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Im frustrated - my experience with pain management

firewater1981ffirewater1981 Posts: 84
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:50 AM in Chronic Pain
Background to my current elevated pain level:
I went home to Illinois to visit family from Nov 31st to January 13 of this year. I usually go home for two or three weeks at a time. During this time I usually sleep on the floor. Soft/worn out mattresses are very uncomfortable for my back. The floor is much more comfortable for the time being and it usually it is not an issue to sleep this way. Ive dealt with chronic pain for 5 years now and although its always there it comes and goes with more intensity. About half way through my trip I started to experience a lot of pain and pressure in my lower back. More so then usual. It got so bad that I considered going to the emergency room a couple of times. I also started to get a lot more sciatic symptoms. This has been going on up until this point. In fact it seems to be getting worse with time rather than better. As I said this is contrary to what usually happens. My trips home usually aren’t to horribly painful but each time I get back to San Antonio from Illinois I usually have a flare up that lasts for a few weeks and then simmers down. Laying down usually brought relief. Now even lying down is uncomfortable and has been uncomfortable since it started getting really bad half way through my trip. I set up an appointment with my primary care doc and told him the situation. He is my "fairly new" doc because I was seeing someone before him who was in the service when I was active duty. He gave me an injection (not an epidural) for arthritis pain and gave me a referral to see a neurosurgeon. About two weeks past and I didn’t hear anything and the pain seemed to get worse so I called the Neurosurgery office. They said they can’t see me without a new MRI. The last one was done in 2008. So I called the doctor’s office back and they said they would send a referral for an MRI. The way my insurance works is things have to be approved from them first prior to me receiving the service. A while past and I didn’t hear anything about the MRI so I called my insurance and they said they don’t see the referral. So I called the doctor’s office again, same thing. Then I called the insurance. Same thing. Back and forth. I felt like a pest. The MRI is scheduled for today. I’ll let you know how that goes. Hopefully there is not more damage/change from the last one and this is just a really prolonged flare up on top of my regular baseline. I also called a while ago to set up an appointment with my pain management clinic. I have been seeing this pain management clinic for a few years now and I usually only go once a year. Sometimes not even. The problem with this clinic is a couple of things. It is on base and it is understaffed. I don’t call often but 9 out of 10 times I do call they don’t pick up the phone. Literally, Ill call at 9am, no answer, answering machine. 10:15am, same. 11:20, same. 2:40pm same. 4:30pm same. One of those times I would leave a message with my call back number and info. I try calling the next day, same. I wait and try a week later, same. In fact it is not uncommon for me to call and leave a message and wait and not receive a call back until 2-4 weeks out. Usually I don’t get a call back at all. This was one of those times. I waited a few weeks after leaving one message and trying a couple of times throughout the weeks and got no answer. I finally decided to play the pest again and call them more frequently until they picked up the phone. I finally got a hold of someone and they set me up with an appointment. That appointment was this morning. I was asking them to refill my Vicoden prescription since it is running low. The last time I had gotten a refill was Aug of last year. They only gave me 15 vicoden pills in that prescription. I usually can get by, by just taking Celebrex and tramodol. My pain management doc was very short and unsympathetic to me. I wasn’t asking him to hold my hand, just give me something to get through this difficult time. I told him the situation o f increased pain and he told me “well your MRI was unremarkable”. I told him that MRI was three years ago and that I was going to get another one today. I told him that the MRI he is referring to showed that I have 5 herniated discs. He asked me “what does that mean to me”? He didn’t even let me answer and said “I tell this to all my patients but just because you have an MRI showing degenerative discs and hernaitions doesn’t automatically equal pain”. He went on and said that if you take anyone off the street and give them an MRI some will show worse damage and have no pain while…” I cut him off and told him I know, while some who have little damage have a lot of pain. What does this have to do with me? I told him I was in pain and he questioned my use of Vicoden. He said “you know it’s a depressant. It brings people down. He said you stated you were depressed. I said yes I am in a lot of pain. He asked if I was getting Vicoden and being seen by another source. I told him no this was the only place I get my medication and the only clinic I am seeing. He said “Lets try to get you off of Vicoden and just have you on steroid injections.” I told him fine but what about now. He said “Im not going to re-new your prescription on Vicoden.” He said “Vicoden is not for chronic pain” Im going to prescribe you something else. He also said I want you to go right now and take a urine sample. Realizing that he is not helping me and blowing me off I asked to be seen at another clinic. He got upset and said fine and literally started walking out of the room. I asked as he was leaving what do I do now? He said “go take your sample”. As he got right out the door I stood up and asked him well what about the prescription now? What are we going to do for the pain? He said “well I can write you a prescription for Neurotin” I said fine. He said are you ok, you look a little nervous? Are you in a good place right now? I said yes, I am just in pain. He said go pick up you prescription and get that sample and left. Nothing more then that was said. Literally. With that I left went downstairs got my prescription and took a urine sample.

