Good day everyone. Ok long story short I was a professional Wildland firefighter for 15+ years. I suffered a broken back at work and have been in horrible pain since. I had a break at L5-S1 in 2011 and have been fighting constant pain ever since. In February 2012 I had a spinal fusion (partial disc removal w/cage installed, screws and rods, the works I guess) and I've also had a Rhyzotomy procedure to reduce pain with little to no success. I felt somewhat better after the fusion surgery, but in the past few months pain has steadily increased as have my medications. After surgery I could get around ok with a 50 mg Tramadol or 2 after about 4-5 months of healing. Well that turned into 5/500 Vicodin, then to 7.5/325 Vicodin, 5 mg percs then 10 mg percs and now I'm on 25 mcg Fentanyl and Tramadol for BT pain. Well as of about 2 months ago the Tramadol is a no go for relief anymore (now realize I needed the Tramadol and Fentanyl daily for ANY kind of relief daily, no longer using the Tramadol for BT pain, I need it along with the Fentanyl, and something stronger now as Tramadol is not working). I have tried both the Tramadol 50 mg and the Tramadol 200 mg ER along with the Fentanyl to try to minimize my opiate intake since I'm only 35, but I'm running out of ideas and guess I need to step up to the hydro or Oxycodone along with the Fentanyl.
My question to the forum is this, should I be looking to increase the patches to a Fentanyl 50 mcg since I always need another drug with it for pain relief or would it be better to stay on the 25 mcg patches and up the BT drug to something higher? Up the patch and BT drugs?
Also I'm under the care of a PM doctor for all this medication nonsense ( for the past year) and he has talked about a small implanted stimulator that "could" help with pain relief? Anyone have any experience with these devices? I'm open to about anything as I'm honestly nervous about being on meds this strong at age 35, since opiate tolerance only increases and the drugs will need to get stronger over time and I don't want to be on 100 mcg patches and 10 percs a day in 10 years.
Thanks much for your time, Chris