View Full Version : pain medication

11-13-2004, 11:23 AM
I was told by my nuerosurgeon that it is not good to use pain meds ever. How can I manage day to day without them?He gives me no other alternatives to deal with the pain.Said in my case there is nothing other than surgery he can do for me and once I'd have the surgery,he said I will be disabled and unable to work.
I have percocet 5/325 ,that my general doctor prescribes for me ,which I do not abuse,I take only when pain is really bad.
Is it wrong to take these pain meds ever? Should I never take pain meds? It at times is only way to take the edge off of the pain.What damage caould come to me by taking these meds?

11-13-2004, 11:29 AM

11-17-2004, 11:14 AM
Just my two cents' worth on pain. I cannot imagine where I would be now if I hadn't joined a pain clinic. For anyone who has chronic back pain (or chronic any kind of pain) dedicated pain clinics can do so much! Some of us end up actually taking some narcotics for the long term. Many others get relief from other types of treatments such as accupuncture, facet injections, P.T., water therapy, etc. The people in the clinic do extensive evaluations of new members and will let you know which treatments would be best for you. So, please consider a real Pain Clinic?
I hope this is of help to you, Scoliosisguy!

12-05-2004, 07:20 PM
Hi there,

I would second Carole's suggestion and try and get in to a pain clinic. Sometimes there are also people who do pain management called "rehabilitation specialists."

My own "breakthrough" with pain management was when I finally transfered to an excellent MD. She suggested trying low-dose anti-depressants (amitryptilene) for my constant and severe low-back pain. In about two weeks my pain level had gone from about 7-8 to about 3-4. My MD says that this drug is non-habit forming and can be taken for long periods of time safely. Apparently it works because anti-depressants have a side-effect of killing nerve-pain. I take about one-fifth of the daily dose prescribed for depression.

I had also tried Bextra, but compared to the amitryptilene the effect was nothing.

Hope this might be of some use as an alternative to try. Good luck. ~Laura

12-05-2004, 11:20 PM
I never heard of a pain clinic. What do they do there?
Percocet is only pain pill that worked for me but I don't want to take it regularily.I still use it when its real bad and can't sleep. I'm interested in the amitryptilene for possibly working on nerve pain.

12-05-2004, 11:26 PM

Seems to have an awful lot of serious type side effects?

12-06-2004, 12:02 AM
These days, it seems that neurontin is usually prescribed for nerve pain. A lot of people can't take it because of side effects. Those who can generally report that it works well for nerve pain.


12-06-2004, 01:02 PM
Dear "scoliosis friend",

You asked where one would find a pain clinic and I didn't see a response to that question.

Some are Rehab facilities, and some are located within hospitals. Even some local/community hospitals have some pain clinics. They are usually an offshoot of the Anesthesiology Departments, since they are the experts in killing pain.

Taking Percocet is not the worst thing, either, if that is what your pain warrants. Must be that your physician has prescribed it, right? Do remember to take some sort of stool softener with it, however, as it can be very constipating..

I wish you the very best and hope that you take a list of all of your questions to your next doctor's visit. Let us know what kind of help he offers?


Carole M. (the elder):)

Karen Ocker
12-06-2004, 04:55 PM
I would try the pain management clinic in your nearest teaching hospital. I used a pain specialist(I knew him professionally) so I could vouch for his expertise.

The problem with narcotics is that they are great in the short term but one's body becomes used to them and one needs higher and higher doses to kill the pain. This is not addiction it is called "tolerance". A serious side effect is on the bowels. It becomes harder and harder to have normal BMs. This messes up the gut and rectal prolapse can occur.(rectum hangs out).

When discontinuing narcotics after using them for several weeks physical withdrawal occurs. This happened to me even though we tapered down the meds. This consisted of depression, cramps and diarrhea and hot/cold sweats.

The pain from the revision in my case was very severe and I was on Dilaudid(hydromorphone), Duragesic pain patches, lidoderm patches, neurontin and Tylenol arthritis plus an alpha stim unit(a form of tens). My pain was well controlled with all this stuff and gradually I came off them all and I was able to sleep at night .

12-06-2004, 09:02 PM
Hi :) Just a follow-up on the amitryptilene - to give you an idea, I am prescribed only 20mg one time per day (compare the dosages quoted on the website). It works for me great, and I trust the word of my MD on safety.

