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pain medications aren't working

TommyDTTommyD Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Pain Medications
Has anyone else had problems with pain meds not helping enough with the pain? My doctor has me on lortab 10 and percocet 10 for breakthrough pain and none of them take away enough pain for me to get a good nights sleep. I think the longest i have slept in the last 2 years is one hour at a time. Then i have to toss and turn for an hour or so to get comfy enough to sleep for another 20 minutes to an hour. any suggestions on what might help? Im supposed to be getting a surgical consult soon i hope. Maybe surgery will help.


  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    evaluation and diagnosis by a spine specialist - trained orthopedic or neurosurgeron as of yet?

    I hear meds ... I here insomnia .... I hear pain .... but no mention in this post as to what your actual diagnoses or conditions are. Usually diagnosis comes long before potential treatments and/or surgical options - consults.

    It may be of benefit to share your diagnoses with us?

    Maybe not. People seem to be building their own opinions lately on what and how you should be treated. Curious.

    Regards and hopes for resolution,

    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • Tommy,

    Dave is dead on. Pain medications come in all flavors! Muscle, joint, nerve etc. pain = different approaches to medical help.

    Have you described these issues to your doctor? Maybe if you relay (as you did to us) what this pain is affecting, and what kind of pain you will be given something that helps? Please let us know more of what all is going on if you wish. Good luck, and too Welcome to Spine Health!!!

    Ps... There is a search box on the top of the web page. You might find additional answers as many on here has experienced bunches to say the least!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • i am sorry you have sleep problems.. you have certainly come to a place where lots of us don't sleep well. i find that i get by with naps and getting my sleep that way.. a night of sleep for more than a few hours is very rare for me as well so i rest through the night and get better sleep with a good nap in the daytime... stop by anytime.. there is usually always someone up!! Jenny :)
  • You are taking two short acting pain medications? That is rather strange, and might be contributing to why you aren't sleeping well. In most pain treatment programs, you don't see two short acting pain medications prescribed at the same time, rather you see a long acting and a short acting for managing breakthrough pain.
    If you are having consistant problems sleeping, you might want to try some melatonin. You can find it in the vitamin section of any store, or L-tryptophan, and they can both be used together as well if one doesn't work well enough for you.
    My son has chronic insomnia and so do I and melatonin works well for both of us, allowing us to sleep longer and more soundly.
  • Hi. I have a damaged sciatic nerve which was punctured in 1994, leaving me in severe pain for life. In January of this year, 2010, I had surgery on my C5 vertabrae in my neck because I fell in January of 2009 and snapped my neck in the process. Throughout year 2009, I slowly got tingles in my hands and arms, numbness in hands and arms and then it all spread to my right leg. My family doctor kept telling me nothing was wrong with me while I continued to get worse, lost all feeling in my hands and arms and had to literally drag my right leg whenever I was able to get up without falling down. It took my pain management doctor to send my upstate and I was placed in hospital asap and scheduled for immediate surgery because the damage to my C5 vertabra had flattened my spinal cord and if I made one wrong move I would have been paralyzed from the neck down for life!
    It is now August 2010 and I am healed but now I have severe pain in my head, neck, shoulder, back and at times my upper chest. This is in addition to my constant and unrelenting sciatic nerve pain which I have had since '94. I take MS contin, fast
    release tabs, 100mgs 4x a day, 30mgs of slow release tabs 4x a day, 150mg of Effexor 2x daily, 2 somo tabs, 350mgs, twice daily, 1mg xanax 4x daily and I also have to take promethazine for nausea 3x daily and 30mgs of prevacid 2x a day. Do I get relief? NO, sorry to say, but I do not! For one thing, there is no pain medication available that can relieve nerve pain except for marijuana and we certainly don't want people to get any relief by keeping that illegal in most states now do we? Another reason I don't get relief is because I have been on the same dosages of meds for 16 years now with no change. If anything, I take the meds in order to stay out of withdrawal which can honestly be even more debilitating than the pain at times. And as for sleep, I haven't slept regularly for the past 16 years, either. It hurts to sit on my left buttock because that is where I was punctured in my sciatic nerve and the pain goes straight down my left leg and into my foot non-stop. I literally exhaust myself my staying awake for 3 days and nights and then I pass out for a few hours on the fourth day. But, not for very long because the pain is always right there pulsing, burning and throbbing in my butt and leg and now a constant ache along with throbbing and numbness in my head, shoulder and arm.
    This is what I go through. You may do much better, especially if you are not experiencing nerve pain. As for the C5 fusion, I have come to understand that most of this pain after the surgery is due to the metal plate that is put in place to help the bone graft to take. If you keep experiencing this pain, the surgeon can remove the metal plate once your neck and spine are healed.
    Good luck to you and I pray you have a pain free future!
  • Like others have asked what is your diagnosis?? Your on shorter acting meds so it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor about longer acting ones. I was on shorter acting then changed to longer and that has made a huge difference. If you are in a situation where you have chronic pain it might be worth while to consider talking to a pain management doctor. I'd had never delt with one until recently but that was a wonderful decision. It's nice to have a doc that really understands pain meds. Of course this is all just my opinion and based on my experiences. Hope things start going better for you soon!!
  • pain meds don't get rid of pain. you will still have pain with them. it will help you manage the pain. there is no pain meds that get rid of pain 100%. you will always have pain with pain meds. try long lasting percocet, ie oxycontin, which is a problem for a lot of drs due to bad publicity. it's worth asking a pain dr and get one if you don't have one.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Terror is right, no pain medication will completely get rid of all of the pain that we experience. The goal of proper pain management is to reduce the pain levels ( whether chronic nerve or mechanical pain) to a level that allows us to perform some of the activities of daily living ( increase and/or maintain our activity levels). Some might need strictly pain medications for mechanical pain, some for just nerve pain and most of us need some combination of both types of medications in order to keep our pain to a reasonable level.
    It takes time to find the right combination of medications, in the right dosages so that we aren't overly sedated or experience too much brain fog, or have our respirations decreased too much.
    If the original poster is still around , I suggested melatonin or l-tryptophan or a combination of both to help and I would definately discuss with your doctor trying a long acting pain medication in place of one of the short acting meds that you are currently taking.
    Best wishes
  • Hi All, I just posted on the SCS forum abt the Surgeon and the Drugs. I guess I should have posted in the pain mgmt section. But anyway, I've had a SCS implanted 7/13. I saw him last week and told him that I had pain that only the OXY 20mg took care of (this is when he told me that) He was basiclly finished with me unless it had to do with my surgery. I just want to know who do I tell that I need more, taking Perc's 5/325 now, and it just doesn't to the root of the pain like th OXY20mg does. I had to turn the Stim up a little (in fact it was an uncomfortable stimulation)and also took an additional PERS 5/325 to get to sleep. I preferred the SIimulator because I wanted to get off all these med that i am taking. Please inform me is it the PM or PCP because that all that is bothering me abt this SCS.
  • make sure that you get as many opinions as possible .the best chance of getting a good result is to go to someone that's keep getting good results .back pain is notorious hard to treat .i know as i have been fighting it for the last 15 years .and i have had 2 operations {and may require a third} as many have said pain killers wont take all the pain way but a combination of a long acting and something for brake through is normally the best combination .just be careful that you don't take too many at first then you will have no where to go should the pain get worse ,you sound like you need a comprehensive examination of you back problem from this hopefully a diagnosis can be made good luck
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