Does anyone know why my pain management doc wanted me to take a urine sample or what Neurotin does/specifically helps with? I looked online and it looks like its an anti-epileptic/seizure (which I don’t have) medication and that it helps with pain. He left the room before I could ask any questions and denied me more Vicoden. Does anyone know if Neurotin works well for chronic pain/sciatic pain or if there are any side effects to be on the look out for? Also, is it common for you to have this type of experience at pain clinics and is it common to be denied pain killers when not in pain?


  • That is a $hitty deal! I would be so mad! That is crap, what a crappy doctor to treat you like that and lecture you like your a five year old. Some of these doctors shouldn't be doctors!
    As far as the neurontin, I take it, but only early in the evening because it zombies me out bad and I hate it! It is supposed to help with siatic nerve pain which I have too. It does help, but I would never ever be able to take it during the day and drive or come to work. I know when I saw my doc last month and told her, these few pills you are giving me are NOT controlling my pain - I am going insane, missing too much work and the nerve pain and RA is out of control! She too said well maybe I'll just up your neurontin. I told her there is no way I can drive or function on that and that was not going to help me at all. She finally broke down and upped my pain meds, but I have been trying to talk to her about it for over 6 months and she basically blows me off too. I was pleasantly surprised that she finally took care of me. You really need to find a new pain management clinic. I go to mine once a month, and most people on her do I think. The urine sample is them testing you to make sure you aren't using any street drugs, or other drugs. I think it's ridiculous. I mean after five years of going to this dump, I still get tested 2 or 3 times a year at a cost of over 1,000 to my insurance. Hope this helps. Let us know what the MRI shows but (and not being funny) it sounds like you may know something about that by the end of the summer yes?
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,846
    avoid the potential flare up, especially when you know what can bring it on
    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
  • Hi Firewater - sorry for what you're going through. I agree with Mouse - get a new pain management Dr/clinic. It will probably take some time, but I would focus on getting your MRI/diagnosis - and getting the referrals from primary care physician to see about, for example - surgery, pain management (medication), pain management (injections), and therapy (PT).

    I CAN'T STAND IT when the Dr's go on with the rubbish about - "Other people have the same disc damage and don't have pain". I have also been told that - doesn't change the fact that I am crippled even though they consider that the damage to my disc is "mild". I don't know if you are working (I am unable to work), but while I was waiting to get various diagnostic tests and see surgeons, etc, I was also referred to pain management, who could give me some immediate help with the pain. Medications don't make me well enough to work, but I am able to get out of bed in the morning without being in agony.

    I see my pain management Dr every 2 months, and I find I need to see him that frequently. I always let him know he is the only Dr who has stuck with me for the past 3 1/2 years since I hurt my back.

    Neurontin is a pretty heavy drug - I believe it is a seizure medication that they use for nerve pain as well - like Lyrica or pregalbin (not sure how to spell or even say that last one). I take Lyrica, which really helped me a lot with hip/burning pain, and generally takes the edge of things. Most of these drugs can have a lot of side effects (sleepy and stupid they can make you) - it varies from person to person. BUT I'M NOT A DOCTOR - and what you need is a Dr who will help you with the pain (I won't say cure - just help - so you're not in constant misery) - who can tell you about your medication options. Pain management Dr's, I think, are really key, especially when you don't have a definitive diagnosis, or when other Dr's don't really know how to treat your pain.

    All the best.
  • Hi; I have to agree with Mouse and Coyote.
    The urine test, doctor is checking for any other drug usage, whether legal or illegal
    Neurotin, i also take, and it helps with the nerve pain, but also makes me loopy. Weight gain is another side effect.

    Couple of weeks ago on World News there was a special on about the large amount of "pill mills" in Houston, that might have been the doctor's concern, but that is no reason for them to question your integerty, and honesty.

    So i too would be in search of another PM.

