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Why can't doctors let you be pain free?

gaj399ggaj399 Posts: 270
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:03 AM in Pain Management
Most, if not all doctors medicate us just enough to get by or sometimes not even anywhere near that much. I understand all the reasons for not medicating you too much, like addiction, overdose, and such. I'm not talking about all the time, just an occasional important time, such as a childs wedding or graduation. I missed two very important graduation ceremonies this year, I just couldn't sit for that period of time. I get along great with my pain doctor, and yet I would never think of asking for more meds, not for any reason, we have worked over 6 years adjusting meds up and down, and now that I'm going to be needing pain meds long term because of more surgeries upcoming, I certainly wouldn't want to do anything to lose the trust we have built.

I guess I'm just feeling sorry for myself and wishing there was a miracle drug that would take all your pain away for 6 or 8 hours, so you could attend these really important events.

My family is very supportive and understand that I cannot attend these long sitting or standing events, which sometimes makes me feel even worse if you know what I mean.

Maybe someone will invent a pain block for total relief for a short period. A person can only hope.

wishing you all a less painful night and tomorrow!


  • A couple years ago with a previous doctor, I just explained an upcoming travel situation and asked for his advice. Did not ask for and tried not to imply I was seeking additional meds. He very nicely offered several options involving higher dosages and/or temporary new meds. We discussed pros, cons and concerns and he gave my choice. This PM Dr unfortunately moved out of the area.

    I would be hesitant to ask my new PM after just 4 months. Hopefully such a situation won't arise again until I've been with him much longer. Then I'd be surprised if he did not try to be helpful, if he could.
    Severe DDD, Severe neural foraminal stenosis at 2 levels, moderate canal stenosis at 2 levels, significantly impaired left shoulder & arm function. Chronic moderate compression fracture at C6.
  • But even with the higher dose I'm not able to sit for the amount of time it takes for a grad ceremony (we tried it before) so I said thanks, but it just doesn't handle the pain from sitting, sitting is the worst for me.
  • Can I ask what type of pain you experience when sitting?

    Also, I don't know all the reasons for doctors to not aim for 100% relief, but I think if my doctor had said my SCS (as an example) would give full relief but then failed, I'd be inconsolable. I'd question what I did wrong. I'd question if maybe I did something to deserve this. I'd question what I could have done differently. In general, I'd believe that I was the failure and not the treatment and chances are I would lose hope. And because what they give me might not work for you, and what they give you might only help me marginally, I think it's difficult to offer results but not get them. Part of it might just be that it's a crap shoot on what may or may not work, and people today are very litigious and might sue because their doctor said they'd get total relief. ???

    And the other side of the coin of course is if you find something that works, a pill for instance, your body may grow tolerant and it becomes a matter of constant dose increasing to maintain it. With that, there are of course risks such as the above mentioned tolerance, dependence, etc. and I think deep down most doctors would prefer to not use long term medications.

    Finally, I believe that feeling some pain is important and natural. Pain generally tells us something is wrong and to either stop what you're doing or get help. If we were medicated to a degree of no pain, how would we know something is wrong?

    These are just thoughts and represent my opinion only. I don't know why they do things the way they do, but I'm curious what my doctor would say to the question you posed.

    Good luck!
  • a wish or maybe a hope that at some time there could be some way for Chronic pain sufferers to get an 8 hour reprieve, no pain at all for that long so that you could walk your daughter down the aisle, or see your child graduate after working so hard to accomplish their goal.

  • I myself have been in your situation. I recently had to go to my step-daughters first softball game. The two hours sitting on metal bleachers was almost unbearable even with pain meds. It does seem like there should be something that we can use in situations like this where we really need to be there without being in extreme pain. Her BM would never have understood if I didnt show up, so I had to put a smile on my face and bear with it, but I totally understand where you are coming from.
  • I'm fed up with my pain management doc too. The meds they give me help a little and I understand that they want to avoid giving patients better, but more hardcore drugs, but I am miserable every waking moment. I don't expect to be 100% pain free ever, but at least give me something that will allow me to have somewhat of a normal life and enjoy being alive instead of feeling sore and depressed to the point where you wish you were dead.
  • Hello Gary,
    The notion of full pain relief is a myth and even to suggest this to the patient that this could be possible and anything other than that then becomes very disappointing when it was never realistic in the first place.

