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  • lollypop

    I do know that there are people who abuse prescription pain killers, but I also learned when working at Hospice that the body will utilize as much of the pain med given without causing addiction.

    This, of course is not medical advice, merely a knowledge base that I refer to.

    It is the people who take more than they need, or for longer than prescibed, who end up with problems of real addiction.
    There is the issue of physiological dependence, which is altogether different. It consists of the body's becoming used to a substance (pain med in this case), via the receptors that it binds with, and causing a certain set of (mostly) less severe symptoms when the drug is removed.

    It's the physical or phychological addiction that is so much worse, and which causes so much hardship for those of us who can really benefit from opioid based pain meds.

    I really get very angry when I am treated like a drug seeker when I have NEVER exhibited any such behaviors. It is due to those who choose to abuse these drugs that make it so. The few cause trouble for the many. Not an unusual occurance, sadly.

    If your pain is legit-which it certainly sounds like it is-than don't worry over much about addiction. These drugs help us to live a better quality of life, after all else has failed, and I, myself, am not afraid to use them as such.

    Just MHO.

    Hope things start to gel for you and you can find some answers.
  • Dear Anniesgirl,

    What you have posted on addiction was very thought provoking and touches on not just the physical side to it but the psychological which I think is not often focused on – myself included.

    It was a reassurance to read your comment on how the body utilizes what it needs from the medication – something that had not occurred to me before. I always make sure the quantities taken are within the prescribed amount and never stray off to the pharmacy and add to what I take – I hope that alarm bells would ring for me if that was to happen.

    Lets hope that when the time comes to stop what has been such a regular regime it is an easy transition to make.

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  • I had my first visit to the osteopath today and I ended up coming out feeling a real mixture of emotions. After having a good talk through all my symptoms and telling him of the way it comes and goes his conclusion is that it is muscle spasms in the lower back/pelvic region and not a herniated disc. He did agree to put me through for an MRI scan though, with no prompting from me. He tested my movement and made notes of where the pains are and seemed very pleasant and thorough.

    I must admit I was not expecting him to say it was muscle spasms and he could tell I was struggling to accept it – only because he was vague on my questions regarding the pinching sensations in my calf and foot and pain in the hip when it is bad. He did say that if it was a herniated disc the pain would be there 24/7 with no let up at all and I do not experience numbness or pins and needles anywhere. I have only experienced pins and needles for a few days back in New Year and then that disappeared while everything else continued.

    So there we are. I have about a month to wait for the scan and a week after that before I will see him again for the results and see quite where this is heading. In the meantime I feel I should help get my head around this and find out what I can do to help prevent them – if that is possible. I am very nervous at exercises targeting that area in case I kick it off again but realise that doing nothing is equally not going to help.

    my best wishes


  • Who am I to disagree with your doctor...but, I do!! I do not believe one can make an absolute statement that you would be in pain 24/7 with a herniated disc. I know too many people for whom that was not the case...including my husband, whose disc ruptured after a period of at least six months of intermittent pain.

    Also I don't see how a muscle spasm alone could cause the pain radiating down your leg.

    But, you will know soon enough. I am glad he ordered a MRI and hope that it will reveal the cause of your discomfort.

    Take good care,
  • Pins and needles and numbness are only signs of how badly a nerve is compressed. If it is compressed slightly, there is pain. If it is more badly compressed, there will be the pins and needles sensation, which will develop into a feeling of numbness as the compression worsens. The last stop on this journey would be to develop foot drop or other total muscle weakness (depending on which spinal nerve is being compressed, of course.)

    The fact that symptoms change is not that meaningful or significant. My radiculopathy has even moved from leg to leg without a change in what was causing my pain. For example, with a herniated disc, the pain can increase or decrease simply based on the amount of swelling that is present.

    Sometimes a patient will rest, use ice and a NSAID to knock down the swelling, and will start to feel better. Feeling better, the patient will attempt to resume "normal" activities, and may quickly find him/herself right back where they were. Pain returns . This can happen in a cycle of a couple days, or it can also happen in longer periods -- like six months or even longer.

    Sometimes people have a herniated disc and are not even aware of it because it is not causing pain. I guess my point is that a "herniated disc" is not just one experience. It can cause a variety of symptoms. The symptoms can come and go. There is not just one description of symptoms that describes a herniated disc.
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  • Dear Gwennie,

    Thank you very much in what you have put here Gwennie x I have to say I am in agreement with you on this and how it just does not quite tie in with the pinching and pains in the hip and leg. I stopped short of saying so but my goodness he could tell my exasperation by that time and was very pleasant and very understanding. He really did come across with the attitude that the scan would be no trouble to organise. I have a feeling he did not wish to commit himself to a disc diagnosis without seeing what a scan will reveal. He did say though that the scans are not always accurate and around 25% come back with nothing showing, even those with a herniated or bulging disc and this I do take on-board and accept.

    I felt rather low last night I have to say but will keep it in perspective and as of this morning an open mind. I am happy that something is being done now and it is a step forwards.

  • Yes, it is a very real problem that the MRI is only one piece in the diagnostic puzzle. Sometimes a disc will look very herniated on the imaging and yet the patient will feel no pain from it, and, conversely, a disc will look normal, but will turn out to be the source of pain.

    A good doctor will use the MRI as one piece of information, also relying on a patient's history, patient's reporting of pain, physical exam, and perhaps, other testing.
  • I share your frustration lolly. I have similar symptoms and even after an MRI and EMG test still don't really know what the source of my flareups are although apparently these types of pain patterns suggest an l5/s1 issue. Doctors seem pretty clueless about these back issues to my own shock and dismay, especially if the tests don't clearly point to a problem. I actually only recently found a doctor that even thought it necessary for me to have an MRI after being told by many that MRIs often show problems that arent' even really a problem. 2 1/2 years later after aggressively trying to stop these flareups from happening every 6 months to a year I have found that walking alot and trying to stay active to varying degrees ultimately pulls me out and back to feeling normal again. I am in the midst of one of these flareups right now and just trying to stay optimistic that sometime soon I will be back to normal again. I am finally figuring out that carrying heavy items arms out and at an awkward angle is a sure way to set me up for a 4-8 weeks of sciatic and back pain. Anyway I am kind of rambling, I hope you feel better and get some answers!
  • It has been a while since I have posted but I have been patiently waiting for the MRI scan (which I had about three weeks ago) and my consultant phoned me with the results a few days ago. He said the scan showed I have a bulge in one of the discs and it is probably due to natural wear and tear. He is happy to refer me onto the pain management clinic to see how they can help me further. The discomfort continues day in and day out but has been at a much more manageable level this past week I am pleased to say. The last time I was pain free was the begining of August. Staying on co-codamol however is not a situation I wish to continue and my consultant feels confident that the clinic will be able to assist me better if and when it is needed. I now have a six week wait!

    This morning I received a copy of the letter he has sent off to the pain management clinic and I have to say I am baffled with the terminology and would be really grateful if anyone can translate into terms I can relate to and what it means! It is as follows:

    Following her initial assessment I requested an MRI scan of her lumber spine which showed abutment and mild displacement of descending roots bilaterally at L4/L5 and L5/S1 but no evidence of impingement of the descending roots.

    No mention of the bulge he spoke to me about on the phone - or is it?! I cannot help but feel that the words 'mild' and 'no evidence of' do not do the pain I feel justice!! *smiles*

    I was tempted to post this on a new thread but felt it should stay with my original post so it shows a more complete picture.

    with my best wishes

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