    Good luck to you. from another illinoisan
  • Some people resort to buying them off the streets? Why there is an option for that out there? Don’t worry, I know 90 percent of people buy them that way for other purposes, but I also know that “some” people have bought them for unaddressed or under-addressed pain issues. That happens too. I recall doing it for my mother several years ago because in this F’ed up state it is so hard to find a pain mgmt doctor and at that time there were none. Of course I also get pretty annoyed about the jerks that do take them for recreation and screw the rest of us that are just trying to get by too. All this time that I’ve complained and begged, pleaded and borrowed for my GD doctor to give me what I need, I have always known exactly which 4 bars down the street or which 3 people that I know that I could have bought from had I wanted too. You’d be amazed – it is everywhere! Those that sell, get a slap on the wrist and that IS a fact! Those of us that need, get nothing! The entire thing is crap. My SIL had been on the run for over 4 years from here to Vegas for prescription fraud. She got caught twice and let back out of jail. Got caught this last time on 44 new charges and she is OUT and we pay the price for HER! Ya, I hate the B….
  • Firewater,

    Sorry to see that your PM was not in your corner this last visit. I agree with the others in that the urine test was to see if or what drugs you have in your system.

    Much of the pain you described makes sense why the doctor is moving towards nerve pain medications. I've been on Lyrica for over a year, and except for the weight gain, my side effects were drowsy and light headed along with being really tired for the first week, then all that backed off. I've now lost 25 of the 45lbs I gained on it! I didn't mind the weight gain thanks to the results. Most of my pain is nerve related, and Lyrica has been a God send for me. It too is an anti-seizure medication, but doctors have found that it works great for knocking down nerve pain. Neurotin too is an anti-seizure and nerve pain medication. I hope you find some or a lot of relief with it.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thanks guys for the replies. Ive heard of people getting denied pain meds from PM before but I never thought it would happen to me. I see myself as the "straight as an arrow, clean cut" kind of guy". Ive never been questioned about my drug use and the only drug tests Ive done in the military where the random screenings. All of which came back negative. This test he wanted me to take will come back negative except for the prescribed Vicoden, tramadol, and celebrex. I dont really get what his issue was with the Vicoden. It was only 15 of the smaller 500mg pills last time and the date on the bottle I have now says 08Mar10. He even said you only had 15 pills last time. He told me that "Vicoden is not for chronic pain". Ok, Im not asking to take it everyday or every week or every month, just when I have breakout pain like now. If I wanted and needed it so much I would have asked for a refill shortly after my first prescription at the beginning of last year. Anyway, as much as Ive heard people get grief from their Pain Doc before for meds I dont think this is the way it has to be. From what all of you are telling me the Neurotin is going to kick my tail. Im a tall dude but Im a lightweight. I start feeling a buzz off of two beers. My buddies use to tease me and say dude your 6'5 or something else. Vicoden gives me that "stupid" not as sharp feeling and that lasts for a few days after I take each one. Ive gotten in trouble in the military for making mistakes on powerpoint presentations and stuff because I couldnt concentrate because of the Vicoden. I try to avoid it because of this. Even the tramodol makes me feel like that a bit. So if you "pain pros" are telling me it knocks you down, Im a bit scared. I try to avoid any meds and I take less then I probably should. People have asked me why I suffer for so long and refuse to take pain meds until "its killing me". I tell them because I dont like the effects. They may have a point though. Thats why I never got into drugs when I was a kid. I dont even like the feeling of being wasted and I surely dont like the feeling in the morning. Its not worth it. Id like something that has no side effects and just takes the pain away. In an ideal world right. Scratch that, in an ideal world there would not be pain.

    I had my third straight MRI in 5 years today though. Yeah buddy! Each time they keep finding stuff. First one was the lumbar and the L5-S1 and l3-l4 herniation. Second one showed degeneration/herniation in thoracic. Heres hoping the third times the charm and they wont find anything. Please keep your hopes and prayers up that this is the case. I am. Now just to deal with the constant ache. My pain is probably more ache/burn then it is sciatic although I do have sciatica. So maybe this Neurotin will help. Im just thinkin its "a big gun" like a bazooka when all I may need is a more accurate side arm. For the past 5 years Ive dealth with chronic pain on a daily basis. Some days it would not even hurt at all. Other days it would be like someone took a blowtorch to my back. And of course Ive had days in between. Lately its been the blowtorch. I havent even been getting much relief from laying down. This scares me because laying down is "my fortress". Id stand or sit for periods of time knowing that I can endure and that I will find relief on the mattress. Lately that is not the case and that scares me. But fingers crossed. This is just a nerve "flare up". Ive had them before and although they didnt last as long thats all this is.......
  • I have taken Neurontin since 1998 and it does not cause any problems for me. It does a nice job of helping me with pain brought on by damaged nerves. I did go through a 2 week initial adjustment period where it made me a bit drowsy, but that was the extent of it. Keep in mind that just like any drug, it can effect one person one way and another person yet another way or not at all.

