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Memory Loss

JohnJJohn Posts: 964
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:34 AM in Pain Medications

Teenage brains are bigger than adults and shrink over time, boy’s brains are 9% bigger than girls but only on the basis the cavity is bigger, so proportionally girl’s brains are bigger at a similar age.

Age itself and my lack of brain cells in the first place, is defining that my loss of memory for my age is on target to be empty by the time I am 147. Although this is my reason that the medication is enhancing the pace of change most of the time I can hide the issues of the loss that I have. Some facts I can retain with great accuracy and my short term memory becoming a CD player with no disc in.

I am past the worrying stage and I have lost that as well, and my adage that I have forgotten what I have forgotten enables me to live for the now, as in the next step. Names which are part of my job are at a loss to me and I have tried relating picture to each face with little success. Anybody taking these volumes of medication would have trouble surviving at all, even without the pain so in reality our achievements are super human, I have strategies for each lack of memory I encounter, and that whirring sound in the background is my drive trying to remember anything of recent usage.

I have become a great observer based of the fact than names have gone, I do equate my capacity in spite of the constant mist and fog, the dizziness, that feeling of being somewhere except here, knowing what I would like to say.

We should all acknowledge how well we do, only we know how difficult some days can be, simple tasks done with skill, tenacity and graciousness. It is not something we talk to anyone about, only ourselves.

Take care. John

Ps, regrets are not for what you have done, but what you have not.


  • After 9 years of meds my memory is horrible.. I still enjoy life, love it, but it's a unique sort of 'bad' feeling when you ask your son if he'd like to watch a movie with you, and he has to tell you that you just watched it with him last week. These things shouldn't happen to you when you are just 30 yrs old..! It's a trade-off though, for sure. Removing the loud, screaming pain; that deafening, roaring and distracting pain, allows me to love myself and my family more than ever, and if I forget? Oh well. I take a million pictures, video clips, and they know my situation as well. I certainly agree that we chronic pain patients should be warned of this change beforehand, but alas we must face it anyhow. I keep my head up, my arms out, and the love and hugs keep me going.

    For all of you who experience the same, I wish you the best. I've found a way to smile through mine; we all can.

  • i cant believe this is a problem of yours!!!
    the way you write and your mastery of our language i never imagined you would ever have this trouble. as for me i think i will be totally shot by age 75. so feel good you have a great head start...
    hang in there....pete
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  • Thank you Pete for the compliment, I appreciate it. English was always a strong subject for me, and it's something I've just retained over the years. My 'old' memories are fine, it's the new ones that fade. I can explain to you very eloquently that I HAVE lost a memory or a few, but I can't for the life of me tell you what they were! I read often, every day actually, and I'm sure it helps to keep my vocabulary fresh.

    I wonder if anyone has conducted clinical trials to gauge the effects, long term, of opiates on long and short term memory? I'll have to take a look, as I'm curious now. If I remember to, I'll be sure to post a snippet or a link here. =P

    Thanks again Pete,


  • But is it the meds causing it? Or is it the pain itself?

    Chronic Pain Can Impair Memory

    ScienceDaily (May 18, 2007) — Anyone who has experienced chronic pain knows that it affects the ability to work, sleep and perform other activities essential to leading a full life. Now researchers at the University of Alberta have confirmed that chronic pain doesn't just cause physical discomfort; it can impair your memory and your concentration.

    In a study recently conducted at the university's Multidisciplinary Pain Centre in Edmonton, Canada, two-thirds of participants with chronic pain showed significant disruption of attention and memory when tested.

    After studying 24 patients, Drs. Bruce D. Dick and Saifudin Rashiq seem to have zeroed in on one of the cognitive mechanisms affected by chronic pain. Their findings, published in the latest issue of Anesthesia and Analgesia, suggest that pain may disrupt the maintenance of the memory trace that is required to hold information for processing and retain it for storage in longer-term memory stores. In other words, chronic pain can, quite literally, drive people to distraction.

    Participants in the study--all of whom had pain lasting six months or longer--were given computerized tests of working memory and a neuropsychological test of attention on separate "pain" and "less pain" days.

    On the "less pain" day, participants were tested after receiving a pain-reducing procedure as part of their ongoing treatment at the Centre. On the "pain" day, participants were tested without having received a pain-reducing procedure, when their pain was reported to be at a high level. Sixteen participants--a startling 67 per cent--showed clinical impairment due to pain on their pain testing day. The remaining eight participants, or 33 per cent, showed no clinical impairment due to pain.

    The sample of individuals included in the study may be small, but the statistically significant findings are "robust", Dick and Rashiq said.

