I am sure that you have read posts that talk about Immediate release and extended release pain medications.
Not every one understands the difference. I know I did not until I started using them and better understood their purpose.
The ones most of us know about are the Immediate release kind. That is the perocet, Vicodin, etc that many doctors prescribe when they first get involved with patients with spinal problems. These medications are designed to give you immediate relief, for first time users, they can get that 'high' initially. This takes your mind off the pain,it happens quickly, but it doesn't last long.
Then the extended release medications (ie Oxycontin) are designed to provide a patient with an even amount of pain relief during the course of a day. Thats why most prescriptions are written for 1 or 2 dosages a day, perhaps 3. Taking this type of pain medication does not provide you with that immediate relief nor will it generally provide any type of 'high' feeling.
I see a big problem with the Immediate relief type of medication. You (not meaning any one individual) take it, you find good relief, but several hours go by and the pain comes back and you look to take another pill, even if its before the prescribed time.
You grab for a pill, does that make you a drug abuser? a drug seeker? No, it just means that you are in pain and you are looking to find some relief. I do believe that this type of pain medication can get easily abused.
I dont see as much a problem with the Extended release. I recall so many times when I was taken this type (probably about 2 years straight), I never felt good, but I never felt bad either. It was more a less a calm. Then depending on the dosage of the extended medication and your condition, a breakthrough pain medical (Immediate relief) may be prescribed.
Those you take in between the time periods of the ER medication.
If I could graph both types of medications here, this is what it would look like
Immediate Relief: Up/Down Up/Down Up/Down Up/Down Up/Down
Extended Relief: Ok -------------- Ok -------------- Ok ---------------------- Ok
and for some
Extended Relief Ok -------------- Ok ---- >IR ----OK -------->IR--------- OK
The IR means when you need breakthrough medication to help.
No doctor wants to see their patients in pain, there is no question about that. The do want to make sure that they are prescribing the correct medication for their patient. Now, there will be times when the doctor and patient do not agree.
I will probably hear screams about this, but I would side with the doctors being correct. They are the trained one, they can read the diagnostic tests and from clinical examinations determine how much pain a patient is in. I have personally witnessed patients that just want to be pain free, so they keep asking for more medication, higher amounts, etc They just dont want to deal with the pain... And I cant blame anyone for not wanting to deal with the pain.
But nothing is always black and white.
Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences