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Twenty four years clean and sober need advice on pain meds. after surgery

sidthekid87ssidthekid87 Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi everyone,

I have spinal stenosis, DDD, and sciatica. I had surgery on 09/09/2010 for the Stenosis. My neuro did a Laminectomy at L3-4. Afterwards I did 6 weeks of PT 3 days a week. About 2 weeks later the nerve pain in my left leg returned and the numbness and stiffness. My Doc did another MRI and said there was a re-herniation at the same area were the Laminectomy was done. On 01/09/2011 a Microdisectomy was done. The pain is not as bad as it was pre surgery but not as well as I hoped for. I'm taking 1 or 2 5/325 Vicadans ans two 5 mg Valiums daily. I'm scheduled at the local pain clinic on Feb. 3rd.
Being a recovering alcoholic I understand those 2 drugs are unacceptable for me. I was wondering if any of you good folks out there have heard of Suboxone being used for people in my situation? I know they have used Methadone for chronic pain but that drug has been around so long it kind of scares me. I suffer with severe Asthma and COPD. I am on Prednisone daily and have been for 14 years.
If any of you have any ideas for me I would be greatly appreciative. Good luck to all!!!! - Rick


  • Hi Rick

    Have you talked to your doc about non narcotic alternatives? I love the lidoderm patches. Also liked the Voltaren gel and they make it in a pill form.

    Have you tried a tens unit? Alot of people swear by them. Plus there is always a good old heating pad.

    I applaud your resolve to get off the narcotics. Even for people who aren't recovering it can become a crutch. Talk to your doctor, but you might want to consider stopping them for a few days to see exactly what pain you are having and see if there is anything in particular that sets it off. Sometimes a simple lifestyle change can be enough.

    Good Luck, I can't wait to hear how it goes.
  • Hello Rick:

    I can understand your concern and the fact that you are asking questions is a good sign.. You will be ok.
    You have to follow what the Doctors tell you. But as mentioned above by Khris, There are some alternatives you can check into and request.

    The PM's seem to have an arsenal of alternative methods ask at your next appointment, Im sure they will try to work with you.

    I have tried an experiment personally( I do not recommend trying it unless your doctor agrees. Always have Medical advice with any treatment protocol or prescriptions.)

    I tried the strongest of anti inflammatory and no relief, They started me with 5/500 hydrocodone and there was a little relief, but seemed like "break through" pain could not be controlled by them,
    On good days I would not take any and If mild pain I would try a half tablet. Checked with My doc she said it was fine since they were prn.( as needed)
    I explained my concern of developing a increased tolerance to the pill, Doc thought and explained The on again off again regimen would help to curb threshold and tolerance.
    Now the hospital has been a different story: they use some high powered pain medication and inject it IV.
    It can help but does not last and they are hesitant to dispense it anyway. I do not know if I am lucky ( hard to think of things that way when going through this pain- but friends help) But it seems there is no difference in relief for me between the IV painkiller and steroids IV. So the Hospital, will usually shoot for the Steroids instead ( no pun intended.)
    I am going to follow up with whatever treatments they deem necessary. But I do like to ask what alternatives are available. Some times there is no choice but to take medication I normally would not.
    I am cautious with any medical procedure, But I have to let the Doctors do their job. I've been taught to seek professional medical opinions as opposed to laypersons or friends. On here I estimate
    you will find some great experience and hopefully some help and guidance to work with your Doc's on.
    I really wish this nightmare never began; but It has, and it is on me to accept it, do the possible and seek professional help.
    I am sure you will find some helpful advice and If you want to contact a buddy, Do not hesitate to pm me.
    Thankfully given a design for living before this all started. ( Keeps me relatively sane and from losing all hope)

  • I have a history of addiction (alcohol, heroin, coke, various pain killers), and my doc put me on suboxone for chronic pain issues with my back (had a spinal fusion to correct scholiosis when I was 15, 9 yrs ago), and I found it to help very very little. It only partially activates the receptors in the brain that are fully activated by true opiate pain killers such as hydrocodone, morphine, oxicodone) so it just doesn't work as good as those. Eventually I got put on methadone and it has saved my life. It keeps me stable (drug cravings wise), and it's a medication that lasts almost a full 24 hrs so you don't have to continue popping pills every 4 hrs like you do when taking IR oxi of vicodin). Once you get on it though you have to be in it for the long term it's something you will need to take every day not just when you're in pain. It can cause severe withdrawals but as long as you have a doctor prescribing it then it really doesn't matter. If you want to talk to me more about this hit me up on aim my sn is ka11ink or email me at macht86@yahoo.com
  • I have chronic lower back pain, and surgery did not help. I went through the opiate addiction 7 years ago, and entered a treatment facility that put me on suboxone to treat my addiction. But, no sooner, I got out, I was still in pain and ended up back on the opiates, and addicted again. Addiction and abuse go hand in hand, because I was popping those pills like candy. After another tour in rehab, I found a doctor that prescribed suboxone, for off-label use to treat pain. This was the angel I was waiting for. Unfortunately, I moved away, but she was so kind that she wrote a great letter to help me find another doctor who would do the same. Which I did. And have been on treatment for 7 years now, with a family physician.
    Many doctors won't touch the suboxone off label use, thinking that they are required to be certified, which IS INCORRECT. Certification is ONLY if they will be prescribing suboxone for opiate addiction. Off label prescription for pain does not require certification.
    So, I am now in a dilemma, since my current doctor is closing up his practice, and I am now on another expedition in locating a doctor that is willing to do the same. Very difficult to do here in Florida, due to the rampant influx of drug addicts And dealers coming down here to get their scripts illegally.
    I will conclude by saying that my pain has been very tolerable and under control with the use of suboxone and naproxone. I don't know why they don't offer it to more people. I swear by it, and hope that I will continue to use it safely until something better comes out.
    If you are considering the suboxone for pain, do it!! Good luck in locating a doctor. Anyone that has found one in the Gulf Coast of Florida, please email me. I will post if I find someone.
  • There is another medication besides suboxone called embeda. It is a slow release morphine that has the component in it that if you try and abuse/crush it, it sends you into immediate withdrawls. I think it acts the same as suboxone.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
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