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Pain Medication - Is it the Answer?

Once you have been on these forum boards for a while and/or dealt with chronic pain for a while, the word narcotics becomes almost common.

Here, so many times the concept gets abused. Too many people believe that the only way they can be comfortable is be having pain medications , and when their initial dosage isnt working, they want more, and then more and then more.

That is just one of the ways narcotics get abused and why the DEA is so very important today.

Just in the past two weeks, I 've been answering posts about members who say their current pain medication isnt enough, their doctors wont help them, they can't go on functioning, ,etc, etc.

I will take a cold harsh stand on this. NO. Narcotics is NOT the answer. Yes, there is a definite need for narcotic pain medications. It can be the only answer in making someone comfortable after surgery, a flareup or a new major problem.. And yes, there are those that need it on a maintenance basis. I know, I am one of those. I take a low dosage of narcotics daily. My doctor wants me to do that, it prevents me for having additional problems. Because of the severe multi level stenosis, joint problems, degrading arthritis, this is necessary. Have there been times because of these problems, I wish I had higher dosages? Sure. But I realize that is just a quick fix.

Many people look for that magic pill that is going to take away their pain. It just doesn't exist. But on the same token, there are so many ways in dealing with pain. Pain is nasty, so, at times we need to beat it down the best way we can.

Several years ago, I came up with a thread called The Blend. It was a look at the total picture. What are all the pieces to manage pain. So much of this, I learned from my Eastern Thai Master Soft/Deep Tissue specialist. Eastern folks for centuries dealt with pain without chemicals. Why cant we? Maybe not 100% but we need to better understand exactly what are bodies can do and how the natural elements can help.

I am not saying you should discard your narcotics... But what I am suggesting, is before you ask your doctor to increase those narcotics, ask them instead about other options. I bet you will be totally surprised at just how enthusiastic your doctor will be.
Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com


  • When I was first given opioid medication for my spinal issues, I was rather naive about pain meds and what they were about. I was under the impression that they were to "magically" take away ALL of the pain. I couldn't understand why I still felt stabbing pain. This prompted me to take more than prescribed until I got physically sick.

    No one ever explained to me that pain meds are there only to help alleviate the worst of the pain......there will still be pain, just not as intense. I had to figure this out myself, sadly. Now I just have to push through the flare-ups and look for things that will help control what pain remains. For me that's exercise......which ever kind I'm physically able to do. Other times, it's just plain 'ol rest.


    Herniated discs, L4 &L5, L5 & S1
    Spinal stenosis, L4 & L5
  • Hope3HHope3 Posts: 751
    edited 02/08/2015 - 8:50 AM
    You stated it excellent as far as using pain medication a person must
    be doing what they can to improve things. Pain medication has taken
    a toll on my health plus all the other meds I have taken.
    I got to such a high level and then they stopped working which then
    turned into a nightmare for me. I look back and there were times when
    I maybe should not have used them to do some of the activities I did
    like hike a river full knowing that the pain level would go sky high. I don't
    know though I do have a lot of great memories and for sure back then
    I was not doing the blend as much as I should have. I also smoked which
    we all know is a huge issue. It was fourteen months ago that the PC cut mine
    in half I was very upset
    the pain was very hard to deal with but I made my mind up no matter what
    I would do everything I could to improve things. The PC told me the meds
    were causing the pain and I would feel a huge relief in a few months but that
    never happened and I do feel he could have been more focused on other
    solutions. But it did not stop me I am on a mission.
    The last three months things have took a turn for the worse my current Doctor
    which surprised me said I was at a seven (I have never felt this level of pain before)
    and he increased my meds. I cried did
    not want that to happen but thankful too so I can go through TP, sleep, walk, go to
    the bathroom, soak in the tub etc. and do all the blend
    ideas we have set up. I know he trusts me and that feels good and he does not
    want me to suffer but I also know it is my attitude and my doing all I can that
    makes him want to help me. It has been a long time since I have felt this relationship
    with a Doctor and I hope some day soon to start leveling down.
    I would wish that others would really think about the long term effects meds can
    have on your body.
    Thanks Sheryl
  • quandryqquandry Posts: 19
    edited 02/08/2015 - 1:24 PM
    With all due respect, if you are saying that the DEA is a positive and good thing then I must draw the line. The DEA has led to 'accidental' raids leading to the deaths of innocent people. I will, without repent, argue that a junkie is less harmful then the DEA. If you believe that the DEA has helped you to be more careful with your use of narcotic pain pills then you sir are living a life on your knees. I stand fully on my legs in support of Doctor/Patient privacy. so there. Just kidding. In a way.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    edited 02/08/2015 - 2:27 PM
    but the DEA has served a major positive purpose.