Hope you find something SOON! Take care ~Laura

12-06-2004, 10:14 PM
Yes ,my doctor prescribed me percocet.I try to not take it very often,but sometimes its the only thing to help.It does cause difficult bm's sometimes.
I will have to look around and see if i can find any info on a nearby pain managemnt clinic. I do not know of any off top of my head.

12-07-2004, 02:22 PM
I have no idea what your actual situation is, but I thought I would tell you that, recently, my doctor changed my use of the Percocet in order to get a better handle on the pain. He said to take two as soon as I arose in the a.m., one mid-day, and one or two at bedtime. It seems to be helping me. However, as I had mentioned to you, I do take Colace along with the pain meds. (Also, I am not a medical person, cannot prescribe and am speaking only as a friend.)

Does the doctor who prescribed for you know of a Pain Clinic?

Hoping you get some relief,


12-18-2004, 01:21 PM
Finally getting somewhere. Seen my neurosurgeon again yesterday and he prescribed me amitriptylene 25mg to take at bedtime and oxycodone,for pain as needed.
He also referred me to a pain management clinic ,which i go to my 1st session there on Dec 20th.
If eventually all that fails,I am looking at fusion from L1 down.But exhausting everything else first.

12-18-2004, 01:24 PM
He also referred me to see a scoliosis specialist to review my case and see me,and they will between the 2 of them,work with me .

12-18-2004, 02:21 PM
For ScoliosisGuy:

That is good news! Sounds as though you are definitely headed in the right direction!

I wish you the very best, along with a pain-free New Year!


12-20-2004, 08:10 PM
I went to my first and last appointment today at the pain management clinic my nuerosurgeon referred me to. Basically was no help at all. Didn't give me any ideas to try.All she said was drink alot of water ,eat alot of fish,and avoid caffeine or sugar because it causes inflammation. She said I'll see yuou in one month to see how your doing. I'm obviously going to be doing the exact same or worse without doing anythong but drinking water and eating fish!

12-21-2004, 11:47 AM
Oh, my goodness, "ScoliosisGuy"! What was her claim to fame? Is she an anesthesiologist? Maybe that first appointment was simply an evaluation? That is wild! If you have her phone number, I think I would certainly call her and complain of your pain before you slide into two long weekends and chance spending them flat on your back. You can always ask for more help, even to "tide you over".

Good luck to you!


12-21-2004, 12:03 PM
She didn't really seem to want to listen or did not seem too interested in what I said to her. I came in with a list of questions,and all she said about all them was;"You really d id your homework,your right on track". But still she never aimed at any direction or did anything. Said she'll see me in one month to see how I'm doing. I will be no better if I'm not doing anything different than before I saw her. I did not even reschedule for next month. I'm at the point now where other than surgery,I'm running into alot of dead ends and brick walls.

12-21-2004, 12:05 PM
I have been taking 25 mg of amitriptylene for the last4 nights now and I have been falling asleep better.

12-21-2004, 01:24 PM
I am beginning to suspect that you had was an evaluation. Was she the one who started the amytriptiline? (?sp) If so, this could be the beginning of your treatment. There are SO MANY things that can be done at Pain Clinic, that I really would not burn that bridge. I would make the appointment and go back and level with her (or whomever you see next time). It does take a little while to see just where one fits in at the clinics, and to find out what exactly should be done.

I would definitely try to go back. Hang in there. A month goes by pretty quickly (when you look back).

Good luck,


12-21-2004, 01:45 PM

I agree with Carole. It would be irresponsible to put you on a whole bunch of medication all at once, because if it worked, you couldn't really tell which of the medications was actually effective.

I've been on a low dose of nortriptyline for about 15 years to help me stay asleep at night.


12-21-2004, 10:24 PM
was prescribed by my neurosurgeon. The pain management clinic was a total waste of my time. I won't go back to that one I know.Not sure if I will try another or not.
The more involved I get with the medical field the more stressful it gets. This whole thing is stressing me out . I try to forget about it ,but can't because of the pain. i hate the thought of relying or trusting one of these people to perform a surgery on me.

12-24-2004, 02:36 PM
Dear ScoliosisGuy,

Don't give up! You are just beginning! And, Pain Clinics do not perform surgery. One visit is not a good measure of the clinic. Are you completely aware of what these clinics do? Most of them are really wonderful. However, it takes time for them to know and understand your situation. Please remember that they do see a lot of people who are actually just shopping for drugs. They have to be sure that each new patient is not one of those!
At many Pain Clinics, the patient has to sign a contract regarding drugs, and can replenish them only at that hospital.