  • Firewater,

    I understand and feel similar in the 'wasted' or 'buzzed' feeling many pain meds give - not a fan of that effect either, but they do take the edge off. As to Neurotin and such (Lyrica), the buzzy feelings and tired for most of us last a week or so. These types of medications actually have to build up in your system for maximum effectiveness. It isn't a drug you take when you feel the fire, the burn etc.

    As for prescriptions and PM's with pain meds. A lot of them have come under fire for being too liberal with what they prescribe. Other areas that are causing them troubles are the "pain pill mills" masquerading as "Pain Clinics" of which they are the farthest from it! So doctors are watched more, and we as patients stating we have pain...are watched more sadly.

    The good and bad about your MRI? The good, you have an updated one, ...the good, it shows issues such that your PM might be more supportive. The bad, issues are showing which means more treatment in the near future. Please keep us posted.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Firewater,

    Wow. I am nearly speechless. 15 pain pills in nearly a year and this is somehow a problem? My 13 yr old gets that many vicodin annually (I am pretty certain as that would average barely one pill a month) for migraines.)

    Regardless, like others have also chimed in, I hate hearing the speech about how rare it would be to "pull a random pain-free person off the street, perform a MRI and discover that person to not have an abnormal spine." We have pain and we all wish that we didn't. End of story.

    We went to our pain clinics for flare ups this week and we both left feeling sub-human, it seems. At least I did. I am truly sorry that your Dr. did not at least take the time to explain your new treatment regimen to you. How horrible and isolating that must have been. I hope that it improves from here!
  • As someone else mentioned, what works for one, doesn’t work for someone else. Also, what screws with one persons head may not bother you at all. I only take the neurontin early in the evening, and it definitely helps with the sciatic at night to help me sleep. I also take a perc 10/325 every four hours like clockwork to keep it all at a decent level. It doesn’t get rid of all of the pain, but a 2 or 3 on the Richter scale definitely beats a 6, 7, or 8. I am pretty fortunate; the perc’s don’t do anything to my head, just dull the pain. I know if my other half takes one, he’s jabbering and flying like a kite. I think the ticket is to try different types of meds until you find what is right for you and what works best – there are a ton of them out there. Everybody responds differently. Most importantly, get a new doctor. Post edited

    Best wishes - Marion


    Inappropriate comments removed

    Post Edited by Moderator haglandc
  • Mouse, Oh I was thinking about pulling a few manuevers on him all right. I got medically seperated because of this disease and my ability (or lack there of) to sit and stand and my innability to concentrate at the end of 2009 so I'm getting a bit rusty. On my performance reports in the first half of my 7 year career I consistantly recieved 5 out of 5 on my enlisted performance reports. I was nominated for airmen of the quarter and airman of the year. Toward the end I was getting 4s and 3s. I couldnt put presentations together. Couldnt brief generals anymore. I couldnt lay/repair equipment and set up our telecommunication equipment anymore. I couldnt run the fiber and hook out our networks. I couldnt deploy evenn though I was deployed overseas for 3 months. Basically I became usless. Now I just surf the web. Great! (insert sarcasm). I want to get healed become producive again and protect and serve you guys. Protect and serve my country. Not call shots from a bed. Life is beautiful. There is too much to life then this. I know they developing new technologies to help us but most of us are not kept in on this. That is my job to research and provide that information.

    My regular doc office called this morning. About 30 minutes ago actually. It wasnt my doc who left the message but the dude that actually takes my blood. haha. Probably his assistant. Anyway, in the message he said my main doc (excerpt) "wanted me to make an apointment with my nuerosurgeon to discuss abnormalities of my MRIs, and herniated discs and other findings" (/end excerpt). Well I excpected there to be stuff going on so this isnt unexpected. My 2008 MRI showed herniated and degenerated discs in my lumbar and thoracic. I know these issues do not heal so I expected them to be there. Heres to hope that its not worse then 2008.

