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My pain management isn't working, need advice.

BrokenMechanicBBrokenMechanic Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Pain Management
I have DDD in 5 discs and am 26 years old. I need surgery, but cant afford it and am waiting for LnI to approve my appeal so I can get the surgery I need. In the mean time, I have been on pain management. I am currently taking 30mg morphine every 12 hours and 7.5/350 percocets 3 times a day spread out depending on needs. This regiment has been going on for about 6 months.

I can not seem to escape the pain anymore. I use to get a few hours of relief with the percocet but now it just barely takes the edge off. I know there are other options, but I don't know what works. I have nerve pain, and my back feels like a tight mess of pain. From what I have read both needs to be treated separately. IMO I need something that will give me a constant feed of pain medication like a pain pump or pain patch, but I know very little about these. I have tried to do research on them but most of the articles I can find are over my head. I also have a friend that has recommended medical marijuana. I like that idea because I am very afraid of becoming addicted to the opiates and am afraid that I already am. I did try marijuana few months ago with a friend I trusted. I got very sick and my pain didn't seem to go away, but it didn't bother me either.

I am planning on going to see my doctor in the next day or so, and am wanting to go in with some knowledge of other medications to talk to him about. The only other drug he has talked to me about is methadone. I also REALLY hate the morphine as it makes me sick to my stomach, I have lost 20lbs since I started taking it 6 months ago. Morphine has such a stigma it also really bothers my wife and mother.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

The Broken Mechanic


  • Look around at some of the other post and there is some in deep conversations as to other meds. But the first question is always what kind of pain are you having? The type of pain is important for the doctor to understand so they can treat it with the most appropriate meds for your individual situation. Many of us require a blend of medications, such as a opiate long acting, break through med, muscle relaxer and then a nerve med. I know in my case somedays increasing the opiate one more pill wouldn't make a difference in the pain at all, as it would be the wrong med for the pain. Also not everyone responds well on morphine so their are other meds that can be used. As far as pain pump, that is something used temporary post surgery, or a permanent implant when no more surgery can be done.

    If I was in your position I would keep a journal of the type of pain where it is located and what you were doing at the time of it. Track rather it is stabbing, aching, pins and needles, numb and so on. Also the level or intensity of the pain. Also keep track of what makes it better and what makes it worse. Does heat or ice help. Do you have a ten's unit, you can use and does it help? Those will all be useful for the doctor in helping get the right blend of meds for your situation. Sounds like a lot of work, but when your looking for relief most of us are willing to do anything to get help with the pain. Good luck and keep us posted.
  • I'm with Charry. I didn't see any medications that address "nerve pain" vs mechanical pain. You said your disks are bulging such that you need surgery (but can't afford it right now). If so, chances are some of your pain is being generated due to nerves being irritated or compressed by these disks?

    You also might want to print out your post to us, and show that to the doctor! Seriously, not kidding. In it you are being frank and open, maybe something your not expressing to him. You never know, it might help. Please let us know how it goes - so sorry you're still hurting. Gentle *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I take Cymbalta for the nerve pain in my leg and Lyrica also. There are other meds like Amitriptyline that help some people. Medical marijuana is used for long term illness like AIDS and MS and cancer patients to help encourage hunger and stop nausea. I think it's best for someone with long term illness but I'm not a Dr. but know some here have use of MMJ for pain help but I hope you can get a nerve pain med that works and your Dr. reviews your pain meds. Best wishes. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • similar to charry, i am taking cymbalta and lyrica to combat my nerve pain. it seems to help. please do some reading on methadone, i have seen some really severe side effects in two people that i knew were on it.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    I think the first thing needed is to identify what your problem is. Degenerative Disc Disease is one of the most mis-understood spinal conditions. It is basically the aging of our spines. Most people by the time they turn 30 will show signs of DDD. For many others it can start much sooner.

    DDD can be managed through doctor approved exercises and over the counter NSAIDS. I would assume by now your doctor has discussed this with you.

    Nerve pain generally stems from a disc pressing on a nerve root. Finding out what disc is doing that and to what degree is something your doctor would identify using the diagnostic tools as their disposal.

    Narcotic pain medications are not going to address nerve pain. You need, as others have posted medication specifically designed to deal with nerve pain. (ie Lyrica, Neurontin)

    Pain pumps are really for those that have explored other options and there isnt much else that can be done. Its sort of a last resort, something that a person starting out with spinal problems wouldn't consider.

    Remember, pain medications are not going to eliminate your pain. What helps in many cases is the total package. Take a look at our FAQ and look for
    the Blend. That describes what I am talking about.

    I do have a few questions:

    What kind of spinal surgery is your doctor talking about?
    Which discs are affected?
    What treatments have you currently tried?

    The best approach is when you are talking with your doctor, provide them with the information (as Tam posted regarding your pain levels and other details)
    You should find that you would get better results that when instead of going in to the doctor and asking them what other medications can I take.
    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
  • I so know how you feel. My doctors tried alot of different things for me, and we have finally found something that is working. I am still experiencing some severe pain in the evenings, but only with the sudden stabbing pains. The magic meds for me have been Dilaudid 4-6 mg every four hours, gabapentin 600 mgs 4 times a day and 900 mgs at night, and flexeril 10 mgs three times a day. The combo of all these have given me amazing relief. I was at the point where I could not stand for more than a minute, and walking more than to my bathroom was agony, now I can actually get around and get out a little bit (though drowsily, lol). I really hope you can find something that helps, you mentioned the patch, fentanyl didn't work for me, but I have heard that it does help for some people. I feel so bad for you, I know how horrible the pain can be....
    Sarah D
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