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SCS & Meds

I hope I don't sound as stupid as I feel asking this question. I have had my scs for 14 years, the day it was implanted I came home and threw away my oxicontin, dilaudid and hydrocodone, went through withdraw from meds for a few weeks, used Vicodin during that time. I currently take: 3x800 mg gabapentin and 2x500 mg naproxen, once or twice a year I may get 60 vicodin 500 mg and they last me for the year.
I rely on my scs to control my pain, don't get me wrong I am still in Pain but unless I am hurting so bad that I can't think or concentrate I don't take pain meds. I am starting to think after reading post here that I should go back on something, but my whole reason for the scs was to leave pain meds behind.
I have been happy just to be able to walk and be able to take care of myself, without the scs I am in so much pain that I cannot even sit or stand. But after many years of being a zombie I have stayed away from so many meds. Should I seriously talk to my Dr. about meds, I get trigger point injections from time to time and rf maybe I need a new pain management Dr.
Confused about how much pain I should really deal with I guess.


  • What would you rate your pain levels on the 1-10 scale? Normally, there is some level of pain that we all must learn to live with, because the reality is that we can never return to the pain free staTte that we were in prior to our getting injured in the first place.....for me, that level is about a 5......my max levels can go as high as a 7.5 -to an 8, so I am quite happy to have a baseline pain level of a 4-5 on most days......
    but that is with using my pain medications, muscle relaxants religiously and only ever using my breakthrough meds on those days when the pain is climbing up to that 7.5-8 mark.......
    I also gauge my functional levels- ie, am able to do most of the ADLs on my own- functional level of 6, if I don't need help or have to make majjor adjustments.....functional level of 4 on those days when I need help or just can't manage those adl's without being able to make major adjustments or having someone else help me.
  • I spent a year in a hospital bed and wheelchair at 15 and again at 46, unable to do much of anything except eat and give myself a bed bath without help I consider my pain at about a 5/6 most of the time ( based on a 9/10, when I could not move an arm or leg with out crying). When I get a spasm that puts me on the floor I am back at a 9/10. My scs is on 24/7, without it I cannot walk, it cut my pain by about 50% a and gave me my life back without the use of pain meds. I do use a lot of self meditation, but it can be very taxing on my mind but I consider it worth the effort.
    I guess I was so happy at the improvement with the scs that I didn't want to go back to pain medications. But after 14 years the scs seems to be becoming less affective so I am going next month for reevaluation. Guess I'll have to go back on something.
    Wrote so much I hope I answered your question.

  • Thanks for answering my questions. As far as going back on pain medications, there is no shame in needing them . The shame is in living in pain. You have done all of the right things, and sadly one of the problems that I have heard about with scs is that after 10 years or so, it seems to become less effective. The muscle spasms could be a large part of the increased pain. Are you taking any muscle relaxants on a regular basis to help with those? I personally take two, tizanadine and baclofen both, since my spasms tend to be excrutiating when they occur. I was on just one of them at different times but have found the combination works best for me. I take both three times a day and it really does help.
    Have you had a recent new Ct scan to see if the leads are still where they need to be? this would also help to make sure that there are no other new problems that might be contributing to the pain levels. Can you call or visit your GP to get a prescription for one before your appointment with the new PM doctor? That way, he has the most current information regarding the position of the leads, stimulator and what the condition of your spine is right now......
    If you need anything , feel free to pm me......
  • I think any of us who get the scs implanted hope that the scs will work so well that we can just drop the meds, but for most of us, its just untrue. I am only two months out and have not yet decreased my fentynal patch (still hoping for that in the future) but I've been able to reduce my breakthrough pain meds by half.

    I think as the scs as a tool, not a cure. I think that if I wasn't still working, maybe I'd be able to reduce the meds more but there are many things I would loose by not working too. Mentally, I beat myself up enough, much less give myself eight more hours to make myself miserable. My muscles really spasm if I lay down to much, most of the time is a toss up, do i need to lay down because of my chronic pain or get walking because of my spasms.

    You are the only person who can answer this question. How are you rating your quality of life? Are you existing just to deal with the pain?

    Good Luck
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