    I DO NOT WANT SPINAL FUSION SURGERY! I have not heard a single success story from a fusion patient who is 10 (or more) years post surgery. The only success stories I hear are from people who fall within the immediately post surgery to the 9 year mark. The ones that do say they have had successful surgery and they are glad they did it are few and far between. Very few and far between. Even all the doctors and sugeons I have spoken to over the last 5 years admit to this. Because of the amount of levels I have I do not want to stress the rest of my joints. In my opinion spinal fusion surgery is archaic, barbaric, lucrative to the doctors involved and ultimately destructive to the patient. Sorry, thats the fighting part of me comming out. I refuse to be a spine surgery patient lifer (someone who will require surgeries every 10 years) give or take. I know no one willingly wants this and I'm not assuming that but dam*it I will not be confined to my bed! I do not want surgeries every 10 years! Im just venting. Putting out the positive vibes and good thoughts now. I just needed to vent because the damage hasnt gotten any better and things will be ok. Ill call the nuero surgeon and set up an apointment here in a minute.
  • That was definitely my demise, but at the time I didn’t have much of a choice there either. I had been riding my horse with riding buddy and we always loved jumping. We would get about 8 miles in and then jump some 5 foot downed cottonwood trees every weekend. Well Blitz jumped and when he landed, I must have just hit wrong in the saddle or something but I felt it. My bud Dan had to help me off and I sat for a half hour afraid to move, but then I knew it was bad and we had to ride the horses out of there. That was a ride to remember! Me and Blitz got hit on the side of a mountain road once and pushed over the edge about 20 feet straight down onto a pile of boulders and that didn’t hurt near as much as the back deal. Anyway, it ended up being 3 blown discs that were into 90 percent of my spinal canal at the time (or so the doc’s said). I tried a percutanious disectomy which was horrifying and that didn’t work so the next day was back in the ER and had the surgery, with the metal, cadaver bone, and bone graphs from my hips. Did good for about a year, then my body started rejecting the metal and they took it all out. I was shocked at the 2 pounds of $hit that came out. Then I had another decent year (back to riding) and then the arthritis started and it’s been downhill and a misery that gets worse every year since then. I don’t know what you’re supposed to do really. The pain is awful with blown discs, but it’s awful for life afterward – so where does that really leave you? Getting accused of being a drug addict apparently. What is ridiculous is there are so many drugs available on the street (at least where I live) I could go buy anything I wanted within a block of my work. Keeping it away from those that need it is just not the answer! It’s like taking guns away from honest citizens – leaving only the criminals with guns. Ridiculous! Well, don’t get me started on that… I do want to take a minute to say “Thank You” for your service to me and to our Country. If not for men like you who are willing to do whatever it takes, this Country would not be the greatest power in the world. Of course all that is changing with our current dictator in chief, but I won’t get into that either. I commend you for your sacrifice and your service, and I truly hope you can find something that will help you. Marion
  • Drop the gabapentrin--it makes you drowsy, gain weight and is NOT a pain killer. The doctor prescribed it to me to try and explained it is to calm down an excited nerve. Therefore that wouldn't be chronic pain. Also, don't take those NSAIDs because they are causing heart attacks because they work through clumping the blood platelets which release anti-pain hormones. The best pain medicatio is plain old opiates which are natural and come out of the plants. You are correct in that the recreational users have ruined it for the chronic pain suffers who need it regularly. They don't call insulin use by diabetics addiction, yet it is necessary, or high blood pressure or anti-cholesterol medication addiction, yet it is necessary to live. Just think of it as a necessary chronic medication as for diabetes etc. Go to a new pain management clinic, even if it means out of state.
  • I now know I am not alone, and almost every story on here applies to me. I have had issues with Doctors recently and in the past because of my age. I recently turned 31 and sometimes it is hard to get the help you need. Lets just say I have been through ALOT! Have had many medical issues that the average person twice my age hasn't even experienced, so I feel for you and yes you do need a new Pain Management Center, even if you have to travel. Right now unfortunately because my Mom and I relocated so she could get married, we unknowingly moved to a small town filled with pill popping abusers. So I have been driving 3 hours back to my old Doctor every month. You do what you have to to feel better, and I hope you get the help you need hun..
  • I am also in more pain when laying down, but its the best thing i can do to find relief. What works for me is laying down on the ice pack. I has to be flat and flexible enough so all you feel is cold. But i think you might have tried that...
  • First off I want to thank all of you for the replies. It has really helped me to keep going. I am alone, live by myself and dont have anyone here to talk to. Ive been confined to me bed except for bathroom breaks and eating. Thank you so much!

