Hello, I am new to this website and this is my first forum post. My knowledge of my condition and options are small but growing. Everyone please consider that I know nothing, all thoughts are welcome. I want to learn everything I can.
I am a 23 year old male who has suffered 3 compression fractures from 2 incidents. The first was a snowmobile accident at age 17 where I suffered a compression fracture which caused a disk to bulge, both of which in my lumbar region. After a few weeks of lessening pain(the only symptom) I believed I had made a full recovery and only suffered moderate pain after strenuous use of the lower back. I was also diagnosed with Degenerative Disk Disease and Spondylolisthesis. Though, to this day, I sometimes get the Spon(etc) conditions mixed up so I could be mistaken about which condition I actually have.
The second incident caused 2 more compression fractures in my lumbar region, suffered while serving in the Marine Corps. I believe due to my spine being already weakened and unable to properly absorb the impact. From that point on the pain started bad and got worse... I was subsequently discharged.
After exploring all alternatives including physical therapy, steroid injections into my spine(which made the pain worse for a few days before going back to the way it was before), OTC pain medications including ibuprofen and acetaminophen, prescription medications such as naproxen, gabapentin, flexeril, and others which I forget... Eventually I decided to have a Spinal Fusion.
19 May 2008 was the surgery date. Due to the medications I was on such as Morphine and Diazepam my memory is a little foggy but one thing I remember very clearly is that during the 3-4 days in the hospital it was impossible to get my pain under control. I have fractured the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th metatarsals in my left foot to the point of requiring reconstructive surgery and honestly that pain only begins to describe the agony I was in during the first 2-3 weeks post-op. After that, it showed some improvement for about a month before coming to rest at where I am at currently.
After increasing my medication from 10/325 mg's hydrocodone/apap 4xdaily to 60-80 mg's daily(depending on pain), my surgeon prescribed Oxycontin 10 mg's 2xdaily along with 10 mg's hydrocodone/apap 4xdaily. After realizing that the Oxycontin was not lasting 12 hours, only 6-8, and pain showing no improvement along with worsening lower limb symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness, my surgeon referred me to a pain management clinic and requested an MRI with and without contrast. The results of the MRI showed nothing to explain my symptoms and all of the x-ray's I've had appear to be normal...
After some discussion my doctor at the pain clinic stated he does not believe I am addicted nor that the narcotics are a problem, stating that he believes I truly need them for pain. He subsequently started me on MS Contin 15 mg's 2xdaily with 10/325 mg's hydrocodone/apap 2xdaily as needed for breakthrough. On my second appointment after deciding the MS Contin was wearing off too fast and not relieving the pain he prescribed 30 mg's MS Contin 3xdaily and continued the 10/325 mg's hydrocodone/apap 2xdaily as needed for breakthrough. At that same appointment he offered me the choice of staying on the strong narcotics Ms Contin/Hydrocodone or switch to Suboxone to see if that might offer relief. Personally I think while he honestly believes I do not have a problem, perhaps in the back of his mind he may have been testing me, seeing what I would choose. Not that I blame him, with the way things are nowadays I probably would have done the same.
Currently I am on my 2nd of 3 days of allowing the morphine to leave my system, switching strictly to short acting Norco's before I start the buprenorphine. After doing some research on the Suboxone however, I am concerned that it will be highly ineffective at relieving my pain, even though it has a mean half life of 37 hours. Due to the Naloxone, I also won't be able to take anything else in combination in order to increase pain relief in case it does not work as well as I am hoping.
I have tried to be as thorough as possible in order to save from re-posting to answer questions. However, if I have missed anything please let me know so that I can get as much information as possible. Also, if I am misinformed about anything please correct me. While I know I will not become addicted to these drugs, I also cannot live a normal life with this much pain. Which, unfortunately for now, means I must take medicine in order to have some resemblance of a normal life. As it stands right now, my pain is not manageable and the symptoms in my lower extremities are getting progressively worse...
At the risk of some accusing me of abusing my medication I will be honest and state that so far the best relief I have found is 30 mg's MS Contin 3xdaily along with 2 10/325 mg's hydrocodone/apap as needed for breakthrough pain which is on average 2 times daily, with bad days approximately 3 days a week. While some may argue that I am taking too much I can honestly state that I feel very little side effects and even family members have argued on my behalf because they know the drugs do not affect my life in a negative way. Unfortunately, I have to underplay my levels of pain to my doctors for fear of them thinking I am trying to get "drugs"...