View Full Version : Pain med druggie?

05-25-2006, 02:07 PM
Do any of you feel guilty in asking for pain meds?

It's been 7 months since my surgery, but sometimes i need a pain pill once in a while... I finished the prescription that my surgeon had given me, so last week when i was at my GP's appointment, i told her that i still have some pretty tough pain occasionally but i was out of meds... I've been trying to get by on Advil or aspirin, but sometimes that hardly takes the edge off even... She seemed kinda reluctant to prescribe any for me, but she did finally.... however, i'm almost afraid to take any now ... worrying that if i use them up i won't be able to get any more... I don't want anyone to think i'm taking too many or being too wimpy.

Usually i only need something after i've over-exerted by carrying my granddaughter around more than i should... It's especially hard to rise out of a chair while holding her... even more so now that she's gotten so squirmy..lol

05-25-2006, 02:18 PM
I was wondering what most people take post-op for pain. I am awaiting surgery and can't tolerate anything with codeine as it makes me very sick. Are you allowed to take anything else besides tylenol?


05-25-2006, 02:20 PM
It's obvious that you are not taking pain meds every day. Sounds like you rarely have to take them. Taking them on an occasional basis like that is not likely to lead to an addiction. Most people know if they have tendencies toward addiction. Doesn't sound like you do.

Keep on taking your pain meds when you really need them. I am a pharmacist, so I know a little about pain treatment. I'm sure there are those that know a lot more about pain treatment than I do, but you should not have to live in pain.

Don't feel wimpy for needing something, or taking what you need, when you genuinely need it.

Physicians are cautious because they have to be. There are a lot of junkies out there. But they should never deny you the relief you need.

There are physicians that specialize in treating pain.

You sound spunky and great!

05-25-2006, 02:48 PM
I felt guilty about the pain meds too -I have heard so many horror stories that I was afraid to take any chances. I horded my narcotics and only took when tylenol wasn't doing the trick. I was "saving" them to stretch out the prescription for as long as possible, because I too didn't want to ask for more. I have a 6 month post op appt next Wed, and was thinking about asking for a new prescription, just to have on hand for those occassional really bad days. I think I took percoset 5/325 (5 miligrams narcotic, 325 mg tylenol).

05-25-2006, 03:18 PM
Hi Deb... Immediately after surgery they usually give you morphine in some manner i think, but before leaving the hospital, they changed me to oxycontin...I'm not sure what strength. Because i was out of town and the surgeon's office could not phone in a prescription for narcotics, they switched it to hydrocodone 10, then gradually decreased it to 7.5, then down to 5. That's what the GP gave me last week as well.

Cheryl, thank you for the reassurance. I really do try to analyze my pain before i take anything for it to be certain that it's bad enough for the 'big stuff'. If i can get by with otc ones i do. Thanks so much for your kind words...lol.. spunky? i don't know about that ;)

Meg... I'm so glad to know i'm not the only one who 'hordes' it and tries to stretch it out to last longer..I have a horror of waking in the night in that terrible pain and not having anything to take for it!

05-25-2006, 04:55 PM
Hi JoAnn...

I know what you mean. I hoard my vicodin, and pretty much only take it when I've got pain that is keeping me from sleeping. I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. If you go through the current RX, you might consider talking with your spine surgeon instead of your PCP.


05-25-2006, 08:09 PM
JoAnn, I am 6 months post-op and still take my pain pills occassionally. It lasts me quite a while, but when I need it, I take it. Don't feel guilty. Use your judgment, which sounds solid! Linda

green m&m
05-25-2006, 11:39 PM
I feel that way and I haven't even had a major surgery yet. It's been years since I got any prescription for my occational headaches which fails to respont to OTC stuff... (Midrin..works wonderfully for me.. but make me all loopy... x_o)

A potential problem I see in myself is that I've tried vicodin and percocet for minor surgeries I've had in the past and niether have really worked for me. In fact.. percocet makes me itchy!!. I stayed up ALL night scratching... that was not my idea of a good night's rest. :mad: Thankfully, the meds took the edge off the pain so I felt better... but here I am thinking.. what'll happen with major post-surgical pain?!