    The pain in my upperback is so bad right now and has been for a while now. I got my new MRI back and in the report it says I have 4 desicated discs in the thoracic. This confirms why it has been hurting me for so long. It burns/aches like hell. When I looked at the film those discs are black and the report confirms it. I saw my 2008 MRI and these discs were starting to go then, but it wasnt really an issue. My trip home and sleeping conditions agravated it. Back then it was the lower back. Lumbar still has herniation but it is tolerable. Thoracic is not. The problem is it takes so long for these apointments. A week or so for the primary care doc so he can set up an apointment with the Neuro. Then after a while the consult goes through for the Neurosurgeon. I call the Neuro and he cant set me up until he gets an MRI. Then I go back to the primary doc so he can put a referal in for an MRI. Then wait for the MRI appointment. Finally get the MRI and call to set up appointment with the Neuro except hes booked for a few weeks. I just called this morning to see if they had any opening so they could get me in earlier. The receptionist said to call back wednesday. Im scared because my degenerating discs are 3 consecutive levels, and another one below that seperated by a healthy disc. How that disc is still healthy that seperates them I do not know. I could deal with one level of damage and I would consider getting an Artificial disc or even fusion but 4?! In my research they dont approve the use of artificial discs for more then 2 levels. So this probably means a tri level fusion. I know DDD does not heal on its own(it usually only gets worse) and that scares me. There is no cure for DDD and herniated discs, just damaging surgeries. It would be crazy to get that whole area fused. Id just be getting incredibly limited mobility and be basically signing a contract for future pain and surgeries. I am really scared. Its like my head and neck keep twitching and I cant find comfort unless I lay on my sides. Even then its uncomfortable. Sitting and standing hurts, laying on my stomach or back (down in any position except on my sides) is uncomfortable. I cant even do that for long. It used to be laying down was my "fotress" from pain. My escape. I knew that I could endure anything I wanted by keeping in mind that I would get relief when I laid down. Slowly I am losing that. There is no escape except for sleep and Im having trouble with that now. My shoulders are hurting from laying on them so much. This is not cool.
  • Update: I just got off the phone with my primary care doc office. I told theme I want to be seen by a pain clinic. They told me that I have to set up an apointment with my primary care doc first to have him set me up with an appointment with a pain clinic. My apointment is tomorrow. Then he will refer me to a pain clinic. Neurosurgery doc appointment is not until next thursday. Hopefully this is just a flare up. I wont need surgery. Knock on wood. Sendin out the positive vibes.
  • I'm just reading about all your pain/discomfort. You poor, poor thing. I have read a lot of your posts, and I know your aversion to narcotics/drugs - but I really recommend you to get to the pain Dr asap, and get some medication.

    I avoided using narcotics (percocet) for two years after my injury, and managed on anti-inflammatories and Tramadol (except for flareups, when I had to use percocet). Celebrex and Tramadol (which is not a narcotic like codeine/morphine/vicodin, etc.) were a great combo - it is very difficult to get addicted to Tramadol the way you can get addicted to codeine etc (it's like some sort of synthetic opiate, designed so it's pretty well non-addictive - I BELIEVE!!) Then my hair started falling out, and all the skin on my head/neck/scalp/face became thick, scaly and red. So I stopped Celebrex, then the Tramadol gave me splitting headaches without the Celebrex. I loved anti-inflammatories, but I can't really take them anymore.

    That's when I went to Lyrica and Percocet, and now Oxycontin (ER). I never even took antibiotics before I hurt my back - never took any meds, except the occassional Advil.

    So - Like I say, I understand your aversion to drugs, but at a certain point, if you want to get out of bed and out into the world (even for a little while) you have to take them. Plus ice, relaxation, etc.

    Steroid injections are nasty, but they can also help (for some) - temporarily.

    I also have not had surgery, and because of an ambiguity in where the pain generator is (my discogram was negative) I will not have surgery until that is sorted out. My pain is crippling - I have about 4 hours of sedentary activity in me a day - but I know if you have failed back surgery, the pain can be constant, unrelenting. I'm like you - I know how much gas I have in the tank, and I kind of "race" (mentally) through activities, like Cinderella, until I can get home and lie down.

    Take care, good luck, get some immediate help, and then you can look at what you want to do long-term (surgery or whatever).

    Also - GET YOURSELF A NEW BED - A good bed IS TOTALLY WORTH THE INVESTMENT. I used to wake with such deep, deep hip pain before I got my new mattress.

