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Couldn't wait it out any longer...

Ferenczy36FFerenczy36 Posts: 18
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Chronic Pain
Had existing back injury from years of mistreating it and several auto accidents when I was younger, then last x-mas I slipped in the entryway of our home coming in out of the rain and that set off what has now been almost a year of off and on pain. In June I had an MRI which revealed DDD at L4-L5 and again at L5-S1 where the disc herniation is causing mild indentation of the thecal sac. Doctor has been giving me fifty, 5/325 norcos a month for the pain which has been just about right to let me get on with my life somewhat on the bad days. That is up until about two weeks ago. Maybe it was the long car ride I had to endure at work that week, followed by camping trip labor day weekend, but things have not been good on the pain front. Pain has been accompanied by a continuing buzzing tingling sensation in my right hip and leg which is driving me nuts. Can't sleep at night, can't get comfortable during the day. I just had my pain med refill roughly 14 days ago, and as of today I have only 3 left. So off to my doctor I go again today, to see what can be done if anything. My only hesitation was my doctor had me sign a pain medication waiver stating that I would not ask for early refills or ever claim I lost my meds, etc., which now makes me feel uncomfortable going in and telling him I pretty much burned through my 30 day supply in half that time. But it honestly has been hell the last week or two and I cannot go on like this for too much longer without my mood beginning to suffer. In fact yesterday while out with the wife doing some early recon for halloween costumes my leg began bothering me pretty bad which resulted in me becoming very grumpy. I guess the best I can hope for is that my doctor see that I am honestly in discomfort and pain and will work with me to find some sort of relief.


  • just tell the doctor the truth - that the pain has increased and you needed to take more meds to releave the pain. They will either raise your meds or find something else that works. I was on the same meds and after awhile that no longer worked now I take ms contin and msir - morfine.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    ..those kinds of forms. I think that is for people working the system..abuse and such.
    It really shouldn't prevent open communication with your doc of increased pain..and as above stated.. med may not be as effective any more.

    Sometimes the pain meds help us get through..like long drives..camping...things we normally wouldn't be able to do.
    For me..I try to "know" that pain is there whether I feel it at that moment or not...and continue with the no lifting..twisting..etc..
    My experience show I always have to eventually suffer the consequences.
    And then, like you said, the loved ones in our life suffer the consequences, too.

    It's not easy to find balance.
    Hopefully doc will get you "rebooted" and you'll be at a managable level soon.
    Take care
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • So I went...and the doc put me on nortriptyline, which after doing some reading up on now, has me sort of questioning his decision. I can see where he prescribed me this for the nerve pain in my leg, but it still doesn't seem to address the other aching pain in my lower back and from what I'm reading nortriptyline may take 2-3 weeks before I start noticing it working. Not really what I call helping me out in the short term, which is really what I need and what I had expressed to him. My pain hasn't been 100% constant these past few months, I go through flare ups and calm periods. The fact is now I am in the middle of a bad flare up that I am having trouble managing the pain through until I can get it to calm down again. It will probably somewhat heal on its own by the time this new prescrip starts working. But, I will try it and see what happens. Plus this always seems to happen to me, docs want to prescrib a drug that was intended for another purpose other than what my true symptoms are. I also suffer from cluster headaches, when I get those the docs want me to take lithium. Now for a sore back they want me taking nortriptyline.
  • Well after speaking with another doctor today, he better explained nortriptyline and that the dosage I would be taking to relieve nerve pain is nowhere near the amount needed to treat depression which is where most of the side effects come from. So I am feeling a little better and optimistic about trying this new treatment. Wish me luck!
  • I feel your pain, no pun intended! I've treated my back so bad over the years, and it is finally really starting to bother me. Or rather it has for maybe 2 years, but I've reached the tipping point. Gonna go check out some docs soon.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    ...you had better explanation and you feel more optimistic! :)
    Good luck!!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Im sorry for your pain, after my lamnectomy 11 years ago, I strugglled along with pain down my leg, I was given neuronton and zonegrain...didnt work just made me hazy, so I stopped them, I was lethargic and like a zombi and it didnt help either. So my reg doc sent me to a pm he did selective nerve inj, Ive had numerous epidurals, that raised my BS to 500 BAD, PT, traction, facet blocks, then 1 5/325 hydrocodone 4x a day, didnt help so she upped me to 10/325 4x a day and after a year now Im up to 2 10/325 4x a day, in a 2 yr period I saw several differant pm dr.s and neurosurgeons, I had DDD and rupture aand scar tissue they said maybe 40 40%chance it would help. Then I found a great pm that put a SCS in and it was wonderful, I had a revision on the pns on my back and and then I wwas refered to a neuro/pm and we tried differant opiates and I cant handle them so Im getting a pain pump next monday

  • Hello Ferenzcy,

    Just wanted to say HI! and hope the nortriptyline works soon.

  • Going on day 4 on the nortriptyline, no real sign of improvement. Although it is helping sleep better at night somewhat I believe. But I do know that it may take several weeks to start working. Arrggh.

