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Family doesn't want me to take meds - can't get relief!

christiecchristie Posts: 28
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi. Frequent lurker, infrequent poster here. I have been dealing with pain in my lumbar region for 5 years now (ddd, spurs, herniation and osteo-arthritis). Have tried everything (except surgery - dr. says i am not a candidate). Had been on fentanyl patches until june when my family decided i was addicted and sent me to rehab (i went along to save my relationships). i knew i would have to detox from the patches but had been waiting for the dr's to "fix" my back first.

Now i know there is no solution to my pain and I don't want to go back on round-the-clock meds (don't want to return to that "zombie-like" state. I would like to be able to take something when the pain flairs up BUT my husband and family are adamantly against any form of opiod meds. I understand they don't want me to be like I was before but instead I have to suffer?

This stinks! Has anyone else been in a situation like this? I'm even starting a pain clinic and both the md and phd therapist think my husband should compromise.

Help! I'm in pain and frustrated!

PS - My father thinks surgery is the answer (even though no doc has recommended it and i've seen tons). besides, does he think i wouldn't take opiods after back surgery?!



  • I think you need to take your husband with you to the pain management doctor. Let them explain what and why you need something. One way to compromise might be to let your husband hold your meds. That way he controls what you are taking. It's so easy to "just take a little more" and then before you knw it you are sneaking them and abusing them.

    Pain management is just what it says. Managing the levels of pain, not letting it manage you. Hope you can find a solution.
  • I was pretty much going to echo what Kris just said. Bring him to your doctors appointment. This way an unbiased expert with no ownership in your relationship can give straight answers. Your husband, if he then agrees to what he is told, can translate that to the rest of the family as a buffer. I hope you find resolution and some sort of pain relief.

    Believe it or not, surgery isn't always the answer. Until my last fusion started having all its varied issues, I thought differently to be honest. Now I am not super "gun-ho" on slice and dice and fuse anymore. I have more coming, but more cautious now. :) Please let us know how it goes. Support *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thanks Brenda and Kris. One thing I forgot to add: after seeing the therapist for the first time and explaining all this to him, he suggested I see the chem dependency md for an evaluation. my husband and i went and in her opinion, she did not think i was addicted/an addict.

    i have invited my husband to any appt he wants to go to but he's always so busy at work, he can hardly find the time. we do have an appt w/the pain mgmt md and therapist for all of us to get together and talk about the possibility of me using meds but it is not until mid-oct. oh - and i have offered for him to hold any med for me...

    to top it all off - i've been having the most painful headaches for the past few weeks (and i normally don't get headaches). think i'm going to talk to my pcp about them but not sure what i can do besides what i'm currently doing: advil, aleve and tylenol.

    thanks for your advice and wish me luck!
  • You're Welcome! Think of it in "baby steps." It looks like you are starting them. Here a unbiased professional has advised you aren't an addict. That is a good baby step. The sticking point though is still presently your hubby is going on what "he" saw on your prior medications. Maybe you were one that 'normal levels' affect you a lot more than most, dunno, but your hubby saw enough changes, it concerned him greatly. That too is a good, as it shows he still cares and loves you - and doesn't want you to hurt yourself.

    My hubby many times can't get off for my 'general' NS appointments and such, but surgical consults, he hasn't missed one yet. Most times I ask the hubby what times would work best for him work wise. I am retired now (fed. govt.) but even before that, I was a lot more flexible work wise on getting off to go to appointments. If he can't go, I try to write things down. Or I get a note from my doctor as to what my new course of action is (exercise, tests, meds).

    Headaches. Sorry. I have a high tolerance for pain, but NOT when it comes to them! I feel for you there. I too am "not" a headache type person, but of late (C2/3 issues) they are almost daily. I hope you find something that helps. We are here if you need to vent. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • The decision is yours, and yours alone. Nobody chooses to have pain. Those that don't have the pain that we suffer every day cannot understand what we are going through.

    Sometimes you just need to do you, and ask for forgiveness rather than permission. If you feel you need to go back on meds, then do what you need to do.