    All the best. Stefany.
  • Today is not a good day for me, but I wanted to send out my prayers and good {{{vibes}}} your way. I hope that you find some comfort and pain relief..a little reprieve very soon. Maybe your regular Dr. can help you with that until you get into a good PMD.
    You certainly do/did not deserve the treatment you recieved on your PM visit, and going home to visit your family was the right thing to do, after all, we never know how many "visits" we are going to get and each one is special and well worth it.

    Many blessings!
  • The images don't always show what we want them to, though (at times) it is nice to have some more concrete validation as to what is going on.

    Wishing you the best as the wheels start turning. :)
  • Hi, sorry you're being treated so badly, I think some PMs take a course on how to belittle patients and make them feel gulty for wanting some relief from chronic pain. Also as others have said good docs and needy patients are paying the price for the drug seekers and the phony clinics that are pain pill mills. I am ex military and an ex-cop now disaabled and I've been made to feel like crap at times because I can't take my pain and needed relief.

    As far as gabapentin it does work on a specific type of nerve pain like a neuropathy. It did not work for me even though I developed a severe neuropathey along with my normal chronic back pain. My neurologist (bless him) had me try another similar drug called oxcarbzepine which did work in about a half hour after taking it on the nueropathy (which was horrible type of pain), but again it is pretty specific and did nothing for the chronic severe back pain which I take oxycodone for.

    If your pain gets severe enough go to the ER and they will probably give you a scrip for at least 10 vicodins, Lord knows I have had to go numerous times when my pain got so severe I couldn't walk or stand and when I had to change PMs for the same reason you had.

    I had ACDF surgery in August and a Laminectomy on my lower spine in December and while the ACDF did good for my upper spine, the one for lower spine just changed things around for the worse as now I am on a much higher does of pain meds and I am not walking that well.

    Latly, have you checked with the VA for help? in the VA it's the luck of the draw as to your doctorand how he views your situation, but it may be an option for you.

    Good luck and keep me posted.

    AL S
  • Hi Firewater :wave: I have been following your "story", have yet to post until now.

    I just want you to know I am here and supporting you along with the other members - just quietly ;)

    Prayers go out to you for these appts coming up to bring good news and a successful plan :D

    Please do keep us updated....
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • The new pain clinic called me yesterday and took down all of my info. They asked if I was seeing another clinic. I told them yes but I wanted to be seen by a different clinic. The lady kind of paused a second. and told me she would call me back. I havent heard anything from her yet. Was that a big no no? I know pain managment cliinics will not see you if you are currently seeing another clinic. My pain level today is bearable. Even low. Thank God. I would say its been about a 2-4. It was like this yesterday.

    I would say the Neurontin is helping. Just one thing. I think it is giving me an unusual side effect. Ive been noticing this side effect for the last few days. I believe the Neurontin is giving me green stool. I know this is not normal and I did an internet search on a couple of sites for side effects of this medication and this is not listed. Has anyone had a similar side effect as this? Is this really a cause for concern? Should I stop taking it? Obviously its something Im going to mention to my doctor when I get in to see him again. Im not sure when that will be.
  • Legally they you have to be sure you discontinue their service before you start with them. That's the way it is here in Ohio, I know because I had to fax my old PM saying I no longer required their service and send a copy to the new PM.

    That's all I can say, so many laws, but sometimes you just aren't comfortable with your current PM.
    AL S
  • It is easy to break the "rules" whenever you are not aware of what they consist of. It seems as though it is some sort of secret society at times. Firewater, yes, it is a no-no to go to a new PMD whenever you already have a PMD, as a matter of fact, if you had gone to the new PM and accepted an Rx it would be a felony and you could have been charged with this. This is one of the worst possible mistakes to make in PM. I realize that you are unaware of this and this is what I mean by people breaking the rules. Did you sign a contract with, and did your current Dr not discuss the rules of pain management with you whenever you first started with him. I recently looked over my contract because I don't recall everything that's in it, but even if you don't have a contract it is illegal to get pain medication from two different Drs to treat the same pain/illness/disease. The laws where opiate/oid medications are concerned are taken very seriously by our Drs., and they expect us to take them just as seriously, but if your Dr(s) did not discuss this with you or you did not sign a contract it's understandable that you would not know.
    The new PMDs office may notify your Dr if you gave them that info, and it's likely that they (new PMD) won't get back in touch with you, though you never know. It would have been nice of the receptionist to let you know that you would need to discontinue or cancel your contract with your current PMD before beginning with them, but they don't know who they are dealing with and if you are an upstanding, compliant patient or a Dr shopper, so you see their point too.