    If doing certain things is important then that in itself has to become our focus and priority, when the pain is bad we rest, and the best option is to pace, chronic pain is not the same as acute pain and it is incorrect to equate hurt with harm, do all the things that make the pain less and nothing to make it worse.

    Make the situation work for you, you do not have to sit all the time, sit where you can stand and walk about, you have a disability that needs specific ways of living so adapt your situation to those needs, I changed jobs, sit stand then walk about, it is unrealistic on yourself to sit in one position and expect to function as normal. Adapt your surroundings to your needs, this is chronic pain you have.

    Good luck with the ceremony these things are important to others who want you to go, be positive, take your coping skills into the outside world and be assertive to your specific needs. If you have pain every day you are a strong person inside, be vocal and proud of your daily achievements.

    Wishing is not doing, what can you do to help yourself rather than waiting for others to provide relief that is less than adequate.

    Take care, pain is about learning from yourself, through trial and error, sometimes it works the key is never to stop trying, no one thing may help but collectively all those little changes together, will help.Good luck Gary, focus on what you can do and pain is what you have, adapt.

    John BA Hons, HRM OB. pain management.

    From my understanding pain free is not possible, Prof Melzack and Wall wrote extensively on chronic PM.
  • now for 6 years, not a long time compared to some on this forum, but it seems like a lifetime at times to me.

    I've learned many tricks to get through, some work and some don't. My last attempt at a graduation ceremony, I tried to sit in the back so I could get up and down once in a while. I was nearly run down with people trying to do video's of their kids special event, or just getting pictures.

    At this point I'm forced to use a walker at any event that I have to walk more than a hundred yards or so. It makes it hard to dodge others and stay out of the way.

    I have decided until I improve, that I'll use my wheelchair, this allows a little more comfort with pillows tucked in around me. It's not perfect, but at least I won't miss some of these events.

    As for when my daughter needs to be walked down the aisle, if I'm still alive, I will find a way, and I will be smiling with no pain showing through. Somehow I know she deserves not to worry about me for a day. It needs to be her day.

    Thank you everyone for your advise, it's always a comfort to know that there is always someone who is willing to try to help out here on spine health.
  • You are helping yourself and nobody could ask anymore that just to try your best. Although I have had a lifetime of pain I also have a lifetime of experience to deal with it,I am stronger and stoic.

    You have a plan for the future and thinking of others which is a gift.

    Take care, you can do this.

  • Have you talked about Fentenal pain patch? This provide me with 2 to 2 1/2 days of 60% reduction in pain. I then could manage breakthrough with oral meds.
    Jeff f.
    Milwaukee, WI
    Medtronic's since 2007
    35 yrs old
  • Is my main long term medication. It's what gets me through what I do manage to get to do. I also have a breakthrough medication and valium for back spasms. Unfortunately I'm alergic to most drugs like flexeril which limits what my pain doctor can do to loosen up things when I have a flair. My doctor has offered me a few (5) 100 mcg patches to wear during these important occasions. I does help some but I really hate to use more drugs. The results are not good enough to risk increasing the tolerance as far as I'm concerned. At this point, I'm trying to handle these events in other ways, such as the wheelchair and pillows and such. One thing I've learned over the last 6 years is that drugs need to be as small a part of what I do to get by as possible.

    Thanks everyone for your help and incouragement. Some days are hard to get through and re-reading some older posts might make me sad for what I've missed, but there are also so many people who want to help and do! Spine Health has been a Godsend.


  • I hear you and dream of it as well, no pain, no neuropathy, no aches, no burning, no med side effects (fentanyl crazy nightmare dreams I'm looking at you)..

    You're no alone, I too dream of this...

    ...but I know it's just a dream and will likely never come.

    That and once it ever did, what would be the sacrifice for it.

    After a true paincation, going back would be an act in selling your soul as who would want to go back?

    It would be tough to be free and then caged again.

    When I feel like that I get in the sun ASAP and remind myself of the recovery room from my first surgery.

    I get thankful from where I am at much faster.

    I get your sitting thing. Missing three discs in my lumbar spine.

    Sitting in a reg 90 degree back chair is a REAL nightmare.

