I'm about 13 months out from my last surgery and I think that things are pretty much about as good as they are going to get pain wise. Unfortunately, that means that I still have significant back pain along with the "electric shocks" periodically going down my hips and legs so I still require pain meds to function and go to work every day. I take the Norco 10/325 4x daily (or I did) and even though that never really got rid of the pain, it would at least decrease enough to where I could tolerate it ok. (normal for me was about 4-6 pain level with pain meds)
But now since I'm not a surgical patient (for the moment) my neurosurgeon felt like it was time to send me to a pain management doctor. The thing is, the pain management clinic that he sent me to is an "interventional pain clinic" meaning that they DO NOT manage nor prescribe pain meds, they only DO interventions like injections and stuff. I had my first appt with the new doctor about 3 weeks ago and right off the bat, he told me that I needed to be OFF of ALL meds within 6 months or he would recommend inpatient rehab which is "extremely unpleasant." He told me that he would do injections...medial branch blocks...and that that should get my pain under control. He really did not give me any opportunity to disagree or say much anything. That's just the way it was going to be.
I went for the injections 2 weeks ago. First of all, he did not tell me that I would be getting 6 injections all at the same time. I nearly had a panic attack and left the office because I KNOW how bad those injections hurt since I've had them so many times.....just never that many at once. He had offered me sedation when he first scheduled it, but I turned him down because like I said, I've had them before and felt like I'd be ok. On injection day, he proceeded to position 6 needles in my spine simultaneously and when they were all in, then he went back and injected the medicine. For those of you who have had these, you know how awful that part is! So all in all, I received 12 shots in my back if you include the 6 lidocaine shots he did to numb the areas first. Afterward, and for the next 2-3 days, I was in SO much pain I could barely walk. It literally felt as if my spine was swollen inside or something....it's hard to describe. But I recovered ok and was really hoping that I'd see a difference in my pain level. I didn't at all. Now I have to go back again next Friday to do 6 more injections and I am SO not looking forward to that!
Anyway, (sorry this is so long) I've backed off on my pain meds and have been taking them 3x daily instead of 4. next week I'm going to go ahead and go down to 2x daily for a couple of weeks, then 1x daily for a couple of weeks....then off completely. Problem is, my pain levels have already increased just by taking the pain meds every 8 hours instead of every 4 hours. My pain levels are now averaging between 7-9 during the day when I'm at work. I've been in tears a few times when it gets so bad I can hardly tolerate it. I know I technically have 6 mths to come off of everything, but I see no reason to delay the inevitable. Plus, I'm curious to see just how bad it's going to be. Will I be able to function? Will I be able to go to work? Will I be able to support my daughter and send her to college next year? The doctor has decided that I no longer need anything for pain and has threatened me with inpatient rehab if I'm not off of everything within 6 mths.
The thing that makes me so angry and frustrated is that I have NEVER abused the meds. I have NEVER asked for a refill early. I have NEVER even asked for an increase in dose despite my pain being really bad at times. I always get my pain meds from the same doctor and I always get them filled at the same pharmacy. I've followed all of their rules and have done everything they've asked of me. When I'm at home on the weekends and can lay down on my heating pad, I can do without the pain medicine just fine. But I HAVE to get up every day and go to work because I am a single mother and there's no one else to do it for me. So why is it better for me to be off all pain meds and become completely disabled from the pain and not be able to work? Or since I have no choice but to work, why is it better for me to live in excruciating pain? WHY IS THAT BETTER??? As things are now, my life already revolves around the pain. I no longer get out and do the things I enjoy on the weekends. I go to work Monday thru Friday and the weekends are for lying in bed resting my back so that I can do it all over again. Now this doctor wants to take away what little function I have left and sentence me to a life with terrible pain and absolutely NO pain control at all. It's just not fair.
It feels like my docs are washing their hands of me because they can't FIX me.