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Trouble getting meds?

JuvaPJJuvaP Posts: 52
Hi Everybody,
I'm new here & I'm sure that this problem has been addressed before, but as I'm still learning my way around, I decided to post.
I have a bulging disc @ L5-S1 & have been in excruciating pain for months, steadily getting worse. My first Dr wouldn't give me anything but anti-inflamatories. I lot many, many nights of sleep. I finally found a somewhat understanding Dr who prescribed 7.5mg Lortab 6 times a day & muscle relaxers, helped minimally. Dr sent me for spinal injections. They refused to give me the third in the series, because my condition was deteriorating. I have an appointment with a surgeon on 9-20.
Last week the Dr upped my lortab to 10mg, which really isn't helping. I've had to take a leave from work. I've been reading lots of posts on here & it seems that most everybody is on much stronger meds & more than one kind.
I'm fraid of looking like a drug seeker if I keep bugging my doc to increase my meds.
Will the surgeon adjust my meds if he thinks it's necessary, or will I be left at the mercy of my PCP?
Nice to "meet" everybody :)


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842

    For a Spine-Health Site introduction, Click on :

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    lease feel free to contact me at rdilauro@gmail.com or send me a message

    You are always better off when your doctor determines what medications you should be taking. Thorough doctors through tests and physical analysis can pretty much determine what medication is needed to address what pain.

    Many times there is a trial and error period where different medications, dosages, etc may be used to come up with the correct mix.

    Which doctor should do that? PCP or Surgeon? So much depends on the actual doctor. My PCP generally prescribes mild pain medications, while the surgeon can provide strong medications but only for a period of time.
    Total pain control is best handled with a pain management doctor or physiatrist.
    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
  • Juva, has your doctor discussed other methods of pain relief? Medication-wise, there are the nerve medications such as neurontin, lyrica, etc. and medications like Cymbalta that also reduce pain levels.

    I am also surprised that you are not in physical therapy. I would think that your doctor would have put you in physical therapy first thing. A good physical therapist can really help deal with pain.

    Also, do you have a TENS unit?

    p.s. In my area, surgeons almost never prescribe medications until after surgery. Medications are prescribed by pain management doctors for chronic cases. In any case, you might want to ask the surgeon whether the high level of medications you are taking now will make it more difficult to get pain relief after surgery.
  • Hi Ron & Happy,
    Thank You for responding. Ron, I will edfinitaly check out those threads, I only found this site late lastnite, si I'm still muddling my way around. I'm hoping that everybody will be patient with me. The nearest pain management doc is 2 hours away, I think that's where I went for the injections, they of course were administered by an anesthesiologist.
    Happy, I found some very low impact excercises online that are supposed to be good for sciatica. I've taken this upon myself because I know that I need to strengthen my core. My PCP hasn't at all recommended PT. When I asked about a chiro, he was very much agaisnt the idea.
    I'm just sort of hanging in there until I can see the surgeon. I live in a one doctor town & medical care can be kind of hit or miss.
    Thanks again, Juva
  • Most of the time you have to go to a pain management most doctors will not give anything to strong only
    pain management Doctor will
  • PT is not really just about exercises, though- what they do for pain control is a lot, lot more! It might be something to ask your specialist about. Hopefully your surgeon will not send you to surgery until you have exhausted all of the conservative measures, which include physical therapy.

  • I'm willing to do just about anything at this point that may help with this pain. I just seriously, seriously need some relief in the meantime. I'm not able to do much of anything anymore & the lortab isn't touching it. The muscle relaxers help me to go to sleep, which seems to be my only escape, however brief. My condition is deteriorating very quickly. I know that I'm not alone in this & while I'm thankful to have found this forum, it saddens me that there is obviously such a need for it.
  • I would definitely try to find a doctor to manage your pain, as Ron suggested. A GP may mean well, but clearly the Lortabs are not working, you probably need someone trained in pain medicine. Also, have you tried an epidural injection? Those can offer a great bit of relief for bulging disks if the doctor thinks you are a candidate.

    The point is, it really isn't about more narcotics (and they aren't really working anyway). It's about other methods that WILL work for you. Narcotics might end up being a major part of the strategy after you've been in it for a couple of years, but at the early stages you should still be working the pain from several angles.

  • Hi happy,
    Yes, I was to have a series of 3 spinal injections, they administered the first 2 & refused to give me the 3rd, because they weren't doing any good & I was getting worse. I think they were a little worried about the disc degeneration also.
    I'm thinking that I need another MRI, because things have gone straight downhill quickly in the last couple of months.
    I will call my PCP on monday to see if he can refer me to a pain specialist, or maybe the surgeon will refer me to one?
    Thank You so much for your help, Juva
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