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Opioid/opiate Resistance

I have spinal stenosis at several levels. Lumbar has responded well to neurosurgery in 1992 and 1996 but chronic pain and spasm are not helped by medication-and I've been prescribed most available in my country.
Epidurals,trigger-point injections and numerous procedures have not helped. I have a SCS implanted for leg/lumbar pain,which is a major help but as my cervical stenosis increases,my quality of life deteriorates.

I have read many posts where people complain of arm weakness and loss of power,headaches,neckpain and many people seem to be unaware that these are symptoms of severe compression of cervical discs which need to be assessed quickly. Yes,you cannot have an MRI with a SCS implanted,but a CT scan will show clearly the severity of compression and do have this carried out as soon as possible as the discs may be herniating.

Meantime,while I decide with my neurosurgeon when I need surgery, I am,and have been for years,resistant to the effects of medication. Is there anyone else who has this problem? If so,how do you cope? I use meditation and it can be of use-if one persists and is consistent with it's use. I have found Jon Kabatt-Zinn's Full Guided Mindfulness,and his guidance in general,a help.

I have to travel long distances to see my consultants,and surgeries.consultations and procedures are incredibly expensive. I struggle to pay two sets of private health insurance to cover most (our public health system is in a shambles for years now,and growing worse). I cannot travel by car because I need to stand,walk and change position often so I travel 4 hours by train each way and taxi-that takes stamina and leaves the pain in worse condition. I often have to stay overnight,at more cost,to enable the return journey.
Anyone out there in my position(s)? I would be glad to hear from another like me. Because of the loss of power in my arms,I cannot often use my keyboard,so replies or further posts will be slow!



  • I remember before i had my cervical surgery i was in immense pain, all the medications i was taking couldn't touch my pain and i had to go out of town to see my surgeon. I had bladder urgency and it was so bad i was going to the washroom every ten. min. day and night for a long time.It was very frustrating for me to have to go out of town to see him but i knew he was my best shot and getting better. So i grinned and bared it. I understand what you mean about the long journey making the pain worse because i suffered the same thing,i was so happy when he told me that he would do the operation. My pain at that time was so unbearable that i was contemplating suicide. My neurologist told me that opiods for allot of people don't take care of the nerve pain,that was when she switched me to gabapentin. It was my life saver, it controlled my pain for a while but the pain slowly crept back in and by the time i was to have my surgery done the pain was severe again. I don't think i slept at all the night before my surgery,i spent most of my night in a warm bath while the rest of my family were in bed asleep. I spent allot of time meditating as well through the really tough pain periods. I found it a relief,i got fairly good at it and could escape from the pain.I really hope that your surgery comes soon for you as i know that its not easy to be in pain every day.
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    edited 10/18/2012 - 2:57 AM
    I used to have to travel extensively in my former consulting position to all parts of the states. Flying for hours and driving for hours when near site. I have had 5 cervical surgeries and now and suffering from lumber degeneration. I have been declared "opiate tolerate" several times over the past 7+ years - with the only real action being complete and very discomfortable complete detox - in lieu of future efficacy. All this leading to SSD 2+ years ago after a 16 month trial and tribulation. The middle of the night warm tub sequnce rings many bells. Currently on 100 mcg Fenytnyl Q 2 days in addition to 3 - 10/mg Norco per day. The Fentynl often causing n/v. Given the choice of severe pain or N/V, I choose N/V .... It s all a slide torward an unavoidable end. I don't know of this answered any of your questions - just maybe a shared experience, psuedo solution. My driving privelges have been medically revoked.

    Many warm tubby regards,

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  • Tammy and Metalneck,thank you! Reassuring to hear from both of you. Unfortunately,Tammy,I had no success with anticonvulsants either! Metalneck,we're in the same boat-and no engine nor paddles! SCS helping lumbar/leg pain now it's been set properly again but upper spinal degeneration continues unabated. Epidural trials have failed to aid arm/hand power and no reduction in cervical disc compression. Neurosurgery will be the ultimate trial-trying to postpone for as long as possible. Zipper indeed! Your sense of humour seems to be as black as my own-that helps! Agreed-shared experience is a pseudo-resolution! Withdrawing from Fentanyl gradually,down to 25mcg.and moving on down. It negates driving insurance but facing into driving again will take time,confidence gone. As you said,sliding towards the inevitable eventually...
    Hope you have some activity and can get out occasionally. Thanks again!
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    edited 11/09/2012 - 2:42 AM
    Opiate Habituation ..... sounds so much less ugly than addiction, with its "back ally" conotations. We can wean and then start over again. But then again I just switched to Diladid for brake through with good results. If I need to detox again in the future I will .... much less scarry after you've gone through it a couple of times. Good to feel the full force of the pain - and to try the fly swatters (Motrin - Flexiril - Valium) at the aircraft carrier to realize what the heavy meds really DO provide.

    Warmest regards - keep up the tough work,

    Spine-health Moderator
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  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    edited 11/10/2012 - 10:26 AM
    The 1 - 8 hour soltion is Relistor .... designed for opiate people wih constant constipation is Reilstor, Produces BM in 1-8 hours

    Self admin sub q INJ evey other day or as needed, Based on last weeks hospital stay,


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  • Thank you for the Relistor advice, was put on 10mg Opana ER every 12 hrs, since 10/1/12. Have had horrible Bowel problems since put on the Opana ER, and on the Norco 10/325 for break thru pain.

    ACDF C4-C7 5/13/2010. Synthetic Bone Graft Failed Fusion.
    PCF C4-C7 8/13/13. Rods and Screws Fused in 3 Months with Autograft.
    C6-C7 Spineous process Surgically Shaved Off 3/11/14.
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