Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

The main site has all the formal medical articles and videos for you to research on.

Withdrawal from Narcotic Pain pills

LumbarLynneLLumbarLynne Posts: 67
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:31 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
After my fracture I was on a lot of pain pills for a lot of pain, it has been 2 months now and my surgery is in about 2 weeks for a L5/S1 fusion. I actually felt well enough not to take any pain pills for 2 days and then started feeling really sick. At first I thought I had a bug but now I think it was withdrawal from the pain meds. I have decided to make sure I take a low dose until my surgery since I don't want to go through WD twice but obviously going off these pills is not going to be a pleasant experience. Anyone go through this, any thoughts to share?


  • Withdrawls are NASTY! Depending what you're on, and how long you've been taking it, it can be quite ugly. I've been on some form of extended release med since 2005 (morphine, then opana), also vicodin for breakthrough. I tried to go off my meds in the spring of 2008, and was miserable! I thought I was going slow enough, but I still had nausea, bowel issues,body pains, restlessness, anxiety.....I have a whole new respect for drug addicts! I was so miserable, I was thinking of re-starting my meds just to make the misery go away (I have NO psychological addiction to it--but the physical misery was AWFUL). I ended up off my meds for about a week and decided my back pain was too much. I had to go back on them (I HATED to after all I had been through). I just wanted to see if I could go without them. Now that I've had (hopefully) my last surgery, I'm giving myself this month & will begin weaning again. This time I don't care how long it takes me, I won't go through being that miserable again. I'm thinking of getting a pain mgt consult JUST for that. Sometimes they can give you beta blockers (a type of blood pressure medicine) to help with the withdrawls (they didn't help me), or switch you to methadone to bring you down slower. Talk openly with your Dr, and if needed, consult with a pain mgt. doc. You don't want to deal with withdrwals after all the other pain you endure! (my theory anyway) Best of luck!! -Andrea
  • I understand your concerns, which are 100 percent well founded. Please, please, get off them. Slowly and with the assistance of your doctors.

    Pain meds are just as bad as any "street drug" out there. I have been on pain meds for years for my back. I have to get off them myself. I am scared to death because I have tried. Just the thought of the DT's/Withdrawls causes anxiety, heart palpatations, shaking, etc. for me. I am up to 8 a day and hate every single one I put in my mouth. If I had to do it over again, I would have never started..Obviously, the body builds an immunity to them, hence, becoming addicted. Sad.. Very sad.

    I had a taste of what it will be like about 2 months ago and I swear I was going to die. 48 hours of pure hell. I can't imagine what a full DT will be like but I know I have to face reality and start the process.. From what I read you have not been on them too long? How many a day? What type? Please express your concern to your doctors or PM's.

    What is sad is that we are all ( people that take them) are in a catch 22. Take them to help cope with the pain and function or..Deal with the daily pain and be miserable, or deal with withdrawls and the pain. One is very connected to the other. I hope that makes sense.

    If you have the strength to do this and you are able to, please get off them. If you go online and research withdrawls from ---- ( the name of the medicine) it will give you a detailed list of what symptoms a person can expect. They are not pretty.

