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Memory loss vs Chronic pain and medication,

jj-from montrealjjj-from montreal Posts: 60
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:21 AM in Chronic Pain
I’m sure you heard the term “I’m losing my mind” well that’s not to far from the truth.
The so called specialists are trying to convince me that I’m depressed. ,and because I’m depressed its affecting my memory. I want you to know this 12 minute diagnosis was given to me after waiting 7 months for this appointment, Hummer me I said give me a c-t scan just to see if I still have a brain. And that there is nothing growing in/and or on it..
He agreed to C-T scan so that was done now I’m waiting to see if my brain is still there.
I personally do not think of myself of being depressed this pain thing is not knew to me, I have chronic pain for over 10 yrs now, I think I’m kind of used to it by now, as for the medication I am taking , once again nothing new been on both for years, so why now is my memory becoming such a problem
I’m sacred
A little back ground;
I’m a 48yrs old male, I have moderate to severe chronic pain everyday of my life for the past10 years,
I was diagnosed with sever stinosis in the neck, severe D.D.D
At 37 I had to have a lamanectomy from C3 to C7 inclusive, do to herniated disc that affected my spinal cord. The doctors have made it very clear that there is real nothing left to try, medically.
Presently I can not feel with my hands, no sensation, I have pain from my head to my toes. I have been on every type of pain medication and all stopped working after a while
Now I take Lyrica and and medical marijuana
(My advice to the world ,” acceptance, never give up, keep your self occupied . get physiological help, just to put things into prospective. Try to smile)


  • It could be age, my mother who is about to be 53 forgets things freqently but is all around in good shape and doing well. Even I forget thing at 28 years old. it depends what meds you take whether thats to blame but it could be, I'm pretty sure benzo's are supposed to effect memory. I am on valium but rarely take them so I am not sure. I wouldnt worry too much about it. Good luck.

    *Edit* I didnt see you are on medical marijuana, I wouldnt be surprised if that had something to do with it. When I was younger, around 19 or 20 and smoked marijuana frequently it definetly effected my memory. I wonder how marijuana would work for my chronic pain, 75% of pain is nerve pain down my leg and mostly in my foot, I have found oxycodone the best pain med for me, works much better on nerve pain than anything I have taken, anyways thats all, take care.
  • I have just started taking gabapentin and find it is seriously affecting my working memory and recall. I am able to process information so I know it's going into short- or long-term memory, but I am having real difficulty recalling it. This is not just forgetfulness - I can't seem to get at the information and I feel this empty space in my head where whatever is spinning around, unable to be recalled and then articulated. I am not recalling certain words as well. I am usually fairly articulate but am now unable to grab this words frm my brain.

    Working memory is a place in your brain where you process information and determine if it is important and then you send it to either short- or long-term memory. I have noticed a huge change in my ability to work information there. The other day, for instance, I was out shopping and walked into a certain store and had no idea why I was there and what I was looking for. I just did a trip around the store hoping I could remember. I found that the item I was looking for would come into my brain and then leave and then I was left, again, confused as to what I was looking for.

    I am only taking 400 mg a day and its not working anyways on my nerve pain so I am doubtful that I will be able to increase it, otr I'm going to become brain-dead.