    Best of luck & when it's hard, know you're not alone...
    Jun 2011 -TLIF @L5-S1
    Mar 2012 -NonUnion @L5S1
    May 2012 -Multi Level Discography
    July 2012 -XLIF 2Cages @L3L4/L4L5
    Aug 2012 -All New Hardware @L34L45/L4L5/L5S1
    Mar 2013 -FBSS = Pain Management until they figure it out.
  • Many doctors have the attitude that they know everything about health, that it is their job to tell you what to do and your job to follow your doctor's orders. Dr. Knowledge says that it is your body. You should be your own health expert. You make the decisions with your doctor as an adviser. Take advantage of any free doctor advice you can get from your doctor but recognize that it is only one opinion.
  • gaj399ggaj399 Posts: 270
    edited 10/22/2012 - 6:47 AM
    I know this is just my opinion, but he does all the things that make a difference. He listens, he's not afraid to change meds to try to get a better blend that works the best for me. With all the nightmares I hear about pm docs, I'm so glad for what I have, a trusting relationship with a very professional man.

    I wish I could get on with the shoulder surgery and the L2-4, but I'm one of the unlucky ones who was injected with the tainted steroid, They are pretty sure I'm in the clear, because I don't have any symptoms and it's been over 10 weeks since I had the esi done, but they do not want to do any surgery on me until at least 6 months out from the injections just to make sure.

    I have total confidence in my surgeon and PT team, so I really want this done(shoulder), I know it will only help part of the problem, but I'm hoping at least one of the pains will be fixed.

  • Doctors are caught in a position of a conflict of interest. My primary care doctor is showing signs of this now and I'm about to fire her as a result. They will start to show signs of putting their own interests first and yours second (at best). You just have to pray you can replace your doctor. I got to see a new pain management doctor recently and I think at long last I might have a winner. But on the other side, I understand the doctors perspective. They are going to prison. The DEA needs to be gutted. It's completely out of control and has not been audited in over a decade. Just given free reign. The media (moronic) coverage of oxycontin doesn't help.
  • gliders1ggliders1 Posts: 62
    edited 12/08/2012 - 6:32 AM
    greg702 said:
    I'm fed up with my pain management doc too. The meds they give me help a little and I understand that they want to avoid giving patients better, but more hardcore drugs, but I am miserable every waking moment. I don't expect to be 100% pain free ever, but at least give me something that will allow me to have somewhat of a normal life and enjoy being alive instead of feeling sore and depressed to the point where you wish you were dead.
    Love my PM, no complaints there, but he does not prescribe narcotics, I knew that when I went to him. We have tried numerous meds and injections, as well as PT, and recently, just last week actually, he installed my SCS implant. But I did have Vicodin-just for breakthrough pain, taken very sparingly and only when I really needed it, prescribed by my primary. Now, she tells me that she won't prescribe it any more! What a slap in the face! I have been her patient for over 20 yrs and have never given her any reason for mistrust! I will quote myself from FB this morning. As you can see, I am very very angry and frustrated right now, so I definitely know where you're coming from.
    "Isn't it nice how the criminals of this world slowly take away the rights of those of us non-criminals each and every day? For instance, my right as a human being to not suffer, to not be in constant pain day in and day out? Because of a law which makes doctors scared-to-death of prescribing anything, even medications they in their hearts and medical knowledge know will benefit and make all the difference in the world in the life of a patient that lives in constant pain(and who they know to be trustworthy)? I want to work, to be a productive member of society, a task that's becoming harder and harder every day. Probably alot of people look at me and think oh, she's not really in that much pain, she's exaggarating. But the truth is, I hide it well, from most people, maybe too well, but people who really trully know me can see it in my eyes! I'm just angry right now, I feel angry and let down. What am I supposed to do when the pain gets too bad, shoot myself? No, even then there are people who will believe that it couldn't have been that I was suffering, no, I must have had some other issues.....
    I am still in pain, will always be in pain, till the day I die. The surgery I just had a little over a week ago was for a Spinal Cord Stimulator, which helps and I am grateful for it, but it does not fix the issues with my back and they are progressive, which means eventually the stim will not help either, and then they would install a pump. I'm at a loss right now, just don't know where to turn. I just don't know..............."

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