"Umm.. that doesn't work, I'll need a higher dose or a different medication"
...that prob doesn't sound good..

05-26-2006, 02:35 PM
I had to be switched to so many medications for two of my surgeries, so they probably will try many until one does the trick. The first time I couldn't stay on morphine, it made me so dizzy and didn't even take care of my pain, so they gave me Empracets-codeine meds- that are highly addictive and were only given to me for a few weeks. Then my family doc prescribed a few more, but at about one month post op, they didn't want to give me anymore for fear of addiction, and I agreed as I hate taking pills and how loopy they make me feel as well as I don't want to get addicted. So after I took some Tylenol and the only thing they would prescribe were NSAIDs, wich we all know are big a no-no for the fusion, and fortunatley I stopped taking them since they didn't do much anyway and had weird symptoms. This last surgey again all the morphine and even codeine this time made me very dizzy, so after a few days they tried something new-it starts with Oxy(but not Oxycontin), and I took some for only a few weeks, again I try to tolerate the pain and don't like feeling sleepy and nautious, and plus this surgery was not as bad and the pain was more manageable.

But I really wish they had given me some meds for occasional use that first surgery, as I didn't do as much walking and moving as I should have, and the first 8 months were really tough. So IMO taking them once in a while for great pain is the thing to do.

Thankfully I had my sleep aid that is very mild and not as addictive as other narcotics and pain meds, to get some sleep.

05-26-2006, 07:03 PM
I am having surgery on 21 June for five segment surgery and derotation. However, I had two hips replaced, one hip revision, and one shoulder replaced and have been to at least five pain clinic (Army so I move a lot). I found that Ultram (or Tramadol) works well. It works on the Opiod receptors, but is not a narcotic and is not controlled like one. You can have dependence and you do build tolerance. I am not a doctor and certainly not qualified to give advice. However, it does work for me. But, it is not strong enough for severe pain and not post-op pain. It is good for keeping our of a pain cycle after recovery.

05-27-2006, 04:27 AM
Eric, Ultram/Tramadol/Ultracet (Tramadol with acetominophen) might be ok after the first few weeks of recovery, but you will more than likely want something a bit stronger to begin with. Usually the pain is prety bad in the beginning and then after the first couple weeks it goes down. If you use the meds as prescribed you really dont have to worry about the risk of addiction too much, but if you take them too often and in too high of a dose for too long you will get addicted. Just remember that whatever med is given to you by the doctor is given to you because the benefits outweigh the risk. Talk to your doctor about your pain tolerance and the medications you have been on before. Maybe as your medications are adjusted and you are beginning to wean off you can move down the the Tramadol. Good luck with your surgery.

05-27-2006, 06:12 AM
You are correct. Ultram is best after the nasty pain is subsided. You have certainly been there and done that_ thanks.

05-27-2006, 10:58 AM
I don't understand this feeling of guilt.

You all had major surgery, your bodies were sliced open and pulled and twisted and screwed and manipulated and you have this hardware inside of you and you feel guilty taking and asking for pain medicine? Are you serious?

I can understand not wanting to become a drug addict but if I'm in pain, I'm asking for the meds. I tried being all brave and doing the Tylenol route and it was horrific. Gah!

You have nothing to feel guilty about at all and if people are making you feel that way, show them your before and after xrays and ask them if they think Tylenol would really help all that much?

