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Alternatives to hydrocodone for thoracic back pain

dsk67ddsk67 Posts: 2
edited 03/25/2014 - 12:54 PM in Pain Medications
Hi all, first off, this is my first post in the forums, I hope this is the correct sub-forum to post in. Basically, in late 2012 I was weight lifting and felt a sharp shooting pain in my upper back below my left shoulder blade. I thought it would go away after a few weeks, as the docs kept telling me, and surely enough to this day I still suffer from bouts of intense pain and frequent prolonged milder pains throughout the day.

I am currently prescribed 10/300 hydrocodones after starting over a year ago with 7.5/500. I am 25 years old, and I recently told my parents about how long I have been taking hydrocodone, and they are worried about addiction and dependence problems. In no way do I want to be taking these drugs forever, and am seeking others with similar problems about what medications they take and what works best for them, especially drugs that would not form addiction.

A little about my pain history:
-I have seen many doctors, including spine specialists. X-rays nor MRI scans showed no abnormailities in my back (2012)
-I did PT in early 2013 for 2 months with no relief.
-I did chiropractic/ massage therapy afterwards for 6 months with more pain after massages and eventually stopped. I took magnesium powder at night per the chiropractor's recommendation for my muscles but didnt feel much relief.
-I moved across the country and have been doing PT for 8 weeks so far, with no relief. I am doing tons of back stretches every day in accordance with my PTs recommendations on top of appointments. I currently see my PCP once every few months for updates and refills on my hydrocodone.
-In the past I hav tried countless medications, of which none gave me any relief like hydrocodone, which was our last drug we tried. Those drugs included: Skelaxin (metaxalone), Robaxin (methocarbamol), flexeril, toradol, ibuprofen 800mg, naproxyn 500mg, methylprednisone (made me nauseous as hell, so I was told to stop), tramadol, tylenol 3, and Im sure others I cant think of right now.

Currently, my therapist has told me that my scapular and trapezius muscles have been overcompensating for my back problem for so long that I have lost all curvature in my thoracic spine, which is causing my pain. My pain extends from T3 to the lower lumbar region, although predominant around T5-6.

Sorry for the long story, but I am actively looking to try something else or find something to lay on to help correct my spine. I discussed Lyrica with my doctor but am afraid to try something new when I know my hydrocodone is helping me find relief. Thank you for any and all input.
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Comments

  • It sounds like you have exhausted the non-addictive options. Aspirin, Tylenol, NSAIDs, muscle relaxants.. That's about it. Addiction is a possibility with opioids, not a certainty. The fact that you have taken them for a couple of years now without problems is a good sign, IMO. Probably if you were going to abuse the med, you would have by now. That's the key, really. Use it responsibility. Follow your prescriber's directions to a T and you will be fine. Don't fix what aint broken. You've tried all the weaker, safer drugs than hydrocodone and if it works there is no reason to switch to the stronger, more dangerous drugs.
  • Thank you for your input. The directions for my hydrocodone are 1 in the morning and one at night. However, sometimes I skip the morning if my back isn't too bad, but may take 2 hydrocodone sometimes at night when 1 isn't relieving my pain. Tolerance is a real issue after being on it for so long. My tolerance will just go up from here which I am worried about
  • mcjimjammmcjimjam Posts: 307
    edited 03/25/2014 - 2:43 PM
    If you are in pain most of the time and use the med every day you might want to ask your doc about extended release options. These are supposed to have less problem with tolerance for as some reason. Instant release opioids are better for occasional use.
  • So I know it's been a while, but I couldn't help but notice the similarities between you and I.

    I am 26 years old. For about 2 years and 2 months now I have been struggling with mysterious thoracic back pain. I've had full body X-rays, MRIs, CT Scans, blood tests, years of Physical Therapy, chiropractic care, massages, and I have tried practically every drug available. I've seen rheumatologists, orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, pain specialists, etc..

    Nobody has any idea what is causing my thoracic back pain.

    Have you discovered what your injury was or have you found a way to alleviate the pain? 
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,888
    edited 11/29/2016 - 10:00 AM
    dsk67 has not been on the forum for 2 years, soon after creating this discussion so will not respond.

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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