On 1/3/12 I'm having a 2-level ACDF because of two disks pushing into my spinal cord. I have weakness in my arm (but no arm or neck pain), weakness in my left legs, and significant pain in my left SI joint area related to compensating for that weakness. By the end of the day (and ometimes much earlier) the pain can be up to a 7 or 8, especially if I've been doing too much sitting or strenuous activity.
A few months ago I was prescribed Nucynta, 2-75mg/day for the pain. I've been waiting until the pain is clearly too bad to let me sleep to take one, but my pain doc wants me to take one as soon as I get home from work to ward off that pain (since I told her that no way could I function at work or drive while on that), then another at bedtime. Plus I'm afraid of the SI-area pain getting a lot worse after surgery, since inactivity, and especially sitting, makes it so much worse.
I'm having huge amounts of fear and anxiety about getting addicted -we're raising our two grandkids in part because of pain pill addiction, and so it really scares the crap out of me. At least when I was taking them only when absolutely needed, I could feel at least the chance of avoiding addiction, but having tried a few times now to take one earlier, I'm finding that I really can do a lot more without that pain even if I am tired, plus I'm getting better at working through the sedative effect which scares me even more. Then when I have the surgery, she wants to take FIVE a day instead of just two, and said she'd up it to the 100s if the 75s weren't enough - and she wrote that script for two weeks of 5/day.
I've never taken pain pills for this long, and I definitely haven't taken that many for that long. Having seen firsthand what addiction to this stuff can do to you, it scares the crap out of me.
What can I do? How will I be able to wean off of them after so long on them? Should I go back to just pushing through the pain until it gets really bad, so that I'm only taking it when I really physically need it? That's the only thing that makes sense to me. I don't want to take the chance of finding a way to rationalize taking them if I'm not in significant pain. Or is it really worth risking addiction to take them regularly instead of only when seriously needed, because I can deal with the short term quality of lied issues from the pain if it means that I have a higher chance of avoiding addiction, but I just don't know what to do about being told that I really should take them long before the pain gets bad -- will that help me to heal faster?