I recently broke down and asked for a narcotic to manage my back pain. I have tried an epidural, which was successful for the first two times but not at all the third. I have 3 bulging discs (L3-L5), stenosis, spondylosis, degeneration from L1 to my tail bone, scoliosis, and other. Neurosurgeon says I need a tri-fusion. Strangely enough, it seems like after taking Norco 5/325, my pain has increased. One thing I do know is that a side effect of pain meds is constipation which aggravates my back pain. Also, I seem to be retaining fluids again which is not good for my CHF nor the pressure felt in my back and knee.( I also have a dysfunctional left knee replacement which had been re-done 3 times already.) I am taking stool softeners and a diuretic. Any thoughts or suggestions?View Thread
Hey Tim, again, thanks for the information. I've never stopped to realize that each of us with our different metabolisms would process and react individually to pain medication.
I think I hear discouragement in your reply. I am so sorry for your pain, as I am for so many people. It's kinda' crazy to me that I have no one around me who can understand my level of pain and frustration over how it limits and disables me. I feel judged on days that I just can't do my daily chores even. This social website is helpful in that I realize that there are so many people in so much more pain than I am. Also, I feel understood and affirmed.
I've been in the process of getting my BA in Education but have been interrupted so many times because walking across campus is just too painful as well as even sitting at a computer for the time it takes to learn on-line. The combination of my knee and back just kicks my butt. I continue to read books as I can and hope to finish soon. I am learning so much about pain and alternative treatments and how to deal with it as well.
I just saw my neurosurgeon yesterday to request a spinal stimulator or implanted TENS or RF ablation or anything else along that line of procedures. Unfortunately, I am on Medi-Cal for another two years before I qualify for Medi-Care. At this point, the only procedure Medi-Cal will pay for is a cortisone injection or surgery. My neurosurgeon stated yesterday that he had never performed the surgery I need to the extent that is needed. I think my next step is a second opinion. Again, I'll see if Medi-Cal will cover that.
Hang in there Tim; one day, or sometimes one minute, at a time. Take care. MelView Thread
Good morning Georgia and Tim, I gleaned a lot of great information from both of you.
Georgia, thank you so very much for the salad dressing suggestion. I've been trying to find a solution to salad dressings because all of them are very high in sodium. I bought rice vinegar to mix with olive oil but haven't tried to mix it yet. Rice vinegar is a little sweeter than the apple cider vinegar. Do you know by any chance if the rice vinegar has the same healing properties as the apple cider vinegar? I just spoke with a trainer at the gym I go to and he mentioned that turmeric is in a capsule form. However, your suggestion of adding them to salad dressing is a fantastic solution as well.
Tim, the information about OTC NSAID's is also great information. Actually, my mom was recently hospitalized because of them. She was taking Aleve for shoulder pain but was doubling the amount taken to make it prescription strength. She was admitted to the hospital for symptoms indicating a heart blockage somewhere. It turned out that she was extremely anemic. She had a bleeding ulcer and ended up needing 2 units of blood. I also know that acetaminophen is very bad for your liver.
Those of us who have to live with chronic pain that is beyond help with natural products or OTC drugs are forced to choose between the lesser of more than one evil. Recently, because of my pain level increasing, because of my dysfunctional knees and back, the whole section between my knees and my lower back throbs and burns beyond what I can stand at times. It makes me feel like giving surgery a try. I figure it can't get much worse than what it is. But then I read of other people who have done the very same thing and have regretted it. This just sucks! I'm obviously having a hard time staying positive at this point. MelView Thread
Hi Georgia, thank you so much for the suggestions. I have tried aspirin, Tylenol, and Ibuprofen as well, however, unsuccessfully. I also take vitamin D3, calcium, and magnesium but have not added 5-HTP. I know that the three spices you mention reduce inflammation but really dislike all three. I know, I know, "buck up" and quit being such a baby, right?
I eat mostly fresh fruits and vegetables because of my sodium limit pertaining to my congestive heart failure so I'm on board with that one. I eat very few, if any, unhealthy complex carbs which can also cause water retention and inflammation. I try to eat lettuce/greens but cannot use any salad dressings because they are very high in sodium so I can easily discourage myself. I have not tried the flax seed. I'm going to have to try both that and the 5-HTP, after checking with my doc.