I've been through just about every treatment they offered, and have settled into a pain regimen that seems to be the best for me. This took many visits. Even though my pain wasn't immediately cured, I did notice that the people at the clinic seemed very concerned about their patients. Needless to say, that helped a lot. Once, when I was hospitalized for something totally different, the Pain Clinic was notified and my favorite person came to me to be sure that my patch was renewed on time, etc. That service was invaluable!

So, don't give up? You could end up just wandering around "out there" with no help at all! Please?

And remember, surgery is a different subject, pretty much. If and when that is what you decide upon, you will need to get at least a couple of opinions from surgeons who are very familiar with the type of surgery that you will need. Do not feel that pain clinic doctors (or anyone else that you do not like) will do your surgery. It is your choice!


12-26-2004, 12:08 PM
Just frustrated with the proffessionalism or lack of that I have been experiencing with the medical field.I'm sure there are competent medical staff out there somewhere,but I don't feel I've found any yet.

01-05-2005, 11:13 PM
Hi everyone, I'm not sure how old this thread is, as I've been away a while, but it does seem odd what different experiences people can have even at pain clinics. The one I went to wasn't great, the guy I saw only wanted to do spinal injections and physical therapy, even though neither worked for me, and he didn't seem to want to offer any alternatives (even though there was acupuncture advertised in the lobby of the clinic, and I had heard pain clinics usually offer a range of alternatives).

My best manager of pain proved to be my MD; I also saw a different "rehabilitation" doctor who offered narcotics and encouraged me to try bodywork such as different PT modalities and even rolfing (which ended up helping a lot). I wonder if scoliosisguy could see another pain specialist at the clinic or maybe even find a different one? I think in my case the pain clinic had a very high success rate with spinal injections so that treatment had become something of a center for them, and that was their main specialization. Also, I saw many people there who were there for failed back surgeries who could barely walk from pain, and maybe to the doctors in comparison my pain seemed slight.

Good luck scoliosisguy and don't give up, I am proof that with some help the pain can get managed so that you can get on with your life.
Take care. ~Laura

Karen Ocker
01-06-2005, 08:06 AM
The reason why pain doctors do not use narcotics unless absolutely necessary for chronic pain, except terminal or cancer pain, is because the body gets used to them and they get less and less effective over time. You need higher and higher doses to get the same relief until you end up with being at the highest allowable dose.There are side effects on the bowel such as terrible constipation which in turn can damage the bowel.

Nerve blocks deliver pain meds directly to the nerve root and steroid injections there sometimes relieve the inflammation around those roots. For chronic terrible pain a new procedure where a catheter with a pump is inserted in the spinal canal. This is reserved for terminal or neurological pain from nerve diseases. The catheter it self can be a entryway for germs to cause an infection in the spine.

I was on heavy duty-MS-Contin for 4 weeks after surgery and I could not poop. Nothing worked save enemas. Skin patch Duragesic was very good for the following month. When we tapered off the narcs I went into withdrawal.

Family doctors are not well versed in the nuances of pain management and will quickly write the narcotic order to get you off his back. Pain doctors do prescribe narcotics in the beginning but work to get the person using other modalities.

If your nerves are trapped between the bones of your spine the pressure on them needs to be relieved somehow and narcotics do not do that. Nor do nerve blocks.


04-11-2005, 02:00 AM
I have to say that I have never found a medication that has worked right for me, that is still on the market.

I was on Vioxx for years, before I heard of all the damage that it can do to your body. Then Celebrex, then Naproxen, and now Meloxicam (aka Mobic). All of them have been quite hard on my body, but I can't go a day without one. Whenever I go see the doc's, they always suggest Tylenol...seriously what are they thinking?? That hasn't worked for me for years. :(

Has anyone taken joint formula vitamins as a solution to post-surgery pain??

04-12-2005, 04:45 AM

I have found that if a narcotic is needed that the duragesic patches are wonderful and also because the doase is transdermal( thru the skin ) it is a more constant dosage and therefore you don't get the same problem with the highs and lows of oral meds. Not only does it do a better job of controlling the pain it is also less habit forming than things such as percocet. If you still want to stick with percs try Oxy IR - it is the same med as percs but without the tylenol and caffeine which I found wasn't necessary. Also Oxycontin is a long acting form of the same medication and is released over time in your system. If taken as directed it is safe - all the reports of deaths are due to drug addicts crushing it and either injecting it or snorting it.