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Girlfriend comments

LasVegasLLasVegas Posts: 95
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Pain Medications
1st off, my history is an accident 5 yrs ago of 6 cracked vertabrae in my lumbar, L1-L5. Time healed it with the help of a back brace, physical therapy, plenty of rest & relaxation and several type of pain pills that evolved into dependancy, addiction and nightmarish withdrawels. Recover took about 2 yrs til I was feeling back to about 80% healed, with the exception of tightness/arthritic in the winters.

Well after all I endured during my past 5 yrs mentioned above, I was finally able to pick up my little boy and throw him in the swimming pool, exercise with weights again, etc., until....2 months ago when I was rear-ended in a car accident. Stuck at a red light and a pickup truck failed to slow down and smashed into the back of my vehicle. Police estimated his speed at 35 miles per hour. This accident caused whiplash in my neck (new injury related only to this accident) and "flare-up"/increase of pain in my lumbar all over again. Not nearly as painful as the past, but no doubt about it, painful day and night. No fractures according to the recent x-rays, but had an MRI which showed plenty of bulging discs, arthritis, narrowing and a cynovial cyst. Regardless of what the MRI showed, whether it was existing or caused new from this accident, the pain level I experience is without a doubt caused from this recent car accident.

So my girlfriend made a comment to me last night that really had me thinking..."you can't take pain killers forever ya know".

I can't function with my physical abilities, nor my intellectual thoughts while on any of my prescribed Percocet, Lortab, Oxycodone, Flexeril.

On the other hand, I do not feel as if I can comfortably cope with daily activities without taking pills.

So, after her comment I walked away and gave a thought to this. I thought she is right, I do not want to live in pills and be half the man I used to be. But at the same time, I need to get out f pain and get back to normal. Catch 22.

Next week I have an orthopedic appt for the 1st time. My pain mgmt dr said he is a very good ortho with excellent communication skills among patients and other doctors.

My pain mgmt dr only ability is to write scripts, give injections and refer to other treating specialists.

So the ortho will hopefully advise me of my remedies to alleviate the pain with long term in mind. If surgery can cure, great, i'm openminded. If not, then I guess i'm at the mercy of "time will heal" or i'm stuck in the "Catch 22" pain pill debate of...A. take them and become dependant and addicted or B. not take them and tolerate a painful life. I see no other way to view this.

I've shared alot here and imagine many of you reading this can relate to what my concerns are, so please d share your comments


  • with your appointment with the ortho.

    I understand your dilema, alot of us here just want our pain to go away so we can resume our lives. I hear you loud and clear.

    I hope the ortho can offer you some other forms of treatment that will allow you to be more active with your g/f and son. Don't give up hope.

    I am sure others will be able to give you some really good advice, I just wanted to wish you well and let you know you have lots of support here.

    Best wishes,
  • Well, LV, there is a real difference between dependency (which is physical) and addiction (which is both physical and mental). Dependency is what happens to anyone who must use narcotic medications on an ongoing basis. It can be dealt with in several ways, one of which is to gradually reduce the dosage or even (with your doctor's knowledge and guidance) take a "drug holiday" now and again. Doing so will usually reduce your tolerance to the medication, in effect making lower doses once again work for you. The doctor will taper your dose slowly so that you aren't thrown into withdrawal.

    To my mind, a person must be scrupulously honest with him/herself before accepting treatment with narcotic pain medications. When you reach the point where you're telling yourself (and your doctors) that there is absolutely no other way to deal with your pain than to take medications... when you are convinced that your medications must be changed and your doses increased continuously... when you start taking your medication more frequently than prescribed, and/or taking extra pills, and justifying it by saying your doctor won't help you, and you know best anyway (in effect, making your doctor simply the person with the right contacts -- via his license -- to get you your meds and you'll do the rest of the decision-making yourself, thanks very much)... that's when I think you need to have a little talk with yourself about your motives. That's when I think it moves from dependency to addiction.

