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Taking Meds when it's NOT so bad?

JLambzJJLambz Posts: 24
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Chronic Pain
So, I woke up this morning after resigning to sleeping in my recliner, and besides some shooting nerve pain...I don't have that "hit with a bat, can barely breathe" feeling. My question is, do you still take your meds when you are feeling "good"? Funny how what I described is a "good" day. To normal people, it's torture. Not to US!! :)

I currently take 750 Robaxin 3x day
Norco 10/325 3x day

Do you skip them when you feel good, or do you just take them, knowing that the first time you do something like bend or move to much, you'll be right back to bad. Just curios. I'm new to this constant pain management stuff. Thanks :)


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    You really need to talk this over with your doctor and/or pharmacist.

    That being said....

    When you are dealing with pain, you never want to allow the pain to build up before taking your medications. If that happens, there is a good chance that you will need more pain medication to control your pain.

    Many pain medications are written as PRN which basically says Take when needed. Then there are other medications, such as Neurontin that you need to take as prescribed, if you feel you need it or not.

    With Rhobaxin as well as many other muscle relaxers, then can fall under the category as PRN.

    However, every one is different, I can't say what ones doctor wants for their patients. Thats why this should be discussed with them.
    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
  • Yes, Ron is right, you should discuss that with your doctor. Also, like he says, don't let the pain build, it will be impossible to control if you do (You probably experienced that before!!)

    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • Check with doctor but in my situation, I was only on narcotics post surgery. So, for me, as the pain became more bearable, my doctor told me I could start cutting back as time progressed. But mine 'weaning' was within 6-10 weeks post op and I never needed that much anyhow after the first 10 days.

    I hope this is a good sign and your doctor says you can adjust!
  • To answer you question I do take my medicine when I'm feeling good since I'm fine one minute and the next I'm crippled with pain. And yes, the definition of a good day to us is a day in the hospital for a healthy person!
  • yeah, Omega. When my husband says "man, my back hurts", I raise an eyebrow at him and give him a face that say...."really?! REALLY?!?". I know that's wrong. I'm sure his back does hurt. But I want to say, "honey, you have NO idea!!!"

    See, my problem is that when I have a good day, I tend to try to do EVERYTHING. Like clean the entire house top to bottom. Then I'm in REAL trouble. And that is pretty much exactly what I did yesterday. So here I am, back in my trusty recliner.....::::sigh::::
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    1 - When you are a chronic pain patient, you should be on a medication that is in your system around the clock. Thats the purpose of any of the ER (Extended Relief) pain medications.

    2 - Never self medicate. If you are thinking about changing the frequency or dosage of what was prescribed for you, you need to first contact your doctor to discuss it with them and get their approval.

    3 - If you current medication mix is not working, you need to discuss this with your doctor to come up with some that is better for you.

    4 - For those patients that are dealing with pain , either prior to a surgery or after a surgery or just dealing with spinal problems, taking some pain medications only when you need them is fine.

    When it comes to discussing pain medications, how to use them, how not to use them, folks like jon - aka terror8396 are not only knowledgeable but practical and aware of what they are taking. That is the key.
    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
  • oxycontin is prescribed for the reason that one always has an amount in one's system to help with pain control. it is never prescribed with the label take as needed. most drs prescribe oxy for 2-4 pills every 8-12 hours. this is to make sure you have meds in your system at all times. my dr prescribes oxy for 1 pill every 4-6 hours and i use 45 mgs. i have mine compounded and that is why i don't use 40 mg. if you have regular opiates that are not time controlled you should take it also so you have it in your system at times that are needed. regular oxycodone is usually 1-2 pills every 4-6 hours depending on the strength. if you take 2-4 pills every 2-3 hours then you might have a problem. if that much is needed, like ron said see your pain dr about changing the dose or number of pills. if dr says NO I WON'T CHANGE YOUR DOSE, then please don't change it. some people take more because they don't get the high or the pain is too much. very dangerous to medicate one's self. try a time release like ocycontin if dr will let you. upping one's dose is one of the reasons that people are calmping down on opiates. don't self medicate or dr shop if you are not getting relief. if dr won't change dose or whatever, get another dr. if all drs that you see won't change then there is something else going on.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • I'd err on the side of caution and take my pills at the prescribed time. Too many times I've thought I was having a good day and leave my pills behind and then whamo! Consequently, I usually take mine as scheduled so I have it in me. If you really are getting better though it is probably better to start cutting back so it depends on your circumstances. I agree with the thought to discuss with your doc.
  • I would like to interject please, and this is not meant to offend the OP or anyone here.