    "Prevalence studies indicate that as much as 44 per cent of the population--in Canada as well as in the U.S. and Europe--experience pain on a regular basis, and that in approximately one-quarter of this group the pain is severe", said Dick. The cost of chronic pain to society is great, and Dick and Rashiq argue that the matter needs to be recognized as a public health priority.
  • Thanks for pointing that out! Pain is definitely a contributing factor. For me, the immediate/very short term memory gets trampled by my pain. While un-medicated, I noticed say, a 10% or so loss/difficulty with memory, while that number has shot up drastically to maybe 40%(compared to normal) while on my time release and instant pain meds. Pain is definitely a memory issue though! It's like having a radio blasting in your ear at all times, and then trying to function in the world and remember stuff at the same time; wow, it's hard.

    I find that while with my family, they tend to frequently get frustrated with me often, and it is always tied to this. If I am on the phone, I have to devote 100% of my attention to the phone. Regardless of topic, if my father says 'Jon here's two hundred dollars' and I listen to HIM when he says it? Then the entire conversation/train of thought with my pal on the other end of the phone is gone; wrecked. If I ignore him, he get's mad that I can't take 2 seconds to hear him out.

    Luckily, with time, those close to me have learned that appoaching me one at a time, and not while I am reading or in a conversation with another, is the best way to strike through clearly with me.

    Halfway through Wednesday, I hope everyone is well.

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  • Those same fellas conducted another study that had some pretty interesting insights/implications too..


    I find their conclusions section quite disconcerting:
    CONCLUSIONS: These findings point to a specific cognitive mechanism, the maintenance of the memory trace, that is affected by chronic pain during task performance. Cognitive function was not improved by short-term local analgesia.
    Given that so many of us are treated with short-acting drugs/interventions for so long before doctor's are willing to move on to longer-acting, more stable medication regimens, I have to wonder how much that contributes to some of our unrecoverable losses.
  • That was an interesting read, however, I don't think we can really draw a parallel between our 'typical' breakthrough or short-term meds and their own short term analgesia. On the same note, we cannot really draw a parallel between our conventional continuous pain relief methods, such as oxycodone/fentanyl/etc in time release form, to the treatment they named that resulted in better 'attentional functioning' in their trials which was as follows:

    "..Chronic pain disrupts attentional functioning, which in chronic pain patients has been found to be improved by treatments resulting in analgesia using electrophysiological measures.." (electrophysiological measures..)

    Whatever the electrophysiological measures, are, they do not sound like a typical treatment, certainly not in the same ball park as short term meds.

    This thread has not gotten many posts, but this truly is a very, very serious issue for almost all of those among us still dealing with chronic pain via opiates/opiods. Thanks for posting links to the studies, this topic is something we should all consider. I hope that everyone here notes their memory function from time to time, and lets their PCP/Ortho/Etc know when things go slightly south.


  • Actually, the interventions used in that study were "Invasive analgesic procedures are often performed in chronic pain patients attending pain clinics. These included epidural injection, sympathetic blockade, somatic nerve blockade, pulsed radiofrequency rhizotomy of the medial branch nerves, and trigger point therapy."

    The people involved didn't all have the same intervention, though. Since they were examining the impact of pain reduction in general rather than the impact of specific interventions, they customized the analgesic interventions to the individual patient and used only interventions that reduce the individual's pain by 4 points on the pain scale.

    The information about electrophysiological measures isn't actually a direct reference to what they were doing in that study; it's just part of their literature review. The electrophysiological measures they're talking about are called mismatch negativity, which is measured using EEG.

    Personally, I think the context of the reference is vague and confusing, but nobody asked me for editorial input on the article. :))( I'm also quite sure it got such "high billing" in their introduction because it's previous research that Bruce Dick was involved with.

    The full text of that article isn't available online, but here's the citation and the abstract:

    Clin Neurophysiol. 2003 Aug;114(8):1497-506
    The disruptive effect of chronic pain on mismatch negativity.
    Dick BD, Connolly JF, McGrath PJ, Finley GA, Stroink G, Houlihan ME, Clark AJ.

    Dalhousie University, IWK Health Centre, QEII Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, NS, Canada. bruce.dick@calgaryhealthregion.ca

    OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effect of chronic pain on processes that generate the mismatch negativity (MMN).

    METHODS: Twelve participants with a diagnosis of chronic intractable pain were tested before and after pain treatment. During testing, event-related potentials were recorded while participants performed tasks of varying difficulty.

    RESULTS: The amplitude of the MMN was found to be greater following a nerve block procedure compared to MMN amplitude when participants were experiencing chronic pain. This effect was found to occur in the MMN for difficult-to-detect tones elicited while participants were performing a simultaneous cognitively demanding visual task. MMN amplitude was found to be greater with attention to difficult-to-detect deviants during pain but not in no pain conditions.

    CONCLUSIONS: These results provide an electrophysiological correlate of previous findings that high levels of pain disrupt cognition during the performance of demanding tasks.

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