I just read an old post, but feel the need to point something out. I am sure most of us know this, but for anyone who does not...
I hope everybody on long term opiate therapy knows that what you feel when you run out of pain meds isn't your "real" pain. It is your pain + your body reacting to sudden withdrawal of opiate medications.
If you are on opiates and you stop suddenly, you will hurt. Everywhere. That's not a sign that you really need the drugs, it is withdrawal symptoms.
After about a week and a half, hoping that the w/ds aren't severe enough to land you in the hospital or worse, you'll start to feel your "real" pain, although even still, that is your pain without any of your body's normal pain relieving abilities. Your body has multiple systems for coping with pain that zone out while you're on opiates. So, it would take more time to learn how you actually are able to cope without medications.
Don't ever "cold turkey" off of opiates or put yourself in a position to be forced to do so. If you wish to go off of pain meds, speak to your doctor about weaning off slowly over time.
If you find you *need* to cold turkey for some reason, there are other sites that have more information about getting through it and danger signs to look for. A google search for addiction and dependency forums should help you find one. But you do have to realize that the period of withdrawal is just that- it's not your life without medications.