    Have there been some problems? Yes Could they have been some problems/deaths with raids? Maybe

    But minus the DEA, there definitely would have been so many more deaths.

    Without the the DEA getting involved, the narcotic situation would have gone crazy, causing more problems, deaths, etc., totally out of control.

    I am living on a world of truth, honesty and facts - very simple

    If you or anyone can come up with a better way to control the abuse of narcotics, then I believe people would listen.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • SjssnjSSjssnj Posts: 8
    edited 02/14/2015 - 6:48 AM
    I'm very new to this, I've only been taking narcotics for 6 weeks. 3 prior to surgery and Monday will be 3 weeks since surgery. Finding out that Physical Therapy will cause flare ups and I will have to continue pain medicine to manage the above "8" pain level, it makes me nervous.
    I thought a few weeks after surgery would be enough. :/ now I worry about the withdrawal when I no longer need them. PT said it would be at least 6 more weeks before I start more aggressive PT. How long am I looking at taking pain meds. I can deal with a lot but the nerve pain I can't seem to get a hold of it.
    Is it too soon to talk to the surgeon about the pain meds? Or will the Physitrist take over? They are both in the same office. Idk?
    On a separate note, I think the DEA is needed. In NJ/PA perscrirbtion pain killers is a huge problem. Unfortunately as long as there are Pharmascist and Doctors that care more about money than people's lives someone needs to keep on top of them. :)
    Entering Uncharted Waters
    L5-S1 Microdiscectomy & Laminectomy on 1/26/2015
    Started Physical Therapy 2/10/2015
  • Take me for example. I have probably been prescribed either schedule 4 or 2 pain meds a total of 4 times in my over 40 years on this planet. For 3 of those times, I never finished the rx. I may have taken the pills twice or three times during the initial injury and then realized that if I was feeling 'too good' that they really were not needed and relied on the anti-inflammatory meds and or muscle relaxers (sched 6). I sought out a chiropractor as well when this injury began as I wanted to do exercises and manipulation instead of pain medication. It worked to an extent but continued to have problems, so my chiro suggested I get another opinion. I got an appointment...6 weeks out. I then broke my ankle, had to reschedule the neuro appt. I was initially given 20 Perc for the ankle injury by the urgent care doc before he sent me to my ortho appt. I used a couple of the pills for pain relief from the ankle break. Then, my back started to act up more than usual because of the crutches and the ortho boot. Basically, all the work I had done to get better was getting lost. I took some more of the Perc, 1/2 tab at bedtime only since moving while trying to sleep was painful and only got excruciatingly worse as the weeks went on. When I ran out, I asked the ortho for more. HE SUGGESTED 8 HOUR TYLENOL. Really? For nerve pain? I had an MRI report and the disk that he refused to look at. When I tried the tylenol for days and basically cried myself to sleep for a few nights I asked again. I got Ultram. It has not been a very good experience for me. Trust me, I really don't want to take the dam* pills. I would rather get fixed with PT if possible and then look into more invasive options. It's a slap in the face to people like me when we are not taken seriously. It is maddening and honestly, the pain just makes us more angry. Luckily, at my last chiro appt, she beat me up pretty good. I was in a lot of pain afterwords and made due with a half pill of old Perc from my last back injury and cried myself to sleep. I woke up the next day and felt better than I had in weeks. Thus, I did not need the pain pills the rest of the weekend. Will I need them again before I start to crawl my way back to being in less pain? Probably, but hopefully by then I will have had my neuro appt and maybe he will take me seriously. Those of you with pain pills to help you when you get to that point where you can't see anything but pain should not be too judgey, in my humble opinion.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    ...almost ten years ago, I thought I take meds...feel better and go back to my old self and activity level. Conservative treatments...no narcotics yet.
    Of course, telling doc pain is baaaack ....she asked what I was doing and I told her. Then loud and clear she told me those activities...lifting, turning, bending, etc.....are out of my life for good. Just stop it.

