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pain meds

Mimi99MMimi99 Posts: 22
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Pain Medications
Why is it so difficult to get pain meds from docs for chronic pain. If the patient is not abusing the medication and it helps them get through their day I don't see why that is such an issue. I need 1 vicodin in the morning to get out of bed one late afternoon to get through the day and one or two at night to sleep depending on what I did that day. I am a mother of three small children that need constant attention and I work full time. I just had discectomy l-5 a week ago but am already dreading asking for pain script. I feel like a junky sometimes, but I really need someting that strong. Percocet works the best but I don't dare ask for something that strong but it sure does work. I have tried tramadol but that doesn't work at all. I see nd this Friday and how do you guys think I should handle this refill dilemma. I am so anxious about the entire ordeal. Should I call the refill line the Wednesday before my appointment on Friday? In addition he spoke with me prior to surgery saying most people just take tylenol for pain. Is he kidding!
Please help with any advice.
Thanks so very much. Mini99


  • Is it Mini99 or Mimi99?

    I experienced the same feelings. Suffered with chronic pain for almost 30 years and finally had a fusion, with less than desirable results. Never had a prescribed drug before surgery, but I have been taking percocet ever since.

    When the first script ran out I was very uncomfortable calling for a refill. I also felt like a junkie. However, that phone call has become routine, as well as office visits and diagnostic tests. I have become comfortably numb (quoting Pink Floyd) with the phone calls. They still "get to me" but I have accepted it as part of this process.

    Incidentally, my surgeon, and his assistant, have never offered the least bit of resistance. It has all been in my mind. I have been blessed with a very cooperative medical practitioner. It's my spine that is noncooperative.
  • Sorry Jim. It is Mimi99. Smartphone autocorrects all the time. Thinks its in my mind and a bit of resistance from office. I am going to hang tough and be tough. After all, we are paying them for relief. I looked at disability paperwork and they listed me out for three months when originally they told me two to four weeks. Must be more serious than I am making this out to be. It is probably so easy to reherniate. My job entails lifting, stretching,bending,reaching, etc all things I cam not do.
    Thanks for your boost of confidence :)
  • Mimi99:

    I did not answer your question. Yes, I recommend that you call in your request for prescription refill even though it is so close to your follow-up appointment with your surgeon. What are you suppose to do - suffer for two days? Call for a refill and if you get any resistance from the surgeon's office then address it on the phone and by all means address it during your subsequent appointment.

    None of us are average, however their prescriptions/dosages are based upon averages. Communicate your feelings. We are not junkies and they are not evil, sadistic doctors. These "positions/perceptions" need to be squelched early.

    At face value, my surgical outcome should have been wonderful. However, it has not been. My dose has been increased as a result. Good communication has been the most effective method of dispelling suspicions in my recovery.
  • Jim
    Sorry you didn't have a good outcome from your surgery. That is so disappointing. I still am not sure if my discectomy will be the answer to my prayers. I horseback ride with my daughter. It is a special bond we share. If I can't get back to where i was four years ago riding I will probably have to quit. That would really hurt.
    I appreciate all you have said to me. I am not going to wait. I am calling tomorrow for oxycontin(just took last one) and percocet. I am going to need them especially when I start to slowly encorporate more and more activity. When should I start trying stuff? Not horseback riding, but bending, reaching etc? Guess that will be discussed at Friday's visit. I will let you know how tomorrow goes. Sometimes it takes two days to get a script refill and this will be a CIO so I will have to pick it up.
  • Mimi99:

    I recommend that you do not ask for a specific medicine. Ask for a refill on your prescription, but tell them that it has not been effective in controlling your pain.

    Let the doctor determine the type of medicine that will be effective and appropriate. Asking for a specific drug will cause a doctor to become suspicious, especially if he/she has never prescribed that drug for you.