  • Update: Now I'm getting fed up. Things got worse over the weekend, now my upper back/neck is out and experiencing spasms and pain. Between that and the continuing pain in the lower back/legs, it has made for a most uncomfortable weekend. No sleep. So I send my doctor a message today letting him know that after one week, the nortriptyline hasn't started working yet and that my condition has worsened to the point that I'm not sleeping at all, and it is beginning to effect my mood greatly and not letting me focus on my work during the week. I then asked him what the next step is if I don't start seeing any improvement by the end of this week...specialist, a chiropractor, or ???

    His answer was for me to take 600mg of ibuprofen three times a day for two weeks and then contact him again if I don't see any improvement. WTF? I have already been taking naproxsyn and ibuprofen all last week and all this weekend...still in pain.

    I pretty much feel at this point my doctor thinks I'm faking. I don't think he truly understands the level of pain I'm in or how it is effecting me on a day to day basis. So I guess at this point I just have to hope for the best that I can function at work and make it through the next couple of weeks until either the nortriptyline starts working or until everything heals on it's own. I'm not asking him for any pain medication, only to be referred to someone who specializes in spine and backs. Still, I keep getting told to give it several weeks then call back if no improvement.

    If I'm still in this level of pain and discomfort by weeks end, I will be notifying my doctor that I will be leaving his services in search of a new doctor.
  • Had something similar with one of my docs. Fired her immediately and found a new one. Personally, I would find a good neuro / ortho and spin your tale to them before the end of the week. That is providing you can do it without a referral from your present doc.

    Another option is to go to the E.R. and let them look at your back & neck. They might even be able to refer you to a good surgeon / doc that would actually give you the time of day.

    Hope you get this resolved ASAP!

    View my history for all the gory details.
  • Nope, would need a referral from my doc, which is what I was asking him for. I also have a bad ankle from an injury long ago that has already been MRI'd and determined I need corrective surgery while with a previous medical provider. I recently asked my doc to refer me to a orthopedic surgeon for this and he sent me to a podiatrist instead. Yeah, I think its time to find a new doctor. He was fine at first and helpful but now he's just been treating me like I'm faking or just being a wimp.

    I am learning now the importance of caring for your body. In my youth I was in several major car accidents, atv accidents, always lifted more than I should, etc. Whenever I did hurt myself I just blew it off and waited until it got better. Years later these injuries are starting to pop up again and I'm starting to pay for it big time. My ankle screwed up from a sprain that never healed right, upper back/neck from car accidents that I never saw a doctor for, and now my DDD from too much lifting over time.
  • I know the feeling. Between the Marines, Fire Department and now Law Enforcement I abused the heck out of my body. Similar thing with my ankle. Had a charged 2 1/2" line burst next to me on the engine I was assigned to. Knocked me off the rig sideways, but my foot got stuck & stayed put. You can imagine what happened next :) Took a year to learn to walk again without the aide of a cane. And at least 3 more years to get back to running 5+ miles a day.

    Sounds like you have a new job. Or at least a part-time job... Find a new doc that will provide the referral that you need. I would also suggest you obtain a copy of your medical records from your current doc before you fire him.

    One thing that I thought of in reading your post is... With the sudden onset of pain I am wondering if one (or more) of your disks ruptured.

    View my history for all the gory details.
  • Had my last MRI in June which showed two seperate broad based disc herniations, one of them with an annular fissure, the other was putting pressure on my thecal sac (whatever that means), and another area of slight spondlyosis. Could be possible one of them has ruptured. I think my main problem was I overdid it, then couldn't find the time to take a couple of days to rest it. When I did try to rest it this weekend, my upperback/neck just happened to go out again which just compounded everything else. I am now walking around half hunched over with my neck cocked awckwardly to one side, I look like I'm doing the robot when I walk around.
  • I'm still getting my meds from my surgeon. When I started a new job that required a lot of lifting, twisting and bending, I started having severe pain months later to the point that I had a difficult time even breathing without pain.

    I saw my surgeon, who did both of my surgeries, and explained the pain to him and he was nodding his head the whole time as I was explaining what pain I was feeling. He said it was mechanical pain, that where I was fused can't move so the levels above and below are compensating (although he was surprised my pain was below my fusion instead of above, don't know why), and understood my increased pain.

    So, he said he'd make a note in my file that I'm taking my max dose now due to my job (for insurance and pharmacy purposes, I assume) and also prescribed Lidoderm patches.

    In other words, he totally gets it and is very understanding. I know I'm very lucky and my hope is that others find the same kind of understanding that I'm able to have. You really deserve it, as we all do.

    Take care and good luck finding the right doc for you.
  • Well...here I am, 3 weeks into the nortryptilene and no improvement yet. Been taking ibuprofen in the meantime as my doc recommended but it is now not going to easy on the stomach. Hoped to get a hold of my doctor to provide him with an update, and to request a refill on my regular pain med prescription in the meantime while continuing to wait to see if the nortryptilene starts working...but alas, he is on vacation until October 10th. I'm actually getting pretty used to just being in constant pain the majority of the time.
  • Apparently the nortriptyline isn't working so well anymore. Out of nowhere awoke last Friday night with extreme sciatic flare-up. For three days my lower back/rear end, and legs were nothing but sharp pinching pain. Then as mysteriously as it started in the middle of the night, it stopped suddenly Sunday night. I mean my lower back and hip area is still achy and sore as can be, but the sciatic in the leg receeded. Told my doctor and will be going to see him tomorrow to discuss what other options to getting through the holiday season pain free.
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