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Quitting all pain meds



  • Hey Jim,
    Great thread and ?.
    I have been in search of a new Pain mang. doc but I thought I had least a month to make calls. I can't go thru the normal thing here esi's are all the norm. So trying find one just to either try me on something new or just keep me on Norco.

    My doc (ortho surgeon) has been great and refilling them and has been for about 6 months. I saw him I would say back before winter started and he was trying to find out whats going on with my legs. I had called and went to see him, after seeing a neuro for over yr n half and he said he was puzzled and to find a pain doc at a big hospital here in chgo. No warning he had his rn call me.

    So without warning I go to refill my med on last f I do it ahead of time.

    Well tonight go to pick up the pharmacy says denied, via fax says the nurse said you need to make an appt see the doc. Which fine its been months np. But now I'm out and I know when I call in am he will be booked up. He had said he would help me find new pain mang. doc that didn't do injections just perhaps find different med. He of course is top in his field and I'm sure he forgot.

    When last I saw him, went over another mri and he said that my fusion and disc above of below just fine.

    So now what do I take for pain ovc? and whats a good one? I was taking 10mg norcos every 4 to 6hrs as needed.
    Most days I break them in half and can do like 1 and half all day. I have some flexerils he gave me. due to he said will take time to find new pain doc, and he knows how I suffer in winter months.

    I have no problem with making another visit to get refill if needed just would have been nice of them to call me and say last month, next time you need an appt. not just cut me off.

    Of course I had huge pain flare up due to all the stress we r having with our home, insurance. So hubby goes pick up meds and he was pissed off, he agreed they should have said something and I would have tapered off them myself if need be.

    I have never just stopped taking a med like this due to all the risks.

    I did wean off lyrica once and wow that was mean stuff to get outta my system.

    And hubby said no way he said we will go to er if needed. Well nice of him to say but our er wouldn't give pain med. for chronic pain. And they leave ppl lay on those oh so not comfy gurneys.

    So when I wake and I know from the pain in my legs now what should I do???

    Guess I have no choice just do without? I just have few flexerils left. I don't do well on alot of meds and high dosages the norco just took me down from 8's to like 6 in pain.

    Like I said funny I ran across this particular thread tonight.
    Nice replies all

    ty mary
    neck,bone spurs pain started 04, back issues and fusion l4,l5 06~hardware removed.
    good few yrs. 09 pain sharp, numbness feet,legs, diagnosed fibro, neurop. legs.lung issues.
    daily goal do good thing for someone.
  • Okay responding to my own post.
    I called and doc office says (the norm)oh it will be mid may or june....
    I asked to leave him msg or if hes there I can just stop in. But I am in such a flare up I really didn't want him to see me he just knows I don't sleep and he prob. would have said few days in hospital.

    But rn gets on phone and then I explain and she puts me on hold, poof appt in 2wks and doc gets on phone says he will help me search for pain doc that will not put me thru the normal inject. route.

    He said his rn is calling in norco and he said he did family emergency and really he didn't make note of it our last visit(pertaining to helping me find a pain doc). And with new laws all docs have to have seen the patient with in months.

    So I had half a pill in am. And just in time I have refill. So long n rambling reply, I hope some day I won't be on anything.

    I try take ovc but just tears up my stomach and all the pain docs, meds I have tried this is only one I don't have side effects.
    sorry again so rambling on here
    hugs hugs

    I think I am alot nicer with pain reduced to 6 ish
    I felt all over whelmed like another doc had given up and pushed me off. Of course I was wrong, but hubby still thinks my ortho surgeon is cause of all this yrs pain.
    neck,bone spurs pain started 04, back issues and fusion l4,l5 06~hardware removed.
    good few yrs. 09 pain sharp, numbness feet,legs, diagnosed fibro, neurop. legs.lung issues.
    daily goal do good thing for someone.
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  • The very notion of medication reduction for some patients is unthinkable, we have seen evidence and testimony here of others at a pain clinic or when requested from a surgeon to reduce or even stop medication for a short period of time.

    Howie makes a good point, that it has to be patient led in liaison with some health professional. Just as we are gentle ascending the scale and volume of medication we use, so we should reduce it over a lengthy period of time and phased reduction.

    I have taken medication for two decades and changed strategies many times in consultation with my doctor, even at the PM clinic we were never asked to stop all medication, perhaps we need the right mindset in that if we think we can cope with less we can, our first reaction to increased pain is more medication and if we can change that behaviour cycle it may help. Research in PM noted that patients who used self-medication pain relief in hospital used far less than may have been offered overall.