    I hope everything works out for you.
  • this is an example of the public brainwashed about pain medicine. they see in the news and the paper and hear on the radio of the evil drug oxycontin and how it kills and destroys lives. unfortunately there is nothing you can do about people who are brainwashed. i agree take relatives to pain dr and have him explain what a pain dr does and what narcotics do and how they help. have him explain the pain contract and what is expected of you. thee is nothing you can do if they still belive that narcotics are evil. do what you have to do. if you need meds, take them. i can't believe the people in rehab did not understand that you were taking these for pain. but most people in rehab believe this crap. this is how they get their money. if you saw dr drew in celebrity rehab you got an idea how screwed up he is and rehab places are when it comes to meds.
    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.
  • its YOUR body and you pain and i am not going to go around the houses with this on as i am in a bad mood .50D them! JUST TAKE YOUR MEDS you can't suffer .they will never know what pain people like us have to go through every day its not like normal back pain that goes away Ina few days its there for life in most cases ...i can't be doing with do gooders that don't have clue ..
  • I’m with Toni on this one. Tell the family to Edited They don’t live with it. There are probably some meds out there that don’t make you goofy in the head if you try some different types. I can take lortab or percs and feel just like me – only with no pain. The time release morphine however turns me into a moron and I can’t do that! You are a lot nicer than me – I’d be telling someone to Edited. It’s my body, I know how I feel, and they need to deal with it (because I don’t have a choice)! I don’t like the idea of having someone else hold your meds either – that is YOUR business. You are a big girl and it is nobody else’s business, except you and your doctor. That’s my two cents anyway  Good luck!

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    Post Edited by Moderator haglandc
  • Christie,

    Sorry to here your have so many issues. I'm thankful that my hubby and kids don't have problems with my round the clock meds. They witnessed first hand how awful it was not taking the narcotics. Six months after surgery I weened myself off the vics. I was off them for about 1 1/2 months and was only taking motrin and tylenol. Life was a living hell in my house, I was a miserable crying basketcase the whole time. My family saw how terrible it was, me sitting on the side of the bed rocking back-n-forth crying myself to sleep every night, cry all day because my back was killing me. Its just not worth it not to mention that all your vitals go up when your pain levels are through the roof, it's just isn't good!!!! Hope you get this settle soon so you can enjoy life again. FYI- surgery is not a cure, just a chance to make your quality of life better!!!!Stay away from anyone who says they can cure you.

    Staker- Well spoken, Im a firm believer in don't judge a person to you've walk a mile in their shoes!!!!
  • Thank you all for your support! I am so frustrated and feel like no one I love understands me. I am at the dr now for this headache... Nothing has helped - I even put pieces of lidocaine patch on my temples! Think I'm going to ask for tylenol w/codeine.

    Oh - and regarding rehab and brainwashing - you wouldn't believe it! I felt like they were salespeople trying to get me to say things that weren't true just so they could keep me for as long as possible! And they kept me for 28 days for which we paid - not my insurance (they refused)! It is an ugly business. Some people need it and benefit from it but I felt like they were just keeping me for $ - oh and brainwashing my family at the same time.

    Wish me luck!
  • Christie,

    I had the same problems with my hubby and mom as well. But, my hubby saw how much better I'm able to move once the meds have kicked in, and I can get around better. I don't even take a very high dose of them, just enough to bring the levels down a notch or 2. My mom, however, was always on my case, until one day, I told her that I had even asked my doctor and physician's assistant about the dosages I take, and they both said they aren't high enough to worry about, as I take them as prescribed, have never run out early, and have never had any problems, that there is no likely risk of addiction. Once enforcing this fact (it was during a "discussion" of sorts if you catch my drift), she has dropped the subject with me as well. Maybe if you can get your doc to write a note, or something, that says you are not at risk, they might leave you be and let you live life with some sort of quality, even if it does mean you have to take meds.
    I hope that the doc was able to help you with your headache. I have them daily, and usually get a migraine at least once a week to week and a half the past few months. I take Imitrex once I feel one starting, and it does help a lot.

    I agree with some of the posters above, it is your body, and if you don't run a risk of addiction, then it is up to you how you manage your pain, and nobody should deny you anything less. I hope that you are able to at least find some middle ground with your loved ones, but don't let them push you around, or tell you what you should or shouldn't be doing. You have to live with the pain, not them (well, I guess they do kind of, and I can't believe that they would allow you to live in so much pain). Have you tried any other non-narcotic meds?
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • members have no idea what severe back pain is like. If you need the meds, you should take them. That said, I think you should find yourself another doctor (or two). I was told I was not a candidate for surgery because I had three severely damaged discs. Well, I couldn't sit, I couldn't walk, I couldn't stand, and I couldn't lie down!!! Don't tell me there's nothing you can do for me! I did find someone to fix my back. The surgery and recovery were sheer hell, but I am now recovered and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. No one deserves to be in that much pain. Your husband should go to the doctor with you, and you need a second or third opinion.
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Christie,
    It is never easy when we perceive those who should be supportive do not provided care that they may give an animal in its suffering, medication is about helping yourself and it does take time and some experience to find where that optimum level of usage is, who would actively seek that fog like status and for all those who see volume medication as the panacea to all the pain management problems that they are usually disappointed and that continual state unsustainable for a quality of existence in the longer term.