    So I lowered my expectations of myself and eventually became stronger to say no to others requests beyond my ability.
    Then came need for narcotics. On Fentynl patches and hydrocodone for break through pain at this time. My goal was not to have pain eradicated , but to keep myself out of ER and prevent flares that take on a life of their own. Plus I probably have couple decades left to control pain so need to pace myself :)

    I have not enough knowledge to comment re' DEA. My newest frustration is my insurance denying coverage for Fentynl patches. To have to be the in between of insurance co. and prescribing doctor to have doc explain need to try to keep it... Not easy for me. Just when I think we are stable with great plan....someone throw a wrench into it. Pun intended.
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Somehow I was commenting on dilaoro's comments and got kicked out. So i'll make this very short.
    The DEA is without question harmful to the doctor/patient relationship. You disagree, so be it. They are armed government
    agents. They are only here to help.
    There is so much wrong with your statement that I can't address these as I would like to so I will finish with this. Please keep in mind that I spent 25 years in emergency medicine. I know what I'm talking about. If the DEA has been good for you than great. For many 100 s of thousands, including those of us in Colorado, they are thugs.
    It is truly amazing to me that for thousands of years people have prayed, hoped, begged,and everything one can think of that can relieve their agonizing pain. Well, we now have them and due to some abuse they are thought of as taboo.
    You ask for an answer that people would listen to? Here it is: Keep the government out of the business of prohibition. It has never worked and never will.
    I am certain you mean well sir but you have no factual idea of the damage that the DEA is doing to peaceful sick people.
  • I respectfully agree with Quandry - not only on the DEA but that the government itself is harmful to the doctor/patient relationship. I see it day in and day out with my own clients. I have experienced it myself. I have a now-deceased dear friend who experienced it. The DEA prevented him from having pain medications for excruciating pain. When they finally confirmed cancer on his liver, he asked his doctor "NOW can I have pain medication?" His last years were full of pain and suffering because of the DEA's stranglehold on his doctor.

    Edited to add: Most of the common narcotics cause me severe depression, so I refuse them. I was recently started on Gralise for neuropathic pain. One of the potential side effects is depression - and I am experiencing bouts of crying now. I asked my doc about Marinol for pain and neuropathic pain because I have a friend with MS and it works for him. My doctor said he would prescribe it to me - but because of government regulations insurance will not cover it. It's over $9.00 a pill. So - they won't cover a drug for me made of the compounds of a plant that have had the intoxicant compounds removed. However, they will cover oxycontin - which is essentially synthetic heroin, and which I cannot tolerate. This is just asinine in my opinion.
  • If the DEA(d) has helped you; then please explain it line by line in specific medical terms. If you believe that intimidation is medical help then explain it in the medical terms that those of us would expect. You can't because they are law enforcement. Sir, I doubt you understand why the DEA exists. It was not created to harass the public but to harass the cartels. Well, whatever. I guess I will continue to visit this site to help people such as myself who are sick and not try to sell these people on the so called; "Blend". With all due respect it sounds like a book is about to come out.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    edited 02/22/2015 - 2:09 PM
    ideas and beliefs, true or not.

    One thing I know for sure, facts never lie.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • As a student of medical history I can say that it is fact not an idea, that ruled the day. A bit of opium was understood to help patients with pain, loose stools, and many other maladies. I guess I will leave this subject alone for a little while. I will continue to advocate patient rights and the repeal of the agency known as the DEA. We, as a nation must examine the subjects of freedom, privacy and liberty. As we do this, please understand that I support the rights of those in pain and disablement.
  • Hope3HHope3 Posts: 751
    edited 02/26/2015 - 1:23 PM
    It is a subject that brings a lot of emotions, personal feelings, etc. to the table.
    I keep hearing all the rules/guidelines that the DEA has laid out in order for Doctor's
    to prescribe meds and I would
    like to read up on those.
    Do you know where they exist?
    I totally agree with you that we must as a nation examine the subjects of freedom, privacy,
    and liberty. So much has been taken away and continues to be everyday. I am very concerned
    for my children and grandchildren.
    Thanks Sherri
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