    If we think our pain will increase by the very action of taking less medication we may have already defined the outcome and that is a hard physical and emotional change to overcome, if the benefit of taking volume medication is outweighed by the side effects and reduce quality of life then we have to decide as individuals what to do, and what our options are if any. I only remember two people here who came off medication completely and it would have been interesting to know how they went on. Ron’s notion that medication can consume US and the life we have if we let it, and Jim’s story that he was given more medication that he wanted, are very poignant.

    SH should facilitate and support patients and what they want to do, we are all here for that. This thread should make us all reflect on the full impact of lengthy medication use and alternatives, we as individuals have to be happy with the changes we propose and seek appropriate professional help to attain these goals. My view is that these options may be beneficial to one end of the pain journey spectrum and for me it would be inappropriate to suggest those at the infancy of managing pain use or contemplate this strategy without more tools in the box.

    Quitting medication nudges the concept forward and I applaud anyone brave and positive in mind to try it.

    Take care; life is for living not just surviving.

  • I may be taking a post a bit the wrong way so I apologize as I'm not trying to start any type of argument...

    But John...it "sounds" like you are saying that those of us who have to be on pain medication are not brave or positive?

    I don't think that being on/off pain medication is just some easy choice...It's all about whether you have pain that is bad enough to NEED pain medication...plain and simple....

    Of course it's always good to keep an eye on tolerance...and as mentioned...if the side effects of medication have more negatives than positive...than surely that is time to speak with a Dr. and decide what to do...

    As well as if someone is expecting a narcotic or any one medication to take away all their pain...This is unrealistic...

    As I wrote on my post....I think it's always good to find that good balance of finding the most modalities to treat my pain daily/weekly/monthly and working with my Dr. to find the pefect combination to keep my levels at a 5-7 each day...

    Anyway...I just was curious if John was thinking that it's just a willpower issue about dealing with pain and being on medication..so would love a bit of clarification in case I am misunderstanding..

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,745
    I suppose our thoughts change from day to day. I think I would really like to have the opportunity (or luxury) of being able to quit pain meds. And all of their side effects. But that's not going to be possible today. And probably not tomorrow either.
    Last night, I decided that I would skip the pill I usually take in the middle of the night. And this morning everything was fine. and I thought this is a good place to start. And will try that again tonight.
    But mid day, for no reason, I got a huge pain spike! that had nothing at all to do with the skipping of the pill I take in the middle of the night.
    I think it was just the "BEAST" letting me know just who is in control! image:)" alt=">:)" height="20" />
    And all of the tools I have in my tool box are not going to get this pain under control. But I'm damn happy to have them right now. I feel they brought the pain down a couple of notches. And with out them, it would be a couple of notches higher!
    And I am just so done with pain!
    So I guess It just is what it is. And I just don't have a hell of a lot of control!
    And I realize that I'm in a much different frame of mind today than I was the day I started this thread.
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
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  • of you who have shared re: taking meds and choice / decision point of stopping all pain medications.

    Pain has not been absent in my body for over 40 years. My days of spine pain, neck and low back began in my teens. My mother had degen arthritis , spine, hip and took little to no meds, and NSAID sparingly for episodes. I did the same in my 40's get thru C-Spine severe DDD bone spurs into spinal cord and nerve roots with anti-inflammatory for flare-ups.

    In my 40's and 50's Surgeries = C-Spine, ACDF 3 levels, hip replacement, knee surgery, two hand surgeries only taking prescribed post-surgery very short-term pain pills. Advanced DDD in Lumbar - RFA injections kept me away from pain meds, pain mgnt anesthetist prescribed anti-seizure meds for nerve pain.

    With severe advanced DDD of remaining C-Spine into T-Spine, severe pain neuropathic in arms hands, searing, burning pain = I have turned to the meds suggested for nerve pain, the oxycodone and hydrocodone have never helped me, short-lived and alter my mood and stability level with being prone to depression.

    I face having "not many tools in my tool-box" with no injections for C-Spine T-Spine being possible + no possibility for spine stimulatator for severe chronic non-stop pain now since Motor Vehicle Accident. Not Good - - I am facing No Surgery and Living With severe DDD because of not good prognosis and other complex spine factors.

    Pain Meds have never helped me other than initial pain with post-surgery or motor vehicle trauma short-term. All physicians and pain specialists never promoted pain meds and I tried to stay away from them, little to none relief very short-term and depressive cycle when only taking for a few days and then stopping.

    I believe too much promotion of opiate/narcotic drugs, versus a different focus to research and developing neuro-muscular alternative treatments, myofascial body therapies, all of which insurance usually does not cover and docs stay in the surgery - pain - surgery = drugs modality. That's a whole nother story of the $$$ driven by the drugs and patient care, docs rewards, precluding them from putting $$$ to developing alternative pain treatments, trigger point therapy, massage body work, myofascial body work, barametric chamber therapy, stem cell implanting nerve degeneration.

