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Pain relieving methods

Hey everyone,
I have had 2 spinal fusions and have live with severe pain for over a year and a half. I have gone to pain clinic but nothing has really worked for me. I go in for another pain clinic appointment next week. I was wondering what things have helped you guys because frankly I am willing to try anything.
Thanks in advance!


  • It really depends on what the cause of the ongoing pain is, and for most of us, it is a combination of different techniques and procedures, medications, excercise and distraction techniques used all together that lead to better overall control.
    Medications are just one small part of a good pain management program. Injections, regular excercise, physical therapy, stretching, use of muscle relaxants, neuropathic pain medications, anti inflammatories, ice, heat, massage, tens, yoga, swimming, all work together . Some do add a spinal cord stimulator in some cases if the pain is primarily neuropathic if the medications don't work.
    The thing is , nothing is going to eliminate the pain, so you have to use a variety of combinations to get the best pain relief that you can get. For me a 50% reduction is tolerable.



  • I know that it all depends but I'm just wanting to see the different things that have worked for other people. I myself have tried the Tens, acupuncture, countless PT and OT sessions and even massage along with opiates and gabapentin, Lidacaine patches and I still have a 9/10 constant stabbing pain. When I go to pain clinic they ask me what I would like to try so I would like to be able to go and be informed and have some things I can suggest.
  • Have you tried aqua therapy? I swim in my pool, and honestly, it is probably the most helpful thing. The weightlessness takes some of the pressure off my spine.....and the water feels really good and relaxes me. Walking across the pool allows me to get a bit of resistance without the added gravity .
    Walking, taking short walks, in the evening or morning helps to ease the stiffness that comes every day when I wake up. I also use topical ointments you can buy in the pharmacy for those days when my muscles just ache and the relaxants are doing enough.
    A massage helps once in a while but I don't do that too often since it tends to make me sore a few days afterward.....I can't use a TENS unit because of all of the nerve damage or I would use that too.
    Ice and heat helps when the humidity levels are up and it causes inflammation related pain.
  • Aqua therapy, out of all the things I'm doing post op has helped Me the most in My recovery.I use the heated pool everyday for walking, walking backwards side wards etc. This an accupunture ,has done wonders for me.I am now 6 months post op, and my nerve pain in the calf has gone and my burning soul under my foot has resided too.I read it on here , and people swear by it, so I decided to try it for myself It has worked for me .all I have now is some nerve pain in buttocks .. that could be muscular as it moves. I'm hoping that will get better in time.


    Tlif L5S1 fusion on the 14th Jan 2014
  • Is the main pain right in your spine? That stabbing, deep, grinding pain..ugh! Do they think it's structural? Have you had recent diagnostic tests to rule out anything they can 'sort-out' with procedures/surgery. Has this pain been constant since fusion (what levels?) & did you have it before?

    I'm so sorry. Constant pain is a nightmare to live with. Does anything bring it down from the 9/10 hard to concentrate & focus agony?
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • For me it's a combination of gabapentin ,Anti inflammatories,voltarol ointment,heat therapy,through a heated thermal back wrap,or a warm bath.stretches,walking and if I'm having a flare I add co codamol and and oral morphine if really needed,although I try to avoid morphine. This is my blend that works best for my back pain...
    Everyone is different so what works for one may not work for another...
    Someone mentioned on here they use tea tree oil it's an anti inflammatory ..

    I hope you find something that works for you....been in constant pain 9/10 is no fun what's so ever ...
    Facet joint Arthritis L3,L4,L5,DDD.
  • EnglishGirl, nothing has really helped. The opiates have helped the most but barely bring my pain down 1 point. I haven't had any diagnostic tests for the pain. They think it is structural, muscular, and nerve but they have said they aren't for sure. I did have the pain after my first surgery but it wasn't as severe (7/10) and it has been constant ever since. I had my occiput.-C2 fused.
  • I'd push for diagnostic tests then. Everything, even physical therapy was better for me once they knew exactly what was causing my pain. Once the results are in there could be procedures to get the inflammation down around the nerves (epidural steroid injections) or 'kill' nerves RFA etc.
    While you're waiting for that there are the nerve & muscle meds that others have mentioned. If muscle spasms are causing pain your doc might be able to do trigger point shots (you can search them at the top). My doc does them at a regular appointment. They inject lidocaine or Botox & steroids into the muscles to 'freeze & heal' them.

    Have a chat with your clinic & see what they suggest. The diagnostic tests would be my No.1 thing to ask about. If the pain is structural & the meds aren't helping maybe they could try a different narcotic. Some work better for me than others. Have you been on the same narcotic for a while? Has it ever helped? I have a compounded ketamine cream that contains nerve & muscle meds, it really helps me.