    I agree with ALCB.... Don't wait until it's too late.
  • advertisement
  • Withdrawal can be difference for each person. I managed to pull myself off the Fentanyl pain patches without too much trouble. The only major symptom I had there was that I was absolutely freezing for about a week solid. No nausea, no major aches and pains. I now take percocet only as needed. I've been several days without taking a pill and seem to be fine. I just take them when I have flare-ups. It could be okay for you. Perhaps you really did just have a bug. Take it slow and see how it goes.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Hi,
    I have been manage to put of the fentanyl patches 75 and Morphine 120mg/d several times after a long period of use (2 years). It it like hell and terrible, but you can soften this by doing it very slowly. I did it to decrease every 7 days, 10% from the start dose. Your body needs about 4 to 5 days to detox and then you have 2 days to recover. When you are fed up with don't give up but you can always take a time-out for a week before you go further. Drink a lot of water and eat a lot of fruits and take some extra vitamines "C". If you can not sleep, take some sleeping pills like i.e. Oxazepam. But if you can not handle even this shedule then you always can do fast detox in a clinic under narcose. I am now doing detox of morphine 3 weeks post op and I am now on 90% and one week further. It is hard but manageable.
    Succes, Renos
  • I'm tapering as I write this. I've had no help from my surgeon so I just took some advice from someone on here and hope it works. I don't think it's a slow a taper as I should do, but it's all I have. I have done it cold turkey and it took like 7 days. Of course the first few days were the worst days. But all in all it was bad. I'm hoping the tapering won't be as bad. I did have my regular doctor give me some Klonopin and that seems to be helping but I'm at the top part of my taper. We'll see how it goes when I'm down to 3 pills at day, etc. I'm very scared and nervous.
  • advertisement
  • What if you are still in pain months after surgery? Do you still stop the pain pills? Do you bite the bullet and live in a 5 level pain all the time with flare ups to 8-9? What do we do? Are you stopping because your pain is gone--or stopping because you know you can't be on pain meds the rest of your life?
  • If you are having surgery in a couple of weeks, it could be that it's the PAIN that's making you sick. Why would you stop the pain pills before surgery? I guess I've read that the docs want some folks off the pills prior to surgery so pain management will be more effective afterwards. Balderdash is all I can say. If you're taking low levels of say percocet, they have stronger stuff to take care of you in the hospital.

    Chuck - if you still have problems and need the pain medications, you should continue to take it. They need to resolve your pain issues first. I guess I don't have the type of physiological makeup that causes easy addiction. I've not had much trouble stopping meds. In my opinion, if you need them, you take them. It's when the pain stops and you keep taking them because you don't feel you can function without that "euphoria" feeling, that you really have a problem. If you have genuine pain and still need to take care of that, you should still take them. I really don't care for the way pain pills make me feel. I just want the pain to stop when I have it.

    Again, I'm not a medical professional of any sort. I just have a lot of experience with pain.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I am 3 months post op and I chose to not take pain meds and "deal" with the pain. I just worry about all those side effects and what is happening with my liver, kidneys, etc. with all that stuff. I sure dont need any other health problems...Best of luck in your spine struggles..

    2 level PLIF L4, L5 & S1
    C5-6 herniations inpinging on the anterior aspect of cervical cord
    T11-12 herniations

    * rear ended by drunk driver 3/21/08
  • Sometimes we have to keep taking pain meds. The thing to do is try to stay on the lowest dose you can to manage your symptoms.

    I'm 6 months postop plif, decompression and synovial cyst removal and the doc has now referred me to a pain specialist. My mri's with contrast don't show any isssues-so for lack of a better "guess" I've been labeled with epidural fibrosis although it doesn't show up on my mri! I do my best not to take more than 15 mgs lortab a day but when the searing nerve pain kicks up in my lower back, esp in the evening, If I could find a gun and shoot myself I honestly think sometimes I would - the pain is that awful.

    No, I'm not a sissy. Had 2 children without as much as an aspirin. But some of us CAN'T handle this awful nerve pain without some type of help.

    The thing I read, probably on this forum, about taking pain medication is that when you take the meds and you feel euphoric, you are probably flirting with some type of dependency. When I take my meds, I feel nothing but a little blessed relief. I use a TENS, I ice my back, I go to the pool and exercise, I haven't gained weight, I'm basically doing everything I can to help myself. But I consider narcotics a good thing right now, I have to tell you.

    Good luck with your next surgery. Be sure to check with your doc and see what he says about meds prior to surgery. I just was told to stay away from NSAID's.
  • I had a difficult time managing my pain for the first few weeks post op because I was on such a high dose of vicodins before surgery. Good for you Lynne. I'm sure if you are off the meds prior to surgery it will be much easier to manage your pain post op. I did get off the narcotic medication with the assistance of my dr and it took over 6 weeks to come off completely. Good luck Lynne. WD's aren't much fun, but I believe anyone who can deal with chronic pain for a long period can beat the WD's as long as there pain levels have decreased. Its much tougher to quit if your pain levels are increasing.
Sign In or Register to comment.