05-27-2006, 12:45 PM
I totally agree with you katblack. Joann, you are only using as needed, your Dr. might just give you an RX for a small refill of something but don't feel guilty. Deb, as for what types of meds, I've been all over these forums and it amazes me how many types of pain meds there are! Tylenol post-op won't get it for you. While in the hosp. I had (like all) the morphine button which sounds great (administer as you need) however when you fall asleep and miss givine yourself some then you're in so much pain till it catches up. I told the nurses they should come in and push it for me at specific intervals... That went over like a lead balloon. Then by about the 4th day I realised I wasn't getting much relief and the Dr. started to switch around different types of combos of meds to give me better pain control. Besides the morphine button (which you don't have for long) I had Diazepam,fentanyl,meperidine,norco, precocet and naproxen in different combos. This was during my 8 day stay, what a soup! The one thing I have not seen on this site is anyone getting the fentanyl patches. These are for use at home. (A type of morphine) they are trasdermal. The first ones were 50 mg and you change them every 3 days. Then you go to 25 mg every three days. I am on that plus norco (for pain) and valium (for spazms) as needed. My Dr. said you can't heal if you are in pain so I think he went above and beyond the call of dudy in this area. Make sure your Dr. is willing to try different pain meds for you if what he prescribes doesn't work. You need to be pro-active in this area with some Drs. Best wishes, Suzy 3 months post-op.

05-27-2006, 06:06 PM
I don't understand this feeling of guilt.

You all had major surgery, your bodies were sliced open and pulled and twisted and screwed and manipulated and you have this hardware inside of you and you feel guilty taking and asking for pain medicine? Are you serious?

I can understand not wanting to become a drug addict but if I'm in pain, I'm asking for the meds. I tried being all brave and doing the Tylenol route and it was horrific. Gah!

You have nothing to feel guilty about at all and if people are making you feel that way, show them your before and after xrays and ask them if they think Tylenol would really help all that much?

ITA, but some docs are just not prescribing meds to the youngin's. I noticed that now that I'm in my mid thirties, they don't mind so much. It used to be hell for me to get my sleep aid, but once I got a note from a sleeping clinic saying that I was the worse case of insomnia they had ever seen, I get my pills now :) In my case I wouldn't feel guilt(guilt is less an less part of my life), but more so what do I prefer to feel, more pain or tired and loopy...For some people meds make them feel like zombies. :o

I think the best thing is to stick to what's best for us-wether it's being on occasional pain meds or a combo that works really well , and try not to tolerate too much pain.

05-30-2006, 05:16 PM
I am in the process of starting some kind of surgery, do not know how extensive yet. I have ignored the problem for about 20 years and it caught up with me. I cannot do anything without taking pain meds and I want that to stop. I also hoard my pain pills, take smaller doses, etc. I feel guilty asking for refills. I think that women tend to feel guilty if they aren't "perfect".

05-31-2006, 12:45 PM
I'm a long way from perfect and i know i will never be no matter how hard i try... but i feel guilty when i show a weakness.. isn't that silly? when i write it, i see that... When i asked my GP about some pain medicine, she looked at me over her glasses and said that i'm a long time from my surgery (7 months post-op) i felt so guilty... i'm afraid she thinks i'm either taking them for too long or that i'm imagining my pain. It's possible that she didn't think either, but i'm bad about trying to second-guess people... I'm thankful that she's the kind of doctor who won't jump in and prescribe all sorts of medicine at the first whine; she wouldn't have a very good reputation or my trust if she did that. It just makes me squirm a little when i have to ask for them...

05-31-2006, 02:07 PM
Doctors who haven't had scoliosis surgery don't know what pain we go through, and about the "looks", many give them for any type of pain we have, or pills we ask. And it's normal to have pain, and the only solution is either to take meds when we over did it or rest and do nothing for a while, wich is what I tend to do but I think I will ask for pills more and see if there are some that could help me without feeling weird or have too many side effects.

I say guilt doesn't bring anything good so it's useless and what they think is less important than our physical and mental well being. It's not easy to think this way, I know but the bottom line is what it is.