    It's really kind of scary. I take pain meds too and am trying to take less now to really see if the gabapentin is working. At this point I'd rather go back to the pain meds only. What's the point of taking 2 drugs?
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  • :) hi! i have bad memory problems and don't know what to attribute it to. it could be the opiates i have been on for over 20 years. it could be the Lyrica at 300mg a day. maybe it is the Flexeril and meds i take to try and sleep? could it be Alzheimer's? i don't know what to attribute it to but i am so worried about it. perhaps seeing what others think it is will help! Jenny :)
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,732
    I'm glad someone brought this up. I've been on many different pain meds. since 2002, most didn't work well or had too many side effects that I couldn't handle. But I don't think there was ever a memory problem, and the meds would also include nerve meds. Now I'm taking methadone for pain. It worked well for pain and still dose. the problem is I felt as if someone chopped 30 points off my I.Q. I can't concentrate, am very irritable and I have bad short term memory loss. This all took place as soon as I started the methadone. I take 50 mg. a day. my pm doc. had me on 60mg. per day and I couldn't handle it. I do take other prescriptions, but they were never an issue. If anyone has any ideas I'd be interested in listening.
    Good luck, Jim
    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!
  • I have always had terrible memory even when I wasn't on pain meds, and I'm only 22! Heh. To JJ, I would say that medical marijuana is most likely causing your memory loss. I'm from the marijuana center of the U.S. (Berkeley,CA) so I've heard a lot of information on medical marijuana. Take care!
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  • JJ,
    The difficulty is that having taken volumes of medication the passage of time itself does impact on our memories and equating this specifically to medication is problematic. It’s either one or the other, and people explain individual short term loss that I seem to have the symptoms for a long time. Incrementally with age some short term loss would be expected and where that normal range is your doctor would tell you.

    It is a concern that for us as a group the pace of change seems more apparent and it would seem strange if the medication was not having some effect rather than none. These are difficult things to compare but it can be done and would need a large base for realistic results, it is not something that is economically viable. My strategy has been to write things down and get into that mode of doing it all the time, I work where you are expected to remember things and still have lists, it does ease the apprehension of having to remember what are doing to memory which in itself can be a constant reminder of the lack of unseen ability.

    I take inordinate amounts of daily medication and expect of myself to perform normally and without restriction, this is an unattainable expectation for anyone, and I applaud my own capacity to remember the simplest of things on occasions. It is not apparent and neither do I make in known that some days are a psychedelic melange of difficulties are impeding my memory and some days I win.

    My sister expected to remember things and took umbrage at not being able to do so, not for her lists, and it put her under constant and unnecessary stress, trying to function within her expectation that we all have to adapt as time passes.

    Take care, an important topic for the future. John
  • I'm not talking about short-term memory loss that naturally occurs with age; I'm talking about what I consider severe disruption in my working memory, which is in an entirely different area of the brain. This feels like I have this blank space in my head and, honestly, at times it is really empty! I go blank. With short-term memory loss, your brain will at least drift to another thought, but with this, I seem to simply blank out. It is very, very strange, and something I have never felt before. It started about one week after I began taking gabapentin.

    I also notice an inability to grab specific words from my memory - this is similar to how I felt after surgery for about 3-6 months, which I think is a common effect of general anesthesia.

    This is not something I can be graceful about. I will be speaking to the neurologist in the next week or so and possibly will ask that he wean me off it.Sadly, I don't know where I will go from there, in terms of pain management - I am running out of options.

    I think this is an important topic too. I hope more people share their experiences with this. Thanks for your thoughts.
  • that it is the nerve pain meds. I was on Topamax (dopamax I now call it) and had exactly the same issues as you are all speaking of. Inability to finish sentences, inability to spell simple words or finish a conversation without stumbling about looking for the word that I wanted to use. It was horrible. My sister and I were both on it at the same time and we both figured out that it wasn't the marijuana that we smoked in the 70's as we previously thought that was literally making us brain dead. It was the Topamax! Now that I am off of it I can say without a doubt that it was the drug!
  • I would agree it is restricting and I have been taking them for 17 years, as you say a complete blank, and still the same concerns apply for long term use, that weaning aspect is a good thing and every medication has some side effects the balance is to find one that cover the pain adequately without such long term implications.

    It is a good thing to be more aware of the longer term issues and not take medication in volumes without some evaluation., my view is that it would be impractical to take no pills and as a consequence of that reduced the risk.

    Take care and a topic we should all be concerned about.

  • hiya

    it could be your medication, depending on how serioous your memory loss is

    Im only tramadol and my short term memory isnt very good at all anymore from taking it!
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