI said 'well u wont be will u?'....I wont tell u what I wanted to do with her. I know science has come along way but issues with the spine and nervous systems are so complex they are only really at early atages of understanding. They really can only TRY and patch you up. Like a mechanic!! One thing that helps me is though each day I am in pain some days worst then others...when I look back I dont remember the pain just the other memories so Im sure thats a sign we can cope.
  • That's how I feel, too Flower about working. I MUST work, I know my health is very important. I have my children that depend on their Mom. I got this surgery so I could feel better not only for myself but for them. I didn't get this to feel worse, nobody does. I guess it's just the chance we take. They've also been hit hard by this, it's not just about me. I have to continue to try to live my life and to get the help that I not only need BUT in my opinion deserve as a human being.

    My job is very important to me also and I love what I do. I feel needed here and it keeps me from wallowing in pity like I was before I came back to work.

    You're so lucky to be able to get somewhere after hours. I was going in the dead of winter to my PT appt.'s after surgery (midwest winter...BLAH) and there were many times I didn't want to get all bundled up, go out in the freezing temps (seemed to make the pain worse), get into that cold car and go do something that hurt like he.ll, but I did.. lol You've committed to PT and your job and I commend you for that!

    My feeling is as long as I'm doing my exercises, continuing to work and doing my best eventually something good is bound to happen, right?? Are you getting relief from your PT?? Do you notice changes from week to week?

    I noticed within a few weeks I was able to stretch a bit more. Still hurt, but I had loosened up a bit. So, I did and have noticed that it's gotten me "better" than where I was before. I wasn't able to walk without screaming out. But here I am working everyday now. I firmly believe in PT but for some of us, it's not enough to get us well.
  • It sure is tiring. I think all will agree to that! That's another thing my ex use to harp on me about. "You're always tired or wanting to lay down" GEE?! Ya think?! And before & after my surgery he had the nerve to call me lazy. Sure! LOL.. throughout these years I've been struggling with back issues I have kept working then I go home, cook, laundry, clean(I don't lift anything) take the dogs for a walk.. And by the time it's all said & done, I usually make myself stop by 7 to unwind and do my PT. Can't believe I stayed with that jerk for 7 years. BAH!

    I hope the injection helps you! Lots of people do have good luck with those. Try to stay in the positive about that. This may be what you need to get some relief.

    That consultant wouldn't have said that had she any clue about your pain. Should have gave her swift kick in the arse and told her that's a smidge of pain compared to what you have.. lol ..j/k!

    You are right about looking back and wondering how you got through the bad days on your good days. What most people take for granted everyday we long to be able to do. I try not to dwell on it, but I sure do miss horsing around with my kids and my dogs. If I could get those days back, I'd be content even if that's the only thing I was able to do because it brings me laughter.

    Mefenamic Acid and Paracetomol << what are those exactly?

  • I'm from the UK so meds are probably have different names. Ur ex sure sounds like a loser...to have a woman in a lot pain working and bringing up 3 kids is a woman to hold on too. At least she can emphatise when his chips are down...oh well Karma eh?! When you talk about your previous life I guess it must be like grieving or mourning for something you'll may never get back. Let them tears come feel angry get sad but then pick yourself up again and give urself some credit for what you have and are achieving. Okay will be geeky and write out description Mefenamic Acid 500mg - contains mefanamic Acid which is a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) Paracetomol is the run of the mill pain killer u get from supermarkets etc but I have higher doses thst u cant buy. Are you not on an anti inflammatory drugs? As that can work directly where the inflammation in ur back is. Tramadol just works on your brain not the part of ur body thats injured. Valium is a muscle relaxant so when you get to the point where u look stupid walking it takes spasm out of back. Bless u honey your doing an amazing job and I bet your kids are well cared for and very happy xxxxxxxxxxxx
  • I'm from the UK so meds are probably have different names. Ur ex sure sounds like a loser...to have a woman in a lot pain working and bringing up 3 kids is a woman to hold on too. At least she can emphatise when his chips are down...oh well Karma eh?! When you talk about your previous life I guess it must be like grieving or mourning for something you'll may never get back. Let them tears come feel angry get sad but then pick yourself up again and give urself some credit for what you have and are achieving. Okay will be geeky and write out description Mefenamic Acid 500mg - contains mefanamic Acid which is a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) Paracetomol is the run of the mill pain killer u get from supermarkets etc but I have higher doses thst u cant buy. Are you not on an anti inflammatory drugs? As that can work directly where the inflammation in ur back is. Tramadol just works on your brain not the part of ur body thats injured. Valium is a muscle relaxant so when you get to the point where u look stupid walking it takes spasm out of back. Bless u honey your doing an amazing job and I bet your kids are well cared for and very happy xxxxxxxxxxxx
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