Pregbalin (Lyrica) is a better drug for neuropathy than is Neurontin. Ask your doctor about it. BTW, the condition within the family of neuropathy that you describe is actually called allodynia. It's a very confounding experience as the most benign touch can deliver unexpected pain. Good luck.View Thread
Sorry to hear about your pain. I had the same surgery in 1991 (bilateral autologous donation fusion from L3 to S1). It was my fourth failed spine surgery. I've done a great deal of research over the past 25 years, as my condition began more than 40 years ago.
Spine surgery has a long term success rate of between 40% and 60%, with lumbar fusion being closer to the 40% success rate. Surgeons never tell you this, because they tend to have a big ego. They consider themselves artists.
Have you been through a comprehensive pain management program? There are no silver bullets - nothing to cure the pain. But some people benefit from treatments. For example, I can reduce my pain noticeably with biofeedback alone. Others claim to have help with acupuncture, kinesiotherapy or injections. It's sometimes a good way to try out a wide variety of combinations of long and short-acting medications, and I emphasize "combinations." TENS can help with neuropathic pain. If all options fail, you could ask your PM physician if you might be a candidate for the spinal cord stimulator or the intrathecal infusion pump. They are a last resort because surgery is required to implant and remove them and all surgery carries a morbidity risk.
Sadly, disc replacement for the lumbar spine is not yet perfected. Disc replacement works well with the cervical spine because it only supports the weight of your head and upper neck. And it delivers better range of motion than a bone graft, rod or cage. But the lumbar spine carries far more weight. Instrumentation is used there today, rather than grafts, including rods, pins, pedicle screws and cages. But that does not significantly improve the success rate.
Comprehensive pain management programs also offer counseling and emotional support. I was very lucky to have a wonderful spouse and children to help me when I had to retire at age 51, ten years ago. I also receive a comfortable pension from my state government. Perhaps most importantly, I was a vocational rehabilitation counselor for seven years. I worked with paraplegics, quadriplegics, people with terminal illnesses, the poor and destitute. Today, I might not be able to work or play golf. But I can sit, stand, walk, feed myself and care for my bodily needs. Millions of people will never be able to do those simple things. In other words, I'm in constant moderate to severe pain, but I'm also very lucky. Many of us have trouble adjusting to the loss of activity, friends, jobs, income, self-esteem, etc.. It's just nice to know that there are professionals if you need them. Living a happy life with a disability like ours is truly an exercise in perspective.
Have you tried Fentanyl? It's 80 times more potent than morphine and is available in patches that last two to three days. Many people find that it helps them live a fairly normal life, with few major side effects. Many chronic pain patients are, like you, extremely tolerant to opioids. Fentanyl may be appropriate for this condition because it is so powerful, yet available in dosages ranging from 15 micrograms to 100 micrograms. For breakthrough pain, it's available IV, IM, as a liquid, tablet and Trans-buccosal. Good luck.View Thread
Many of us with chronic unrelenting pain find that marijuana is by far the most efficacious treatment. It causes no bodily harm. It's not addictive and it involved no dangerous chemicals, injections or surgery.View Thread
Many of us have been on higher dosages of Fentanyl than that over decades. I'm sorry to hear about your problem. But please do not extrapolate that to others.
As long as one very gradually increases the dosages, you can remain on very large amounts without causing any damage. Opioids are natural substances that bind with opiate receptors in the brain.
The great danger is respiratory depression. But you risked it only ONE TIME from ONE MISTAKE. That does not mean Fentanyl was not - still is not - your best medication. Are you out of pain now? Because I'll gladly trade a cloudy head for pain management - any day.
I would not wish your experience on anyone. But let's look back. Your mistake caused you to have too much Fentanyl in your system. The fact that you flushed it out and went though detox does not mean you no longer require powerful pain medication, does it? In fact, had you not made that one mistake, you might be today much better able to deal with your pain - still using Fentanyl and having better pain control.
So where are you now? You have a more clear head; but you are still in severe pain. How will you deal with that? What NEW way will you try? Will it help? I'm guessing that you'll end up with a similar amount of powerful opioid medication. And all that you went through would only be because you made that one mistake - not because you were using the wrong medication.View Thread
Yes, your spine sometimes cracks when you exercise. Does that mean you want to take a chance that the cracking sound or pain comes from a tumor that no chiropractor can diagnose? What kind of logic is that?
It's not a matter or "good" or "bad chiropractors." NO chiropractor is a medical doctor. NO chiropractor has graduated from medical school or completed a residency. NO chiropractor is qualified to make a medical diagnosis, prescribe medication, have hospital privileges, order and interpret radiological tests (beyond an X-ray, which does not reveal soft tissue, like tumors) and NO chiropractor can be trusted to diagnose any pain. Only medical doctors can do that.
