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How many pills are normal.

Hi all. Going on a year for my 7 level thoracic spine fusion. Let me say... Not much fun. I take 15 pills a day for pain plus a Butrans 5 mcg patch. This would be 6- Gabapentin, 3- Baclofen, 6- Tramadol. Plus my metoprolol, for high BP. So with that its 17 total a day. Does it help? No. My wife calls me a zombi. I know no one here can fix me. But what do you take a day? I dont like anything thats an opiates or addictive. My patch is an opiate, but a small dose. Its frustrating, late tuesday night.
Greg fisher


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    Its very difficult to really say if your daily pill intake is too much.
    Each pill you are taking is for different reasons

    • Gabapentin - Nerve pain medication
      Baclofen - Muscle relaxer
      Tramadol - Pain medication ( which is considered an opiate, weak but still a class IV narcotic)
      Butrans Patch - Pain medication
    If I were to look at any of this, I would think something about the Tramadol and Butrans patch. When using the patch, the need for pills should be reduced. For example, my routine for a while was 5 Oxycodone IR 5mg per day. When my doctor put me on the Butrans patch 5mcg, my intake for the pill went down to 1. Stopping the patch, the pill intake went back to normal. My doctor believed that the Butrans patch was a good measure to get over a flare up, but it was something that she didnt recommend on a long term basis.

    Medications alone is really never the answer to total pain management/control. Please look at The Blend I've described the overall concept in pain control. There are so many different modules that can be included. Some work better for others. I like to view the Blend in an analogy.

    You need gas to run your car. But if you dont have any oil, or your tires are flat, you really are not going to be going anywhere

    You need the total package to make things really work.
    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
  • gfishggfish Pittsburgh PAPosts: 160
    Thanks, That makes sense. I just feel im over medicated. Will bring that up at my next doctor visit.
    Greg fisher
  • Hi Greg, so sorry for what you're going through. I have a long history of pain, 17 year chronic sufferer. Long story. I know there are different things going on in my body that have contributed to it. One being DD. I'm also a fibromyalgia patient, have endometriosis, severe migraines, IBS, and Sunday will mark the 5 week mark since my 3 level ACDF. I've tried many meds along the years and have one of those body chemistries that doesn't like meds so even they brought little to no relief. 2 of the ones you mentioned. About 2 years ago I told one of my doctors that I didn't know how I was going to muster the strength to continue dealing with the level of discomfort I was living in day to day and thank goodness I had the conversation because he knew of a wonderful chronic pain class. It was 5 weeks and everyone was a hard skeptic at the beginning. I even turned it down the first time around and ended up giving in and finally going 3 months later. It was life changing. Did it cure me, no. But did it help me cope and give me additional strategies and tools - ABSOLUTELY. 100% of the class of skeptics had improvement and some pain relief at the end. We all stood up and shared our stories at our party. I highly recommend you seek something like this that gives you - I can't even describe - more resources within yourself to be yourself and not a zombie. All the best to you. Please feel free to ask me any questions I'd be more than happy to answer. I might be slow to reply, but I will reply.
  • After 20 some odd years, I've come to the conclusion that it's hard to live with chronic pain everyday every hour without help. It takes a good doctor that understands and cares ,and we are lacking that here in North Florida. After knee surgery shoulder surgery and being struck by lightning 3 times and a year after major back surgery I had. I can't believe that the doctors I have now dont go on my history from 1995 to present where I have been diagnosed with is severe post-traumatic fibromyalgia complicated by lightning strike and I had back surgery had rods and screws fusions and after the back surgery they back down on my pain meds and I have been miserable ever since. I've been taking 5 oxycodones a day muscle relaxers which was zanafex,have to have 2 milligrams of xanax to go to sleep to get at least 6 hours on interrupted sleep with that regiment medication I was fine, I had a quality of life that I could deal with and keep my sanity. Now doctors are hard to come by and they're scared to medicate and there are different types of doctors practicing pain management and they think that all patients need the same exact dosage quantity. All patients where I go are given the exact same medication even though they have different conditions. We all sit in this room sometimes standing room only and wonder why, and does anybody care and when we see the doctor it's five minutes hand the prescriptions out come back every month taking a urinalysis every single visit. And everyone scared to say anything about the care because I am in fear you losing my DR. Its happened before and I was told it could happen again so I keep my mouth shut and the quality of life has diminished and I just don't know what to do or think.
    William Gay
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    Welcome to Spine-Health
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    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • gfishggfish Pittsburgh PAPosts: 160
    It just blows my mine that how someone can go through a surgery. All the months leading up to it. And the doctor wont say why a person still is in pain. He tells me what he did is right. Like I did something wrong? So I went to this pain doctor. Every time I go he just ups the dose. Like aquadadd said, you see them 5 min and the pass out the scrips, and its see you next month.
    And cee, could you post the place where you have gone? I have never heard of this. But group classes do help.
    Greg fisher
  • gfishggfish Pittsburgh PAPosts: 160
    Click on the blend, by dilauro. very good read. Interesting. Lots of treatments out there. But never give up living. No matter how hard.
    Greg fisher
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