    Heat therapy, aqua therapy, massage, myofacial therapy all of which my insurance will not cover is what is in my toolbox.

    Thanks to all for sharing and offering your experience with experiencing pain and needing pain meds and the challenge of being on this spine journey.

  • The historic methodology with pain has been to take increasing volume medication as the panacea of a unique solution, where non invasive pain clinics attempt to keep medication usage to a minimum, it is brave and positive for anyone who has been taking medication for a considerable time to contemplate any reduction let alone quitting.

    That needing medication is about our individual perception and behaviour, where one persons nine may be another’s lower number it has nothing to do with the actual pain rather when it means to us as individuals based on past experience of pain itself and many other factors. Sternbach the pain academic suggests managing pain is about increasing stoicism and PM more to do with those chosen becoming more resilient to the pain itself where willpower is only one aspect.

    It is my doctors responsibility to manage my medication volume irrespective of my request for a continuing increase if that was my objective, some people do expect medication to eradicate all the pain, it is hard to explain that this idea is unrealistic it seems uncaring not to give the help those who perceive a “need”.

    Jims question is could we, would the pain increase as a direct result of less medication only time will tell? As his recent post highlights on good days many thing seem possible even achievable, all our reality differs and our dreams sometimes evaporate. My standing-up continues to be a problem and now evaluated as virtually unable to walk. Pain does change our focus day to day and at least Jim had the vision to think his objective may be possible, if not now, in the future,

    Good thread and some thoughtful ideas.

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,745
    I always appreciate and respect you point of view.
    And so true, on a good day many thoughts seam possible and even reasonable.
    Then, take a bad day, and the whole landscape of your thoughts seems to have been impossible. And maybe a little bit ridiculous.
    But maybe a seed of thought has been planted.
    And who knows what the future holds for us.
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • We should also forgive ourselves for making difficult decisions when we feel bad, as you say they seemed logical then at the time and less so at we improved and think, “ what was I thinking ” eventually we come up with a better decision.

    I like your plan of taking one less pill and we should acknowledge that first difficult step, those without pain or ailment are able to use the success of the past as a spring board into the future where ours could be limited, we step tentatively forward into the unknown, untried or tested.

    I live a bit in the now, today and what is achievable, although my sporting achievements are over I still look forward to the next 20 years, one pill less or more as I go. A fantastic topic and where we should be heading, who knows indeed Jim ?

    Take care, John
  • I'm currently on a medication reduction program, if you want to call it that. But it's not actually by my choice. I think most of you have read my thread titled "MD Decided That I No Longer Need Pain Meds."

    I went from taking the Norco 4x daily down to 2x daily and was in such excruciating pain that my blood pressure was really high (high for me at 148/96) and my PM doc said that was "unacceptable" and told me to add back in a dose. But my PCP hates anyone being on pain meds so he's really pushing for me to be off of all pain meds as quickly as possible. Just the other night, I had sent him a message that I was going to need a refill by the middle of next week and he responded that he was going to reduce the dose again. Since I'd just gotten home and was in terrible pain already, reading that he was going to reduce me again just set me off and I blasted him. I told him that apparently he'd forgotten the conversation we just had two weeks ago about the PM doc telling me to add back in a dose for a total of 3x daily because me having an average daily pain level of 8 was not acceptable and it was making my BP go up. I told him, "Sometimes, I wish that you could walk a day in my shoes. I think you'd be really surprised at what I deal with on a daily basis." He had his nurse reply back the next day with a refill for the 180/mth. I was on 240/mth just a few weeks ago when I started this. He reduced the monthly dose as soon as he heard that I was going to start weaning off. This time, he was going to reduce again to 120/mth. I'm not even scheduled for the RFAs for a couple more months, so in essence, he wants me to be completely off of all pain meds BEFORE I even have the procedures! And forget about afterwards.....I'm not going to have ANY pain control at all after the RFAs so I pray that the pain isn't too horrible as my nerves are dying. And I also pray that the procedures work for me because if they don't, I'm SOL because he won't ever give me pain meds again once I'm off of them. I know this about him.

    So for me, the weaning off the pain meds doesn't worry me. I'm not worried about any withdrawals because I'll do it safely, and I've never taken more than I was supposed to anyway. What scares me is that if these RFAs don't work for me and I end up being in excruciating pain afterward, that I'll have to learn to live with that. I'm scared that I'll become non-functional and disabled and I need to keep working.

    I would LOVE nothing more than to be able to function and live my life WITHOUT pain meds, but also without pain. I'm just not sure that I'll be able to live without both.
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