    Again, share your symptoms and let the doctor decide.
  • Thanks Jim. I am very nervous. I am afraid they will say no! Once about a year ago, they told me they will no longer refill my prescriptions because I.had gotten another prescription from another presriber. It wad a misunderstanding. While being treated for back pain I broke a rib.I was given a different pain med for the rib. I didn't see back doc until after rib was heeled. I went to back doc. Told them I broke my rib and was treated by family doc for that but didn't think to mention other pain med since I wasn't taking it anymore. The back doc got med list from insurance and saw I got a different pain med and said I violated their policy. I didn't do it on purpose. Didn't even know I did something wrong. I was so embarrassed and in addition, in pain!
    Was very disappointed in office for not letting me explain myself. I walked in there with my tail between my legs in embarrapsment. That was.when I was seeing injection doctor.
    Now I see the surgeon.
    Wish me luck and I will use your advise.
  • Please let us know how your request for more/different pain med goes :)
    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.
  • Ok guys....here it goes. Calling the refill line :)
  • Hello to you all,

    I have been a chronic pain patient for years, and am under treatment at a pain management clinic. Listening to your posts it sounds like you are asking a doctor that does not specialize in pain management and that is the root of your issues.

    Pain management doctors are the ones you need to be seeing and asking for medications. Their specialty is medications and other non-surgical treatments. These days with all the pressure on doctors about pain medications you want to establish a relationship with a pain doctor to remain on stronger meds.

    I have a good relationship with mine, and if something is too weak, I tell him and we change it.

    Good luck.
    Left foramina stenosis of L3/L4 (retrolisthesis)
    L2-ilaic revision fusion ( loose screws) with a laminectomy at L3 (cage at L3-L4)
    (PLIF) -@ L4/ L/5 - S1 (cage at L4/L5)
  • mimi - how did it go?
    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.
  • Thanks bpainfree39. I was going to see one before. Faxed my records over to them and they accepted to see me. Problem is that when I called them to make appointment they couldn't find my records and I felt they were disorganized. However, I am going to call a different office if I get nowhere with my surgeon. Which brings me to my other point. They nrver called me back, called nothing into the pharmacy so now I have no oxycontin to get me through. The night. I have a throbbing leg and just hope I have enough pervocet to get me through the night. I am not happy at all. I live in nj. Know of any pain management docs in nj?
    Discouraged Mimi99
  • Hello, I am new here which is kind of strange that I should do this now when I have had Chronic low back pain since I was 12. I have had two L4-L5 fusion surgeries. Unfortunately, the first fusion was a complete failure and a second surgeon had to go in and fix what the first surgeon did. Now that I've said all that, let me just say that I completely agree with your pain med argument. I know first hand what it is like to have someone think you're faking as well as the feeling of embarrassment asking for pain meds. I am somewhat of a stubborn person and whenever a Doctor or surgeon would say that I wasn't in the pain that I said I was in I would go cold turkey off all my meds. the longest I was off meds was for 3 months ( 3 agonizing torturous months.) I knew the pain wasn't going to kill me so I would just take it. Eventually, my mother couldn't stand the nonstop screams and decided to take me to out of town Doctors where they took an X-ray and found out that my body had absorbed the bone putty from the first fusion and the bones had separated and fractured all over again. Even with all that, my Doctors were unapologetic for the hell they put me through. That is when I found new understanding Doctors. Let me put it this way, you wouldn't just take a diabetic off insulin because you thought they were "faking it", and you wouldn't take a person off SSRI's because you didn't believe that they were really depressed would you? Then why would a person suffering from pain be any different? It is unfortunate that we may need these medications but that is what they are there for. By no means are they a magic bullet or a panacea of any kind but if they help you function through the day as a better person what is the problem with that? As long as you are carefully monitored and the dosages are kept stable then there shouldn't be a problem. I feel so sorry for you because I have been where you are and occasionally feel that way every now and again, but we did not chose this for ourselves. I don't know a single person who would want to go through what we go through just for medicines that can be potentially be abused. With that being said, feel good in the fact that you are only taking these medicines for the right reasons and that if circumstances were different you would never take them at all. Be assertive with your Doctor and if he has any alternative methods be willing to try them all. In my case, I have been looking at a thing called a Spinal Cord Stimulator ( I'll let you look that up :p ) This may be the thing that can control my pain without the need of opioid medications but until then, why go through life in such a painful existence? We only have so much time on this planet so please do not go through it suffering because of fear of what someone may think about you. I hope this has given you the confidence needed to proceed with pain management but more importantly, I hope I haven't talked your ear off. DanDLyeIn3
  • Hello and I thank you for your words of encouragement. I just wrote in my diary that I really need to see pain management physician. They have all the up to date pain treatments. And so what if I need a vicodin to get out of bed, get through my afternoon. Pain,and one to sleep at night. Thats not addictive, it is management. Just like if I needed a Motrin this same times. I agree with you and will hold my head up high and i pay you damn it so make me feel great and get better.
    Thank you all for your support
  • Well I guess I am supposed to live in pain. Didn't realize you do surgery on someone yet not return their call when they call you that you ate in pain. Very disappointed right now. Guess its that time to crawl in the corner and cry?
  • I am a bit confused with your posts Mimi...

