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Hi all, new to the forums. I am on hydrocodone 7.5/500, Soma 350mg and Gabapentin (at night only as it knocks me out). I have had back problems/pain on and off since '96 when I first bulged L4. In Jan. '08 I ruptured L4, a 'mushroom rupture' which pushed the calcified bulge material into the spinal column. LOTS of pain then. I had a discectomy to correct the onset of cauda equina syndrome shortly after that. All was well but my lack of taking care of my health and excessive smoking took its toll. I am now living with a large mass of scar tissue engulfing the S1 nerve root as it leaves the thecal sac, a small bulge on L5-S1 disc that is pressing on the scar tissue primarily on the left side but also in the middle. I also have a Schmol's Node at L3. The odd thing is that my pain is primarily down my right leg, outside thigh. I know surgery wont help the scar tissue long term so I dont know what the best course of action is with my doctor. I hurt but its managable with 3 to 4 lortab and soma a day and a single gabapentin at night. I've been dealing with this for so long I swear I think I am losing my mind. Like Leeann, I am starting to feel sorry for myself. I am also doubting my pain. Am I just a drug addict or do I really hurt. If I dont take the meds I have a lower quality of life but my pain isnt impossible to deal with....or so I think. I miss a couple doses and I am miserable. The pain increases, the muscles in my back go into spasms that twist my body and I feel the only relief is to drink myself into an unconcious state. Taking the meds is no picnic either. I constantly feel 'dumb' and cant remember things that I know. The long term effects of pain, according to my doc and webMD, are worse than the long term effects of chemical dependecy on these meds. This affects every aspect of my life. TMI but my wife and I had sex for the first time in over a month yesterday because I managed to get numb enough that I knew it would hurt so bad that I would lose my erection. Yes, this is embarrassing to discuss but I am fighting to get this out in hopes that others have advice. I really feel like I am losing my sanity. My doc added Prozac to the mix to help but I still feel the same.
My doc is an osteopath but also a GP. He doesnt believe in pain meds/muscle relaxers but he keeps prescribing them to me....but that is all he has done. I cant get an answer as to whether I should seek out a pain management doc. To that end, I know I cant because I also smoke pot as it helps me relax and eases the pain in conjunction with the prescription meds. Let me be clear, I dont smoke all day long and I stay sober at work, save the prescription meds. I am not looking to simply get high. I am seeking relief in any way possible. I dont want to increase my dosage for pain meds because I feel I can manage on this level even thought it doesnt relieve the pain more than 50%. I am also scared to ask for an increase in the meds for fear he would cut me off completely, which would make my life beyond horrible. I have considered those websites where you speak to a doctor and they write a prescription which you then fill at an inflated price for a larger quantity of meds but I just dont believe those sites are legit. Sometimes I just want to let myself break down but I cant. I have to stay strong and keep fighting. I go to physical therapy and an acupuncturist but this has really drained my savings so I dont know how long I can keep that up. I really feel like I am a weak man for complaining about this as there are so many people out there that have worse problems. I dont really know what I want in the way of response to this post. I dont feel like I need sympathy and I dont really want it. I guess it would be nice to hear from other sufferers that I actually do have real problems and that where I am at is pretty normal. Feel free to flame me if you think I am being a wuss.