    Your history gives a diagnosis date of Jan 2012 (they usually don't call you "chronic" until 6 mo.) and you are on a short-acting, immediate relief med. So, your doc is hoping you recover, without surgery etc. If I were you, I would use your meds as needed. Since Norco has 325 Tylenol, and I believe the max use of Tylenol is 2500/day; why don't you start with just Tylenol on your "good" days? After my first fusion, I was prescribed Norco 6x/day, by week two I would break them in half, by the end of week 3 I was off. (A subsequent event put me where I am). Perhaps when you know you are going to do an activity likely to make you flare, take a half a pill one hour before your activity. When you hurt above a certain level, take a full dose. If you take the Norco even when you are feeling OK you will become tolerant - it's just physiology and not a judgement call.
    Just because you have imaging that says you have chronic DDD doesn't mean you have to "be" a chronic pain patient - in fact most back injuries DO resolve within 6 months of conservative therapy. At least give yourself the chance to be in that group instead of one of us chronic 24/7 guys & gals.
  • You're really playing with fire if you don't follow what your doctor prescribed. Like terror mentions, some stuff is time-release, others are for breakthrough pain. They may contain the same drug, but how they're taken can be completely different. Not following the directions can cause more than just physical harm, too. You'll be establishing a bad behavior from the start and fostering the distrust that you'll read a lot about.

    Not trying to pile-on, just adding another statement to re-iterate how important it is to be careful when dealing with medication (and that's not just restricted to pain meds!). Would you take blood pressure pills "as needed" if your doctor told you to follow a specific regimen?
  • Fairly new here. From Mi and in Fl for 3 months. Having really bad episode. Herniated a disc 9 years ago and have basically been in pain since. I have my good periods where I can do things-even a few holes of golf- and then bad periods when I am getting epidural or facet injections and cannot walk a hundred yards. I was doing pretty good and had knee replacement surgery in early Dec. Drove alone to FL in late Jan. Knee was fine but back did not make the trip so well. Got MRI down here Sunday and saw Pain Dr yesterday. Getting epidural in a week..I survive on Norco 10/325 and some Valium to relax the muscles when really really bad. I cannot take anti inflammatory drugs. Pain Dr gave me muscle relaxer prescript for methocarbamol "1 to 2 as needed for pain," Yesterday I stopped the Valium and have taken a couple of the new pills. Any comments on this drug and how to use would be appreciated. Thanks
  • First of all, where you taking the Valium everyday or only as needed? If you were taking it everyday, you may actually need to wean off it or you may be at risk for withdrawals, and depending on the dose, even seizures which can be life-threatening. Most people don't realize that withdrawal from opioids is not life-threatening, but withdrawal from benzodiazepines can be because of the seizure risk.My pain doc will not use anything in the benzodiazepine class as a muscle relaxer; he was not thrilled that my surgeon wanted me to take them post-op after my last fusion (I had only been on them a week, so stopping wasn't a big deal). Surgeon's PA sa said he usually prescribed it because patients often have anxiety issues post-op, and Valium kill two birds with one stone.
    That being said there are about 5 non-benzodiazepine muscle relaxers that usually work better than benzo's for muscles. I personally didn't see much improvement with muscle spasms with Skelaxin, but did with tizanidine; but keep in mind every one's responses may be different to a given medication. Always take the first doses of muscle relaxer when you are not driving until you know how it affects you -in my experience the muscle relaxers work different for me if on an empty stomach than not. Hope your epidural helps!
  • Hi Olseneagle,

    Just a few comments to your post. Methocarbomol is generic Robaxin, a muscsle relaxer. I took the stronger dose of it 2 tabs - X4 daily. This , along with my other opiates for pain did not give my much relief. I did give it a try for a couple months or so, hoping my body would adjust to it or vice versa. No go. My pain dr changed me to tizanidine and we have slowly gotten the dosage to a level that does work the best of all other muscle relaxers I have treid. I have been contending with chronic pain going on 6 years (click on Rassy's Story) so I had tried several med combinations. That is my point here. It may take a while to find the correct combination for you. Pls read the labels on your scripts and take them as directed. If I have questions about interaction or length of time in system, etc., I call my pharmacist. Any other questions related to my medications I call my dr's office. Hope this helps a little.

    Rassy's Story
    Under House Arrest Without the Ankle Bracelet :-)
    The remarks I make are strictly my own based on my personal experiences.
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