    You said in your first one that you are on Vicodin..

    But in your updated post you say that you don't have any Oxycontin to help with your pain...

    Are you on both of these? Were they both prescribed after your surgery by the surgeon?

    As others mentioned....a surgeon only handles post-op pain. They have you start weaning down.

    For chronic pain, you need a good PM Dr. The bad part though is many of them will not just prescribe a narcotic (or call one in) if they have never before met you.

    As well as an opiate is just one small piece of the puzzle to handle chronic pain. You shouldn't rely just on this...

    Most good PM Drs. will tailor a comprehensive pain program develop for you.

    This includes things to daily/weekly/monthly. Like

    aqua therapy
    TENS unit
    muscle relaxer
    nerve pain medication
    eating healthy
    maintaining a good weight
    not smoking

    Just to name a few...LOL

    But seriously....it's about doing all of these things when possible as each one will provide that small dent in the pain.

    Even then...with chronic pain the best a Dr. shoots for is a 5 on the pain scale.

    So...maybe you can clarify the med situation....Are on a muscle relaxer or nerve pain now as well?

    And start calling to PM's in your area asking if they provide Comprehensive Pain Mgmt. Do NOT ask if the prescribe narcotics...If you ask the former....this means that they do everything from injections to medication.

    Good luck..

  • Sorry for the confusion. To clarify. August 2010 I flipped off my corset and fractured t8 and t9 (compression fracture). I have had a 20 year history of lower back pain. Frequent bouts of sciatica. After healing from broken back I was still left wiith low back issues. Went through a year of injectios and 4 mri's later had hwrniated disk at L 5 S1. Had been on vicodin off and on for a year or so. Had discectomy April 27th. Was placed on oxycontin and percocet. Ran out of oxycontin monday and now running out of percocet and still in pain.
    So I failed to mention i did pt in between the back injections too.
    I understand they need to wean me off, bit a phone call or a less potent pain med would be more appropriate instead of ignoring me. I wouldn't walk into a doctors office asking for narcotics.LOL. just a second opinion. I just want to throw in the towel at this point and just live in pain. I feel I have been beaten down...I lost. Doc's win. I will bear with the pain and live a very unhappy painful life.
    I see other posts where people get a vicodin script when things get real bad. That is what I meant who cares if we have to take a vicodin or two to get through our day. Thanks for input.
  • Do you have a primary doc? if you dont i would recommend getting one immediately.

    You dont need a PM to get pain medication, in fact my Primary doc, not my PM, handles all my prescriptions, including the opiates. If your primary doc isnt comfortable giving you pain meds, see if you can at least get a refferal to a PM. Also usually every doc will want to run there own series of tests(even if youve done them before) before giving out pain meds for chronic pain, so it may take a few weeks for your primary doc or even PM, to give you a opiate medication.

    Another thing that might be beneficial is to just try going without the pain meds for a week or two. Once your body adjusts, you might find the pain isnt as bad as you thought, if you still experience extreme pain, you have all the more reason to require painkillers. (and tbh you may have to do this while a new doc is getting to know your condition)

    if at any point your pain becomes absolutely unbearable go to the ER or an Urgent Care facility.

    Good Luck! let us know what happens!
  • Feel like a junkie? A bad MOM?

    Please relax Mimi...btw that was my Acadian grandmother's nickname...her name was Carmen Comeaux but to us she was "Mimi"...a beautiful name that almost brings tears to my eyes.

    Just ask the surgeon to recommend Pain Management. Be honest, scrupuously. Ask for the anesthesiologist on staff if they have one. You have every right...give yourself the right...everyone else does. Be firm and assertive...do not try to appear symptomatic.