Nothing is more important than your health. So, why would you want to trust it to someone who is not a medical doctor. You might as well as a welder to diagnose and treat your back pain. Or, take your chances...View Thread
A chiropractor is NOT a medical doctor. They call themselves a "doctor," but they are no more a physician than is a plumber. They are typically not bright enough to enter medical school. They never benefit from a residency or a fellowship. They are not allowed hospital privileges, cannot prescribe medication, cannot order critical radiological tests and are not trained to interpret them. Yet they have the chutzpah to crack your bones and ligaments together. They make a diagnosis based upon an X-ray, which will NOT reveal soft tissue, such as tumors, disc material or other damage. You could have a tumor and a chiropractor will not see it on the X-ray. By the time a real doctor finds the tumor, you may be on your way to the cemetery. Medical doctors diagnose with MRI, CAT-scan and myelogram. But chiropractors are not allowed to order those tests. That's because... they are not medical doctors.
If you need a will, you call a lawyer. If your sink is stopped up, you call a plumber. If your kid needs tutoring, you call a teacher. And if your body hurts - YOU CALL A PHYSICIAN - a real medical doctor - one with the letters "MD" after their name.
I've had a lifetime of back pain and I've been in doctor's waiting rooms for years. The one constant factor that I hear from patients is that "some d#&m chiropractor screwed up their spine." I've asked each doctor and surgeon and they ALL said the same thing. Many of their injured patients were made injured by chiropractors. They are DANGEROUS.
Look, nothing is more important than your health. So, why trust it to a "fake" doctor - a chiropractor? Trust your health to a real doctor - a physician. Trust your health to someone who completed medical school, a residency and maybe a fellowship. Otherwise, you're cheating yourself and your loved ones. Think twice before you may be damaged (maybe permanently) by a chiropractor. Trust your health to a real doctor.View Thread
Shalom, Channa. Thanks for writing here. I have a couple of comments.
1. "Klonopin" is an anti-convulsant. It is not appropriate for use as an opiate antagonist.
2. I want to congratulate you. It must feel wonderful to no longer have chronic pain. Why else would someone want to stop using the medications that help to manage chronic pain? So, best of luck to you. I think virtually all of us here now would kill be in your shoes.
3. Treating the temporary conditions associated with opioid withdrawal today is much easier than in years past. Your physician will recommend the use of an opiate antagonist (ex. Suboxone or Nalaxone) to make withdrawal easier than ever. You should also know that withdrawal symptoms depart after a few days, at most. Yes, it can be uncomfortable. But it is far less uncomfortable with the opiate antagonists mentioned above.
So, you're on your way. Congratulations on your diminished pain. I would kill to have little or no pain. And have no fear about withdrawal. It's much, much easier than it has ever been in the past.
Best of luck in your pain-free life. Shalom.
P.S. For the rest of us... know that a person can use opioid medications (as directed) for decades with no fear of organ damage. They bind with opiate receptors in the brain. Virtually every recent double-blind/control group research in the past couple of decades reveals an addiction rate of less than 3% (less than 1% if you remove patients who already had a history of addiction disorder).View Thread
I've had degenerative disc disease that manifested in herniated discs beginning at age 17, from a congenital disorder called central canal stenosis. For 10 years, I tried every possible treatment for chronic pain, including biofeedback, TENS, acupuncture, PT kinesiotherapy, injections, rhyzotomy, etc. I waited until I could tolerate the pain no longer and then I had surgery after surgery after surgery after surgery. My 4th included multilevel fusion.
I believed the physicians when they said that the success rate was "80% or higher." Long after all of my 4 failed spine surgeries, I conducted my own extensive research. The REAL success rate is much closer to 60%; fusion is lower than that. And with each failure, you grow more and more fibrosis (scar tissue). My last myelogram resembled a road map of New Jersey, with fibrosis everywhere, including some that impinged my spinal nerve roots. That's in addition to the extensive spinal nerve root damage that I received during my surgeries and the collapsed vertebra that resulted.
If there is a chance (likelihood?) that you'll need opioid medications WITH spine surgery, what do you hope to gain? You might be better off using the opioids (assuming they help) and bypassing the nerve root damage that virtually always goes with spine surgery.
The research shows that the long term (12-month) success rate for spinal fusion is between 40% and 60%. Do you want to bet the rest of your life on those odds?
Spinal fusion should be the last resort option, after you have tried the spinal cord stimulator and after you have tried the intrathecal infusion pump. Please, do not risk the rest of your life unless you know it's needed and you've tried EVERYTHING else. Don't end up like me: forced from my university position into retirement at age 51 - forced to be horizontal virtually all of the time for the rest of my life.View Thread