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Desperate to help a loved one

kellybkkellyb Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Chronic Pain
Hello, newbie here hoping for some advice. My 85 year old grandmother, who was always extremely active even in her older years, is suffering from arthritis (all over, but her spine is what is causing the most suffering). She is in constant, severe pain and is now suffering from extreme depression because the pain is non-stop and she can't do even the simplest activities anymore. She is limited in the types of medications she can take because of other medical issues. Corticosteroids are out because of glaucoma, NSAIDs are risky because she has had ulcers. Opioids seem to be the only other option but when the doctor gave her a scrip she refused to continue to take them because she felt "funny" when she took them.

Are there any other options besides these three categories of drugs? She has gone to physical therapy and it did no good at all, her pain is beyond that point. Also, would she eventually get over the "funny" feeling she experienced with the opioid medication if she took it regularly? Can you get used to those enough to both manage pain and function normally?

If anyone has any suggestions I would be extremely grateful. I am heartbroken seeing her suffer so badly. She is a completely different person than she was just 2 or 3 years ago. Thank you.


  • especially a gran mother .have you tried a decent TENS machine ? the acticare is very good and it has no known side effects ..re opiates maybe with your doctor supervision and the correct drug they should be able to get her pain under control .most opiate make even the young feel strange at first but you do get used to them . was she given tramadol by any chance? because that makes a lot of people feel strange .i was unable to take that drug as it made me hallucinate and i am 45 .i am on oxycontin .i would get the doctor out to her and maybe try again ?
    best wishes
    tony {UK}
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • Hi Kelly, I think it's just so sweet that you're here asking help for your grandmother.

    There are many other types of meds that can help with nerve pain, if that's the type of pain that she's having, like lyrica, neurontin, and certain anti-depressants like cymbalta, amitritpyline and nortriptyline. You should have her talk to her doctor to explore other meds to see if they will help. As for the opioids, yes, if you do take them regularly, the "funny" feeling subsides as your body gets used to the med. This is actually the reason why so many people end up having to increase the doses, as they start to lose their effectiveness after a while.

    Anyways, as Tony suggested, she should see her doctor and tell him her concerns and ask to try different meds to get her pain under control. Is she under the care of a rheumatologist or physiatrist? Those specialists might have better treatments to contain her arthritis as well. Good luck, and I hope that your grandma can get back to the person that she used to be. Thanks for looking out for her.
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • Thank you both for your suggestions. I have never heard of a TENS machine before. I will look into that and will also have her ask her doctor about the other types of medication. Thank you.
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