And down with us women wanting to be perfect, nobody is, certainly not men and a lot of them don't care and we still love them-although they can be annoying at times ;)

06-01-2006, 11:12 AM
My surgery is set for June 26th, and I can't wait!! I'm tired of living on pain meds, but its also a necessary evil at this point. It's kind of funny in my situation, my doc keeps wanting to give me more pain meds, but I feel I'm already on alot as it is and tell them I don't want more. I take Lortab 2 or 3 times a day- just to make it thru the day, Neurontin at night to keep the pinched nerves at bay so I can sleep and Celebrex twice a day for the arthritis in my spine. I'm supposed to take Flexeril as well- but that one makes me feel funny- so I admit I don't take that one. I think everyone's case is different, and different needs require different meds. I remember meeting one surgeon who said that Aleve was all I needed- and he even said that he had absolutely no sympathy for people with scoliosis- needless to say he isn't my surgeon. I think it is really important to find a doc that understands scoliosis and that each person with scoliosis has different needs. No hard and fast rules here.

06-02-2006, 12:19 AM
I am 10 mths post op from my last surgery and I still have to take pain meds. I was hoping that this last surgery (my 4th) would take care of my pain and I would only be on pain meds for a couple weeks after the surgery and be off. Well the surgery did not help my pain and now I am taking pills 10 mths post op. I worry everyday about me taking them since I have taken them for about 2 years now. If I didnt take the pills I would not be able to function. This is the only way I can get out of bed.
I had a follow up apt with my dr 2 weeks ago and I spoke to him about the pills. He assured me to not worry about it and when I have my surgery in August then we will try to wean down after this surgery. He told me never to just stop taking pills cold turkey because my body to go into seizures. He said it is very important to have him monitor me when I wean down. His words made me feel better and didnt make me feel like I am a drug addict. I have come across some doctors in the past who dont understand the amount of pain I go through everyday and just expect me to just stop taking them. Well I dont go to those doctors anymore.
Has anyone had any problems trying to wean off the pills after their surgery? It is my biggest fear running out of pills or something happening where I could not get my prescription filled. I dont want to live my life like this anymore! I want to live a normal life! Sometimes I wish I would have never taken one pill and just dealt with the pain.


06-02-2006, 06:14 AM
The last time I called my family doctor for pain meds, he asked me what for? I have been going to him for years, he sent me to therapy. Finally my chiropractor referred me to a surgeon, not the right one of course. I feel that I am on the right track to find someone who can help me.

06-02-2006, 08:56 PM
I have had three surgeries. I have taken pain pills after each one, but did not want to. My Dr. always prescribed vicodin for me. I can not take any moraphine it makes me sick to my stomach. Lots of pain meds make me sick.
I am 7 months post-op. I do not take pain meds now except every once in a while. I have not taken one for over a month now. I was always worried about taking them, afraid I would get addicted. My Dr. assured me I wouldn't and he was right.
I had a sister who over dosed on pain meds and killed herself, 3 years ago.
I seen her go through alot with pain meds, she just couldn't get off them, she needed professional help and would not let anyone help her.
My whole family tried to get her help and she refused.
I think a person can get addicted pretty quick, but I think as long as a person keeps a grip on how they are using them they will be ok.
Hope I didn't bore anyone to much with my babbling but just wanted to let you know that I have had to use them for two years off and on and never became addicted.
Good Luck,

06-04-2006, 08:11 AM
Good Morning Mattie,
One final thought. Taking pain meds on a consistent basis until the pain is gone is far better than "gutting it out" until pain is bad and then taking the meds. The latter is an addictive cycle and the former will help mitigate getting inside a pain cycle. It takes more meds after a gut out session then to maintain a reasonable comfort level. It was my experience after the hip replacements and shoulder replacement that my body/mind was very clear when I no longer needed the strong stuff and could taper off. However, it was done under medical supervison - so always take with your doc and follow what he/she says. I am certainly not a medical expert.
Walk with God. Eric

06-04-2006, 04:50 PM
From my experiences, at times I just needed to really take it easy and rest(not long periods in bed though) to calm the pain when I over did it, and also sleeping better while taking a sleep aid is such a relaxer, and calms the pain. I do get that sometimes the pain is too much and taking some meds are needed.