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How to treat your pain once addicted to meds?

After 5 years of taking less meds then prescribed I started showing signs of addiction. I work in the mental health field and recognized the signs. I asked my doctor to reduce my meds and this month have gone totally non narcotic with Lyrica and Tramadol. It is not working. My quality of life is getting worse. I have had to cancel a fishing trip I take annually for 30 years and a monthly activity as well. I could ask my wife pass my meds daily but I am not sure if she will do it since while I was taking more than prescribed it impacted her and she thinks all opiates are bad. I am at a loss. Any suggestions?

Degenerative Disc Disease
Spinal Stenosis
Disc bulges
Annular tears


  • opiate medication. It is just as addictive as any other opiate if used improperly.
    Have you considered other conservative measures, such as injections or physical therapy? What exactly is the condition that you are being treated for?
    There are many other options, including biofeedback, injections, TENS, spinal cord stimulation if the pain is neuropathic in nature, yoga, tai-chi, swimming, etc that all help to ease pain.
    Your pm doctor can go over some of the alternatives with you based on your exact condition if the tramadol and lyrica aren't managing the pain well.
    Unfortunately, if you were abusing the medications previously, odds are that you would do so again, without the proper treatment/interventions in place.
  • Thanks for the replies. I know Tramadol was recently reclassified in the US. I have tried conservative treatments and they have not controlled the pain. I am getting a new set of injections this month but I have been getting them for 7 years. Sometimes they work great and sometimes have little effect. I am being treated for:
    1. Herniated Lumbrosacral Disc (ICD-772.10 (ICD10-M51.27
    2. SPONDYLOSIS, LUMBOSACRAL (ICD-721.3) (ICD10-M47.817
    and post traumatic arthritis from multiple fractured bones from a car accident.

    I have a TENS unit at home that I use in the evenings. I would love to live my life without pain medications but I can only take so much suffering. I belong to a 12 Step Program and as long as I take medication as prescribed it is not considered drug abuse. I personally had my doctor reduce my opiate medications down to none to try and live without them. It's not working for me. Everybody is different.
    Degenerative Disc Disease
    Spinal Stenosis
    Disc bulges
    Annular tears
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    edited 08/12/2014 - 3:16 PM
    I also have been a friend of Bill W ...... I have fully detoxed from meds several time 3-4 times over tn past 9 years. Here's what I simply found ..... My life was miserable without them ..... and miserable but tolerable with them .... as you may know the very nature of most any substance can lead us humans toward medication and result HABITUATION and the need to increase the dose. I find it an unfortunate price that we pay to get the benefit of the med. If you are honest most would admit to the occurrence. AS you know its all about choices. And the wisdom to know the difference.
    Spine-health Moderator
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  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 08/12/2014 - 4:09 AM
    time- might you have confused habituation with addiction? Many people do, assuming that tolerance issues ( needing a stronger dose of medication after some time on the same dosage ) is the same thing as misusing or addiction?
    The easiest way to explain the difference is that someone who is taking any medication for a chronic condition, has been on the same dose for a year or more, but find that the duration of the medication isn't lasting as long as it once did, nor is it relieving the pain as effectively. They talk to their doctor who increases the dose, and the patient's pain levels are once again under control. They don't take more than they are prescribed, nor take it more frequently. That is tolerance and will occur in anyone taking opiates for any extended period of time.
    Addiction is the intentional misuse, taking more than prescribed, of an opiate or other substance, despite the negative consequences in their lives- financial stability, family issues, work related problems, health concerns, chasing a high, whether it be physical or emotional. It is intentional misuse of a medication. It also can lead to criminal behavior at some point, doctor shopping, stealing medications from friends, family etc.
    If you did confuse the two conditions, you wouldn't be the only one who has. Many people do and assume that tolerance is the same as addiction.
    Either way, a discussion with your doctor is the place to start. With a history of addiction if that is what it is, safeguards, and checks can be put into place to help you stay on track. Since you have been with this doctor for awhile, he may be willing to consider trying different medications. Have you tried celebrex or voltaren for the arthritis? I use voltaren and it really does help on the days when the spinal arthritis is at it's worst.
    Another option that you may want to discuss with your doctor is spinal cord stimulation. I know that one of the newer units out there is supposed to offer some relief for mechanical pain as well as neuropathic. It might be worth asking about in your case.
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