Oh wow Tim, I would be concerned if I were you! My blood pressure was similar to yours before my CHF and heart attack. My NP kept telling me it was because I was in so much pain...NOT! Yes, pain does increase your bp and hr but I would ask for an EKG or a referral to a cardiologist if I were you. Adding bp meds may save your life. I am such an advocate now for watching your heart for those of us on a pain med regiment for chronic pain. Don't just write it off as a result of pain. You are right when you say that you're damned if you do and damned if you don't but my doc and I are now monitoring my vitals and weight to know how to adjust my bp meds accordingly. Seriously, I wouldn't wait too long or buy a bp cuff and monitor it yourself at home; it's well worth the investment. Take care, MelView Thread
Hi Joy, I'm intrigued that I am not the only one that has experienced this phenomenon of increased pain from pain meds. While being in a coma from my congestive heart failure, I was weaned off of all my prescriptions and had dropped 30 pounds of water and had pretty much completely emptied my intestinal track (poor nurses). Previous to my CHF, I had a pain doctor tell me that my "Rx cocktail" was causing me more pain than helping it. I had just started that process when my heart failed.
For the first few weeks of recovery, my pain was not bad at all. I don't understand why but it slowly returned to its previous level. I had resigned myself to the level of pain I was experiencing (with a whole lot of prayer and dependance upon God) when I tried an inversion table upon my doctor's recommendation. I tipped 15% for 3 minutes and when I turned upright, my pain level went from a 5 to a 10!!! I was told that I tore some connective tissues but it should have healed up by now. Since I wasn't sleeping and my blood pressure and heart had significantly increased, due to extreme pain, I finally broke down and asked for help.
So, now I'm in this nasty cycle of managing my pain as well as digestive system, and now my heart. I do think that constipation and water retention is what contributes to increased pain. Consequently, I take I diuretic and mild stimulant and stool softeners. So very frustrating; I wanted to try and stay away from any med I could but my pain was just too much to handle.
I have an appointment with my neurosurgeon this week to try and get a spinal stimulator, or implanted TENS unit, or RF ablation, or anything I haven't tried that is non-narcotic. My biggest challenge there is that I am on Medi-Cal and they are very picky about what they will cover. It seems like the county would rather medicate than treat pain.
Well, thanks for replying. I pray you have a restful Sunday. MelView Thread
Hey Tim, thanks for your reply. No, I was not offended but thank you for being sensitive to the challenges of online discussions, especially when speaking of chronic pain. Without the benefits of vocal inflection, eye contact, and body language, one can easily misconstrue what was said. I have raised a few boys though and understand that guys just give the fact.
I do understand that that taking opiates of any kind or strength causes constipation. I have been on and off pain medication for about 10 years due to a nasal staph infection, bilateral total knee replacements, a double patella reconstruction, and an additional total knee replacement on my left knee, which incidentally, needs to be "serviced" again due to mechanical complications. Now my back pain has been added to the list. Opiates have always caused constipation so I was expecting that one. I have to use a mild stimulant as well as stool softeners to "keep things moving along". I also am limited in my water intake because of my congestive heart failure (CHF) so that doesn't help matters at all. I weaned off of all pain medication while in the hospital for my CHF and heart attack. I managed to stay off of them for 3 months but the pain, not sleeping, and inability to barely move wore me down enough to begin again with the pharmaceutical regiment. Unfortunately, as you are aware, my body does quickly adjust and the prescribed milligrams become ineffective. The 5/325 mg prescription is very low; seeing as I had been through the process of increasing strength and was at the top of the chart in last October before my CHF.
I was, and still am, trying to manage my pain without narcotics but my pain level just continues to increase faster than I can get into a pain management doctor and my neurosurgeon. I am on medi-cal and am praying that they will pay for alternative procedures since all pain meds increase my heart rate and tax my heart unnecessarily. I also don't like the water retention and seemingly increased pain from the narcotics. I just wondered if I was imagining the connection between increased pain and beginning the Rx pain med again or if other people had experienced the same thing.
Incidentally, I too have experienced "birth pains" while defecating. I have had three children and that pain is comparative to labor pains. Thanks again for the reply.
I am considering asking my Neurosurgeon about RFA. I have read both good and bad about the procedure. I am also taking Gabapentin, the full amount allowed which is 3600 mg. It helped for the first 2 months but now my pain is unbearable most of the day. I have had 3 epidurals, the first two lasting about 2 weeks and the last being ineffective. I've also been doing some research on spinal stimulation. I really want to stay away from narcotics if possible because I had a congestive heart failure last October and don't want to tax my heart with additional medications. My pain level has recently jumped from a liveable 5 to an extremely debilitating 8 or 9. Upon doctor's recommendation, I flipped myself to 15 degrees for 3 minutes on an incline table. NOT GOOD! Something bad happened; not sure what but I hurt so very bad when I flipped back up. I even had to get my walker and crutches back out. Getting from my bed to my bathroom is excruciating, not to mention sitting on the toilet. There just has to be a solution.View Thread