    I was on over 300 mg a day of oxy meds (Roxicodene and Oxycontin).This was a year after surgery. Swelling and pain in operated area would not desist. Had lots of "referred pain". "Why hello, I think I will refer that knee pain to your foot...now see if size 10.5 shoe really fits"

    Unfortunately, I had severe depresssion,impending doom and probably major testoserone issues. They kept me on Lexapro just so I could take the pain meds to try some new way to make a bad surgery or device go good. Eventually they "upped" the dose and then had to "up" the Lexapro...also Ambien so I could sleep...and I am a traffic engineer and working 40 hrs a week as well as a father (though son number 2 was eighteen and the only one left at home at that time).

    I had had it. Was planning on stepping into the path of a tractor trailer on I-95 "chasing after a spare tire that got away". Then Intervention came...He gave me a moment of clarity and that was all I needed. I jumped ship...returned all my medications to the prescribing doctor (who was great but she was out of her league), left the practice and went to a clinic where they used Suboxone to detox me.

    Unfortunately, the pain and swelling did not detox.So they kept me on Suboxone. Does not mess with the mind e.g. euphoria/depression, etc. The change was remarkable. Eventually, I found my way to Pain Management. I was prescribed the active anesthetic in Suboxone, buprenorphine, in a weekly patch form (great patches...never come off). Yes, all this costs a bit more than a few generic Percocets or Vicodins but insurance from work helps to an extent (nevertheless Aetna Insurance sucks, at least with our contract, as well as the authority they assign themselves...they try to preclude the physician 50% of the time). I have found optimum medication. Oxycontin, MS-Contin (morphine) much better pain mitigation but also make me insane. Better to be sane with some pain than insane with no pain.

    It is a process and if you are lucky you will get better and not need any meds. Not sure if I can write this.. but God (and I pray to Jesus)has guided me the whole way. I do not think that moment of clarity I had came from within the ball of confusion that was my mind at the time.

    You are going to be okay Mimi.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    This topic comes up almost weekly from different members. There have been hundreds of replies and suggestions.

    Instead of just answering this thread, I made a 'sticky' thread over in Pain Medications.

    Pain Medications - A quick summary
    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
  • So, you really weren't on Vicodin at all....just using that as an example? This is why it was so confusing...

    Have you contacted the surgeon who just did the surgery on April 27th?

    As mentioned...they will usually handle your post op pain only and yes....start recommending recovery PT and other modalities to help you after your surgery. As well as start weaning you down on your medication.

    Calling up any Dr. that you don't know to request Oxycontin and Percocet will not go over well at all.

    You aren't really considered "chronic" yet after this surgery since it's been less than two weeks...

    Did you take the medicine as prescribed? As in, was the prescription meant to last for 14 days or 30 days and you ran out early?

    I really think the Surgeon is your first choice since you are so close to the surgery...(I am assuming they are the ones who gave you the Oxycontin and Percocet)

    The PT you had was before this surgery....so I am speaking of having it afterwards when they ok it time wise...

    I also asked if you are on a muscle relaxer? This is something else that can be very helpful...

    And absolutely following to a T the Drs. orders after the surgery....

    No bending, twisting, lifting....and going VERY slow....

    I'm just not sure I understand your "I see others get a Vicodin script when things get bad"....

    Everyone has different things going on pain wise and everyone has a different treatment plan based on their situation.

    I'm just wondering if the surgeon is not returning your phone call if you maybe ran out sooner than they expected with the medication...I would double check the bottles to see what they say.

    And if something reads, "every 4 hours"...they don't mean 24 hours....They usually have a max per day...This is where it's very important to be clear of this with the Dr. who is prescribing...

    As mentioned...you can be trying to find a PM Dr. to take over your care as well. But he may not decide to prescribe a narcotic the first visit....

    As Ron's post mentions....Drs. are under a lot of pressure themselves...and I truly believe that most of them are in that field because they care about patients...But they have rules to follow....and getting to know the patient is an important one...

    Things are so much different than it was just 20 years ago....If someone had a surgery....or procedure....or chronic pain (non cancerous)....A small supply of Percocet was the standard when leaving the hospital....and that was it...

    Hopefully you can get an answer from the surgeon...or find a good PM Dr. in your area that will help you as I wrote in the last post...find a comprehensive plan to help with your pain...Again...the opiate is just one tiny piece of the puzzle and not to rely solely on this...

    I wish you luck.....

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