    No carers want us to suffer and are being protective in the only way they know, it is always easy to be an expert when you are not enduring pain and have that illusive solution. Real addiction is less than 2% according to Melzack and Wall in Textbook of Pain and it is far too easy for those on the periphery to use that catastrophising technique, that one tablet will invoke addiction and all manner of negative outcomes.

    What do you want to do, get support for what you think will work, it is you that is in pain and some of our family members will never get it and it may be prudent to step back rather than have those with no pain dictate your strategy, some people do not have the understanding, skill or capacity for empathy or compromise.

    Everyone thinks they have a remedy for our pain when they have no credible experience, my own mother thinks the solution can be found in the local press that the professor dealing with my own pain may not have seen for the want of looking. If your car breaks down you take it to the appropriate garage, you may as well ask the first person you meet, everyone is an expert in back pain and has some mythical remedy, even those with the knowledge and expertise continue to find an amicable solution to pain, its management and recovery a challenge.

    In the despair of not knowing what to do or say for the best, we all know some people say comments that are not helpful and unsupportive, do we try to change them or look elsewhere, only you know this reality and we all have experience of indiscriminate stupidity. When my sister had terminal cancer people would say silly things that had no basis of fact to the reality of the impending situation.

    Find someone who can encourage you now you know who cannot, many here have been where you are and experienced just your situation and the insensitivity of indifferent support. Give your time to those who are best placed to help you and develop that network.

    Take care.

  • what you are going through. About ten years ago my Auntie was in and out of the hosiptal and I Just didn't know what she was going though until I started having severe pain myself. And I had too confess to her that "I FEEL YOUR PAIN". Since then having seen her continue with this great pain, and talkig with her, she recently went to have a correction for a percedure that warranted they replace something that had slipped, and if they had not replaced these thing she would have been paralized. And also since seeing her going through so many operations I chiose not to go through Operations I choose having the SCS implanted. Which I've had in for only two months but it has improved my pain. I said all that to say unless they (your family) have gone through the pain they DON'T know what the meds do for you. I am still on Oxy, Cymbalta, Lyrica, Requip along with the SCS but you know what I dare Anyone to take my meds from Me because they just don't know what I am going through. Hope you find YOUSELF and tell them where to GO. SLH
  • Hi there,

    I agree with other's responses. But I also think family that worries about you, also believes there is a better answer out there. I'm not sure who told you that you weren't a candidate for surgery but if you are in pain there are options

    - Meet with another OrthoSpine or Neurosurgeon that specializes in the area of the back you are having trouble.
    - ask if PT will help. I was able to manage my back pain and sciatica for over 17 years with PT. I went 6 times and then used the exercises religiously at home initially and then when I'd feel flare ups, I'd get back on track. Occassionally I'd need a prescription NSAID to help with inflammation.
    -If you think things can be better and you can hurt less, then visit another doctor.

    I would also say exercise helps (mostly walking), keeping your core tight, and eating healthy/drinking water.

    You are on the right track. I would avoid opiates only because they are addictive and if you do end up needing surgery, it's nice to have them as an option for recovery.

    Good luck.
  • Christie don't let your husband family treat you like that or does he treat you that way to? my husband side of the family thinks i am addiect to because i take pain meds but its not true and you should not have to suffer in pain because of what they think i take my pain meds with me when we go to family things but i do not let them see me taking them i will go to the bathroom and take my meds and come back out without them knowing i took them and i can tell you this do not tell them you are on pain meds and don't let your husband tell them you are you take your pain meds because you are in pain and don't let anyone tell you that you are a drug seeker because you are not one you have the right to take your meds for your pain
  • take you meds directed by your doctor, mine is 4- hydrocodene 10/325 4x a day. I get htose 4 out and put them in a little jar on the windowsill, usualy every6 ours and whdn theyre gone yheyre gone. I need those pill to be able to function daily. I had a scs trial this past week and I went down to 2 day, and thats because my body needs them until I ween off. SO if they are taken in occordanace with your doctor and your not running out of them ahead of time and your resposible for taking our pills on time , show your family, If you were addicted youd run out of pills and be looking for moore. I dont know your wtory , but maybe a scs would help then you could maybe be free of pain meds allogather. hope you get beter soon. Rose
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