    I'm sorry to hear that you had to battle addiction in the past, and that it was a tough one for you. I can certainly understand that you'd rather not take narcotics at all if there were a way around it. With your doctor's help, though, perhaps there is a way around it, or at least a way to keep your medications at the bottom rungs of the "pain med ladder" as long as possible. If you're prescribed narcotic medications now, does your doctor know your history of abuse? Some docs won't prescribe beyond a certain level of medication, some won't prescribe narcotics at all. But you do have pain that needs to be addressed, and by everyone working together and being honest about what's going on, you run less risk of relapsing than if you keep your history on the down-low and try to make it through alone.

    If your doctor does know about your past addiction, talk to him honestly about ways to keep your medications toward the less-addictive ones, and enlist whatever help you can to explore other treatments that can help you and that perhaps your girlfriend can share/be involved with as well.

    You might also want to speak with a pain psychologist to learn ways to cope with pain. The calmer and less frantic you can keep your mind and your outlook on your condition, the more chance you have at sucessfully treating it.

    Surgery certainly will help make your back more stable, but not everyone experiences pain relief after surgery, and any doctor who promises such a thing doesn't have your mental welfare at heart. It may be that you will need some form of pain medications for the foreseeable future, and that's the reality for many of us. Again, be honest with yourself. Pain reduction is the goal; you can obliterate the pain completely if you're willing to give up on having a full and active life and live solely by and for the meds. That doesn't sound like a deal to me, how about you?

    Just keep in mind that you are *not* your pain, so don't buy into that, ever. Don't become a victim. I've lived with serious back pain for many years now, mostly without anything other than OTC medications. I achieved a lot in those 20 years, despite my pain. Do I consider my start with pain management to be a good thing? Absolutely. But I know myself fairly well, and I know my limits. Most of all, I know that my pain won't kill me.

    I hope you and your doctors are successful in treating your conditions and lessening your pain. You sound like a smart guy, so always be on the lookout for ways to make your pain less and your life better, with or without those medications. Good luck!
  • Well said, both of your replies, very well said, thank you both!!
  • L.V.

    I think this is something we all go through. I was determined to be off meds and back at work. I cut out a bunch of meds, and tried to go back to work, neither worked. I'm on new meds, and work only lasted about 3 weeks, I'm slowly coming to the realization, that I may have to take meds for the rest of my life.

    I hope your appt goes well
    Good luck!
  • Yes you can.

    That's the only answer I can think of. If you have pain for the rest of your life, of course you can take pain killers for the rest of your life.

    The idea that you have to be able to get off of pain killers is linked to the idea that pain killers are for temporary treatment of pain, that pain is temporary, and that if you keep taking the pain meds it's because you're hooked on them. Obviously the logical break there is in not recognizing that the pain doesn't always go away.

    Opiates are considered an acceptable treatment for chronic intractable pain too. Some people stay on them forever. It isn't because they are hooked, it's because the pain never goes away.

  • To get total pain relief, I require many pills daily, often more than prescribed. The pain is constant, but not life threatening. Only been on Percocet for a little over 2 months and my tolerance has developed to the point my pain mgmt dr just switched me to Oxycodone (15/mg x 4/day) at a higher mg than the Percocet (10mg/325 x 4/).

    When weighing to take the pills or not to take the pills, having my physical abilities to successfully achieve goals and get through life with coherent thinking is certainly the priority and just tolerate the pain as best as I can with limitations as necessary.

    I certainly do not want to be a zombie without the ability to care effectively for my 10 yr old son, be an active boyfriend/spouse and fully utilize my skills at work.

    Think I will do my best to minimize the pain pills and hope time heals a few bulging discs, narrowing and cynovial cyst.

    Wish me luck :)
  • If you are taking more than prescribed, then there is an issue.

    Why do you take more than prescribed rather than discuss your needs with your doctor and have your medications adjusted to cover your pain?
  • I am in same boat. Don't want more meds but the current meds are not adequate. I'm going to try a consult w/ a new spine dr for a possible steroid inj. to see if I can get relief enough to keep current pain med regimen. Otherwise I'm afraid I need to go up on both or one of my meds. I've been taking 5mg various various opiates for almost 3 yrs now. I've tried PT, massage, various injections, a nerve ablation. I have a 10 yr old boy too. Aren't they so much fun? Enjoy yours. Sorry about your recent accident. People need to stop multitasking when driving!!!
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