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How to stop the pain without narcotic pain meds?

edited 04/17/2015 - 10:17 PM in Pain Management
I have grade 2 spondlothesis with spinal stenosis. The nerves coming out of the L5 - S1 area are severally pinched. I am in horrific pain from the lower back into the legs. I am not a good surgical candidate for surgery because of my weight. I am so sick and tired of taking narcotics for pain control. I don't like how they make me feel or the extreme constipation. But the pain is just so debilitating. I have tried injections and PT and they don't work. I go to a pain clinic and they tell me that there is no treatment that will help me without surgery and seems how that is not an option the only thing they can do is to try and make me as comfortable as possible with pain medications. Well given the side effects it causes with constipation and how they make me feel; I also suffer from a sensitivity to narcotic pain meds or any meds that affect breathing. This sensitivity suppresses my breathing and if taking too much I can stop breathing all together. Because of this sensitivity I am unable to take enough of the pain medication to really help alleviate the pain. It just makes it so I can tolerate it better, whatever that is supposed to mean. Is there any other method to alleviate pain in my back and legs? I can't sleep. Laying on my back feels like a have a gulf ball embedded into my spine, laying on either side causes the sciatica pain to increase making it excruciatingly painful to lay on either side for very long and laying on my belly only pinches the nerves and pisses them off even more if that is even possible. I need some kind of relief from all this pain because I am at the point where I just can't take it anymore. I need sleep, I need even if it's a few hours some relief from this pain. It's horrible and relentless. Please, I am desperate. I have been living with this pain ever since I was 15 years old (34 years) and it keeps getting worse the older I get.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Doug Hell

    Also working with us very closely is Allison Walsh from the Spine-Health company

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I'm really sorry to hear how much pain are you in. I'm not sure people in here could advise you what kind of pill you should try as they all have side effects and it seems that you don't tolerate well opioids or NSAIDs. The last ones can cause breathing problem and they definitely cause constipation.

    I think you should discuss the matter with you doctor. He will be able to point you to the right direction.

    And just a personal thought maybe it's time for you to start a good diet to loose the weight that prevents you from getting surgery. All is possible. I lost 30 pounds in two months just by dieting and walking. The diet was strict and I had to stick by it. I was 82 kilos and now I'm 70 kilos. I didn't really need to loose weight as for my height 1,79 m I was fine. I was just doing everything in my power to relieve as much as possible my spine from any excess weight. Try it. It is doable.
  • I also do not like to take narcotics for pain. I am trying to work out a natural pain medication using Chinese herb formulas and also using aspirin and Tylenol as needed. I still have pain and discomfort... some days it is very bad.... but, it is much more tolerable than doing nothing. I guess I have been dealing with pain form OA for so many years with all my joints( have had several joint replacements) that this issue with my degenerative cervical neck area is just more of the same. I would suggest perhaps you look into going to a Chinese medicine clinic if you are open to do so. I do find that the Chinese formulas I am taking for my issues do help. It is not a cure all but any help is appreciated. Best to you.
  • Doug HellDoug Hell Posts: 335
    edited 04/18/2015 - 4:07 AM
    Though you definitely have some serious debilitating issues, in my opinion, the weight issue is the one making it worse. You need to make changes. Change is the only answer and u need to start today. Please do not delay. I know it is easier said than done, but only you know why the weight is the issue and there are reasons for everything, so please tackle those issues.

    There are wonderful apps you can download that count calories. You can also find them online if you don't have a smart phone. Even people living a sedentary lifestyle can lose weight with the help of these apps. Give it a try. Consume less calories than you burn = weight loss. It really is that easy IF you over eat and don't get enough exercise. Now if you have a list of medical issues that cause weight gain (thyroid, etc..), I would sit down with your GP and figure out a game plan. Perhaps a referral of some sort to a nutritionist, etc.. can help you on your way. Anything at this stage in the game can and will help you IF you commit to it!

    Please choose life. The reason to consider life and what's of value is to make sure you're not missing out. Seize the day. What's important to you? What do you care about ? What matters? Pursue that; forget the rest.

    Doug Hell
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Realize that FEAR is our worst enemy. Get up & get out in that stormy weather of the real world & kick fear in the teeth. Stare at it dead in the eyes & walk right through it into the storm; because once you're wet, you won’t fear the rain anymore
  • You don't mention how over weight you are, but, I will give you some info. I was severly overweight, had tons of medical issues, including sleep apnea , which I am going to assume you may have. In 2009, I had bariatric surgery and to date, I have lost 220 lbs. Yes, that is not a typo. 220lbs! No longer have sleep apnea and can take meds, if I want to, though I don;t. I have found several vitamins that help. Vitamin B12 (Sublingual 5,000) B6, Vitamin E and magnesium. Omega vitamins helps with inflammation too!

    I take warm baths with Epsom salts especially at night before I go to bed. I also use Bio Freeze. You can find this on the web or at a chiropractors office.

    Do not underestimate Vitamins. They play an important role.
    If you want any info on bariatric surgery, please ask!
    Bella Lunacy
  • ivymiivym Posts: 278
    edited 04/24/2015 - 5:03 AM
    I have pain issues but I personal think opiates will be only a temporary help then turn not a huge monkey on my back (sorry no pun intended.) I have seen people addicted to drugs in my family and they hurt more than helped in my eyes.There are alternatives to chemicals like meditation, massage, activity- walk outside and let all your senses experience..give yourself a moment to hear birds,leaves, wind, feel sunshine. Go for a walk. Look at everything...birds, squirrels, the neighbors landscaping. Honestly this clears my mind more than anything. Good luck. Please know that we do care.
  • Honestly, instead of putting a bandaid on the issue by taking pills or a quick fix taking something, you should focus on trying to lose weight so you can go ahead with the surgery.

    I know pain can be debilitating but extra weight is only making the problem much worse. No amount of pain meds will relieve all the pain, if they help enough to give you just a few hours use that few hours to get some exercise. Start eating healthy, do whatever you can. Sometimes the easy way isnt the right way.

    Do meditation, physical therapy, go outside even if its in a wheel chair- look at nature and keep your mind focused on life.
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