    Hopefully they will come-up with an action plan now. ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • Just a quick update after my appointment. We are adding cymbalta because I have been clinically diagnosed with and now treated for depression (which I already guessed that). We will then wean off the gabapentin and after a month try to wean the methadone that I have been on to see how that works. Thank you everyone for your love, support and ideas, it truly has helped!
  • Hi! I know you already had you r appointment, but I was curious. If your pain levels are that high (9/10), why are you being taken off 2 of the most well-reputed meds? I have taken Cymbalta; it helped some but I am allergic. Gabapentin was a GOD send for years. I am now on the Butrans patch, similar to methadone. 50 times stronger than morphine but no high.
  • 102876. I hope you get on well with the Cymbalta. I know it takes a while to titrate up & it can make you a bit sleepy in the beginning. It did me but that went away after a week or so.
    Did you get the opportunity to discuss more tests & treatments? What else did they say? I'm a bit confused that they're reducing your other meds while you're still in so much pain. I've read that a few times lately. I've tried coming off of different meds in the past just to see how much difference they were really making but only when I've got a good handle on my pain with other things. Are they planning on you just taking Cymbalta eventually or are they moving you to a different nerve med & narcotic?
    What was their take on the muscle spasms?
    Depression & chronic pain go hand in hand. I've suffered over the years. I'm sorry. It's so hard to keep a positive outlook sometimes isn't it? Ron calls it 'The Beast' hopefully Cymbalta will be a great weapon for you. ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • 1028761102876 Posts: 248
    edited 07/23/2014 - 8:49 PM
    They took me off the gabapenting because no matter how much they increases the dose it did nothing to help my pain whatsoever. The methadone would go down slightly to see if it makes a difference because that hasn't made a difference with my pain also and this would allow them to see if we need to switch to a different opiate ect.. I actually did have them look at my MRI's, CT's and XRays from my surgery which didn't help much. I also forgo I did has an EEG and EMG which didn't bro either. I will actually be most likely heading to my surgeon because I have been having a painful popping in my neck. At first it wasn't a concern but now that I have tried different meds and PT we are worked about what it may be. We are still seeing a PT and hoping that would work but if not and if medicines don't working will most likely be headed for surgery. I hope not but at least we are getting answers. I actually saw a new PT who works specifically for neuro patients and she was like you need to overpower the pain and suck it up. You need to become the driver. It's frustrating because I know she hasn't dealt with pain for as long as I have and it isn't something I can just think away. She pretty much disregarded and belittled my pain. I know I can't let it be the driver but I can't walk around pretending it isn't there. Talk about FRUSTRATING!!!
  • joe.gutierrezjjoe.gutierrez Posts: 6
    edited 07/24/2014 - 12:52 AM
    I have nerve damage to my left foot. The Dr prescribed Gabapentin. I was on the 100mg then the 300mg and now 600mg. I still feel the sharp stabbing pain. What other medication is out there to help with the pain? Right now I can't put a sock or shoe on. When I go out I wear flip flops and even that kills my foot.
  • There is still room to increase the Gabapentin. I'm on 3600 mg a day. There is also Cymbalta, Topamax, Lyrica and Amitriptyline. For me the combination of Gabapentin and Cymbalta have been the most effective so far. Everyone responds differently to medications so it can take time to find the ones that work.
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • horselady21hhorselady21 Posts: 174
    edited 07/25/2014 - 6:08 AM
    I was on 2700 mg. You have a long way to go. A lot of Dr.'s don't know how high you need to go on that med to get results.
  • PinkellaPPinkella Posts: 211
    edited 07/25/2014 - 4:01 PM
    Gabapentin works at different doses for different people...I've know people get relief from pain at 600mg daily and others need 3000mg to get any relief...I think if the pain is more mechanical then this drug is most likely not going to help your pain but if its nerve pain your suffering then there's a good chance it will help but You just maybe need to alter the dose...with the help and consent of your doctor....
    Facet joint Arthritis L3,L4,L5,DDD.
  • Hi, This is my first post. I have had chronic lower back pain for over 15 years.I have tried every method that all of my doctors told me that was available,but my final only relief answer from a neurosurgeon at a pain clinic who did another mri on me, for my 9 to 10 pain levels, was that he told my pcp to double my opiate rx to a very unusually high dose.This works family well but on regular occasions it doesn't help my lower back pain at all.Recently I get awfully pain in my neck, shoulders and middle to upper back, which nothing helps this new area of pain.
    I have tried many different painkillers over time, starting with very weak types and low doses until over 3 years ago when I was finally prescribed a very strong opiate that I take now.I went to: a chiropractor, several pcp's, physical and pool therapy, tens unit, icy hot patches, lidocaine patches, several pain clinics, steroid shots to my back, and even more which my poor memory doesn't remember. I finally was so desperate to find relief from this life ruining pain, that once I was finally told that my m r I showed lumbar 4 and 5 discs were herniated; I finally decided to change my mind and have back surgery.It was unsuccessful and one of the surgeons (not the neurosurgeon), accidentally cut one of my major arteries which caused an extremely serious blood clot.So 2 days after coming home from the week long surgery hospitalization, I was rushed by an ambulance and the eats had to carry me out of my house on a stretcher.When I got to the hospitals e.r. all of the nurses just stared because this was the worst blood clot and the swelling to double size of my entire leg.Then 2 years later I developed life threatening abcesses in the surgery area.I have done some research and now think that my 2 titanium discs got infected.This has happened to others like my case.Has anyone else experienced any things like this? I'm afraid of developing more scary abcesses. ...- Lisa 19
  • http://www.spine-health.com/forum/announcements/spine-health-announcements/welcome-message-resource

    What kind of surgery did you have? Are you certain that you developed abcesses in the hardware? Or is that what you think happened?
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