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Advice please

Hi all,
I'm relatively new to the forum & I thank all of you for sharing your stories & hopefully you can help me. I'm a 38 yr old female with severe chronic pain. My diagnosis is as follows: low grade spondylolisthesis; herniated l5-s1 & c3-c4 disc; total l5-s1 disc degeneration w/ degen in l4-l5 disc; scoliosis (7° upper, 14° lower) w/ rotation; severe osteoarthritis l4-tailbone; & stenosis. I've already went through 6 rounds of epidurals & 1 round of facet injections as well as PT. SCS & fusion surgery (one or other depending on new xrays) I'm being told is my only option.

My issue is that even with the diagnosis' my pain level is hiring the ceiling in which i am told to take Motrin. The fact is that it doesn't touch the pain. Most days I can't get off the sofa. Added to the fact that I don't want surgery just yet. I based my decision on research of new medical evidence & findings as well as others people's experience.

It's it wrong to ask my Doctor(s) for narcotic pain med as part of pain management? Is there anything else that I can be doing?


  • I admire your tenacity but am surprised at your quality of life. If your not doing anything but laying down in order to cope with pain how do you live life? Does your doctor know this? Do you have a primary care provider or someone you see regularly?
  • @pandqmama

    My primary, anesthesiologist, & now my neurosurgeon knows. I filed disability which the primary signed off on & yes, I'm frustrated by not being able to even do the dishes w/out paying for it in pain. .. so yeah they prescribed Celexa for "anxiety" & Baclofen for the spasms.
  • pandqmamappandqmama Posts: 175
    edited 03/01/2014 - 5:35 AM
    I know some primary providers prescribe meds and some don't. If I were in your shoes, I would talk to my primary care provider and tell him or her about the quality of your life and ask their advice about how to improve it.

    When my pain started so many years ago I actually took my mother in with me to help me with the "you must help me" talk.
  • Im3uedIIm3ued Posts: 5
    edited 03/01/2014 - 7:48 AM
    Check your messages

    You agree NOT to post medical advice or as a medical professional to our forums.........
    Post edited by Sandi
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    Can't believe you even posted this bad information especially if you claim to be a former RN.
    Pretty sad actually.
  • @im3ued

    Thank you for the insight. Problem is that I've been dealing with pain for 10 yrs now & literally can't do anything at all. While agree with you on the surgical studies which state that fusion does stabilize the spine it ends up causing more long term nerve pain. BUT new medical Journals are publishing studies that show low dose Opioids provide relief that has a very low incident of health issues (ie ulcers, liver cell death, etc) for chronic pain as well as a low addiction rate (the human body will become physically dependent on anything used long term including NSAIDS. In fact, the FDA has asked pharmaceutical companies to discontinue drugs that have more than 325mg of acetaminophen due to studies that show anything more than 325mg does not increase effectiveness. Long term NSAID usage has negative long term health effects.

    What I think you're referring to (two aunts that are RNs one has a doctorates in nursing) is that many people show evidence of spine issues without ever knowing. When the nerves are impinged, don't care who you are, you're going to feel it! My options that I see thus far is getting script meds, get them on the street, or take a humane way out. So, I think I just answered my question.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond.
  • Are you seeing a specialist or your family doctor? Some doctors, even PM's don't prescribe narcotic medications. If that's the case with yours you could check what alternatives you have within traveling distance. I like to see doctors who are open to all the treatment options. You can ask questions on the phone & make an appointment just to discuss your case & get a feel for the doctor before you become a patient. I often take my husband with me. This effects his life nearly as much as mine. After traveling & waiting to see the doctor my pain levels are usually particularly bad. It's great to have his support, he often remembers to ask questions I forget & some things just sound better coming from a 3rd person..
    I'm trying to avoid surgery or at least delay it as long as possible. Have you read 'The Blend' here on Spine-Health? I've never found one 'magic bullet' that tackles my pain, believe me I've tried! I've lived on my sofa in the past & it only makes things worse. The depression alone made my pain intensify. I've slowly found my own 'blend' which includes diet, exercise & stretches, meditation & essential oils, heat, medications, support (you're here now..hope it helps!), knowing my limitations and most importantly my 'mind set'. Having my head in the right place & staying out of the deep, dark hole of depression makes all the difference.
    Narcotic medications are an essential part of my blend. I know it can be a really tricky subject these days. My advise is find the right doctor for you. Take someone along with you. Take your medical records & test results. Be very honest about your pain & life (or lack of life), how you feel about surgery etc. and ask them to help you develop your own 'blend'. For me it was about trial & error. Have an open mind & be willing to try things. I'm still a work in progress but at least I feel like I'm moving in the right direction now.
    It's truly terrible dealing with chronic pain everyday. I wish you the best ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • mcjimjammmcjimjam Posts: 307
    edited 03/01/2014 - 9:04 PM
    It surprises me that your doctors have not done more to relieve your pain. Are you certain that you express just how much pain you are in and the consequences it has at each appointment?

    If they don't seem interested in helping you it might be time to find a new pain clinic.
  • When I was in inordinate pain I took someone with me to verify how bad my pain was and how it effected my quality of life. It helped as I was in so much pain even getting there I don't think I could explain my situation well. Also my injury is thoracic and not common at all, so not many Dr's have seen it before which I did not realise until I researched. I thought they would be able to operate which they won't, and that it would eventually get better. It just got worse.

    I also took what I had written on spine health about my pain and no quality of life. Even my GP who had seen me in so much pain changed. It also saved me having to explain everything over again.
  • Great responses! Thank you all for taking the time!

    Yes I have taken my fiancé to almost every appointment which he had even asked for non-narcotic pain meds. I've had bad side effects with Gabapentin, Cymbalta, & Lyrica.

    Oh yes they do know my pain level. I'm very honest and scale it at an 8 most days I go in. Once I told them it was off their charts & even my pm had to help me get to & from the table. My pm filled out my rfi report for ssd.

    I do have specialists- an anesthesiologist from a pain clinic & recently the neurosurgeon. I called the anesthesiologist last week & told him I was dying so he did give me 5 days worth of Norco. I was able to clean my apartment & had just enough to walk almost a mile. I paid for it 4 days later. He said that was a one time deal.

    @ Englishgirl - you're 100% right! I had a blend that worked decently a few years ago but I was in a different state then. I do get depressed but I usually swing the other way and get angry. I've pushed myself so far that I've dropped to my knees on more than one occasion.

    ♡ to you all. Makes me feel better that I now know it's not all in my head
  • backpain1bbackpain1 Posts: 1
    edited 03/04/2014 - 8:41 AM

    Post edited to remove advice
    Post Edited by Liz The Spine-Health Moderator Team
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