    It's sad the way things are now in the PM world. It use to be that the patient was always given the benefit of the doubt, and simply taken at their word until a reason existed to be seen as otherwise. Now we are subject to scrutiny and doubt first, until we prove otherwise. Just one more reason why honesty and trust is so important between us and our PMDs.
  • Robin and Asignor,
    I honestly dont remember signing a contract with my current pain management clinic. Maybe its because I was active duty at the time in 2008. Its a lot different then the civilian world. At least it was. Not sure now. We would get the occassional drug test and face imprisonment if drugs other then what was prescribed to us was in our system. It would not be just be a bit of jail time and a bad mark on your record like it is in the civilian world. The military owns its troops and it takes drug use very seriously. I never failed a drug test, and Ive taken a few random ones. In fact I have left parties/places that were using drugs. I remember one time two very attractive younger women who used to flirt with me on a consistant basis invited me into their apartment one time. They were by themselves and were both being provocative towards me. Im thinking "yeah buddy". Then they lit up a joint and immediately I told them I had to go. I honestly loved my job and despite how attractive they were they were not worth prison time. Now when I need them I have to jump through hoops?! Thats BS. For me and for all of us! Maybe the times are different now then they were in 2008, but like I said I dont remember signing any contract and no I dont remember the doc discussing "the rules" of pain managment with me. I was honestly unaware that there are "rules". I thought the "rules" consisted of getting your pain medication from a legitimate source (i.e. doctor), not Bob sellling it out of the back of his pickup. When my pain managment doc asked me if I was seeing another pain managment clinic (initial post) this is the first time I have ever been asked that. I took offense to it because with that he also made me take a drug test on the spot. I thought he was questioning my integrity. Not that it is a "standard procedure". The second time I was asked that was when I called the new pain clinic who I want to transfer too a few days ago.

    As I wrote in my initial post I am having a lot of trouble with my current pain managment doc. The clinic that is on base is small and is overworked. Setting up appointments means scheduling months (not weeks) out. They now only have one regular doctor in there. It used to be multiple doctors. Due to this fact its even harder to get an appointment and if I or anyone else has problems with this doc then... to bad. There is no other choice. As if dealing with significant chronic pain is not enough, now its guilty until proven innocent and a few bad apples are going to spoil it for those in need.
  • Firewater,
    Sorry you are having so many problems. I'll tell you my story at another time. I would recommend that you write a letter to your current Pain Clinic and let them know you are canceling any pain management contract written or implied. You need to send it registered and get a receipt. You then need to give a copy of the receipt and letter to your primary care Dr. This will help in getting you set up in a new clinic.
    Are you being seen by the VA? you are entitled.
    Have you received any disability from the VA?
    Your condition occurred while in the service so you should be able to prove service connection.
    There are several organizations that can help you.
    Call you local VA chapter.
    Call your local Disabled American Veterans if there is no local chapter look up on the internet for your state chapter.
    What you need to do is rally all the organizations out there for veterans to help you.
    I am a retired Navy Officer with many on the same problems you have.
    I also have a pain management nightmare that may turn into a malpractice lawsuit before I'm through.
    Please don't accept being in pain, you deserve a life.Let me know if I can help you in any way.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • Yeah, I'm sorry if I offended you, as it was not my intent, but yeah, the war on drugs has affected the CP patients and sometimes in a way that leaves us feeling a little resentment toward those who are taking medications for other reasons than pain. I try to remain empathetic towards those who are addicted too and not blame it all on them, but I understand that view.
    You signed so many papers being in the Military that it's likely you have forgotten the contract, or perhaps they didn't have you sign one. I'm not military and don't know the way things are done on that end.
    In any event you haven't done anything wrong and were honest with the new receptionist on the phone, so if you still want to go to this new PMD, you can call back and ask her what would be expected of you. I know other people who see civilian Drs because of this same reason.
  • Hi, Hope I didn't upset you, I don't always agree with the rules, just trying to help. They call it Dr shopping and as Robin said it is illigal. You have to quit the one you have first before you sign on with the other. Most PMs around here won't even see you without a refferal to them from another Dr they work with.

    It makes it hard on folks who are honest and just in pain. After I saw my NS things got easier on that end once they know you're for real.

    Good Luck
    AL S
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