I am sure a number of regulars on this forum are familiar with my health situation. To briefly summarize: I am like so many others that post here. I had a back injury resulting in spinal surgery 2 years ago that did not go well, leaving me in chronic...sometimes debilitating pain. As a result, I am now addicted to pain meds and am trying to stop (with varying degrees of success, depending on my present pain level)
Which brings me to a question I must ask those who have successfully gottem themselves off opiate pain medication. What do we do to cope on a daily basis with pain that seriously disrupts quality of life? Do I throw up a white flag and just come to grips with the fact that I will be on pain medication from here on out??? This is a scary notion, since I have, after 2 years, developed tolerance (duh) for the meds I am on and find I need something stronger to get the same relief. Luckily (relatively so, I guess), I have been on Darvocet for the most part which I know is considered to be one of the weakest narcotics, with hydrocodone 5mgs prescribed for "breakthru pain". The problem is that I am taking WAY too much tylenol daily and am scared silly about my liver. I estimate that I take about 5,000 -6,000 mgs of APAP daily.
Even taking this much drugs, I still have quite bad back pain on some days that leaves me in tears. (I can only imagine how bad it would be without any opiates). I have tried just about everything in the book to get relief ranging from physical therapy (actually made things worse), to exercise, to lidocine patches (a joke), to heating pads at night (some relief), to epidural injections (nothing improved from these), to radiofrequency, where the doctor went in with a laser and actually fried out the nerves he thought was causing the pain (did absolutely nothing). What else is there? I feel so depressed thinking I will live the rest of my life in such pain with my only relief coming from a little white pill that I know is killing me.
Are you absolutely sure that what you are dealing with is an actual true addiction,or a dependancy or "psuedo"addiction?while some of the signs and symptoms are indeed the same,the motivation behind them is what really difines which one you are dealing with.you really need to first indentify within yourself what one you really honestly feel is what you are dealing with before continuing on with any possible treatment changes,although i definitely see the tylenol being a huge issue just because you are going way over the reccomended dosage requirements of the 4000mgs per day for occasional usage but for people such as yourself,taking this on a daily or chronic basis,that 4000 goes down to only 3000mgs just becaue of the cummulative effects that tylenol has on a persons liver.
I could give you a real quick description of the addiction vs dependancy vs psuedo addiction here but i think it would be much better and really can explain things better for you if you looked up the real specifics of each condition yourself and see how youer signs and symptoms compare,then decide what you really and truely feel fits your situation the best and come back here and i can help you much much better.only YOU know for sure what it is you are actually dealing with.the thing is,a true chronic pain sufferer who starts narcotic treatment at the time of the pain starting runs about a 3% chance of actually becomming addicted vs a much higher percentage for the general population.butif you were abusing pain meds before you started having the chronic pain condition,well that can really make it much more likely to actually become addcted.the risk is just naturally higher for a 'pre" addict who suddenly is dealing with a chronic pain situation thats all.
but you do need a definite change in your pain meds if this is going to continue and at the very least a good blood workup on your liver and kidneys since your tylenol intake has been over the daily limit on an ongoing basis.
but do as i suggested and really do look up the definitions in much better detail than i could ever possibly give you here and see what you honestly truely feel about whatever condition you fit the best.you just have to identify frst where you fit then we can go from there.
i am a former addict who because of severe spinal cord injury,and other major medical problems, was pretty much forced to have to go back onto the crap i had been clean from for well over a decade.it can be done but it takes one heck of alot of will power and very very close monitoring by my pain clinic which includes a narcotic contract.i have been able to maintain full compliance for almost three years now but with alot of help and support.and i am NEVER ever comfortable on this crap either and fully aware that what happened before could possibly happen again if i should ever think that i am not and always will be an addict.the key is to never ever for any reason,go out of my docs Rxing guidelines,ever.not one pill,no matter how bad things can get on some days.i have found other ways of dealing with the worst flares.you just have to.and some days,i just don't do certain things if i am in that situation.you have to know your own limitations when you are a chronic pain patient.your life just changes.
anytime i feel the slightest thought of going over,i think of the pain and the extreme hurt i caused my family and dear friends when i was active.it makes me sick.usually,thats all it takes to help wipe that thought out of my mind for that day anyway.is not easy,but nothing worth having ever is now is it?the absolute fear i have of actually having to feel the full effects of five seperate pain syndromes also helps alot.thinking about not having those meds availiable to me when i desperately need them also helps keep me compliant.total and absolute fear is a great motivator trust me.
see how things fit by just doing that bit of research and let me know what you really think about your situation and we can go from ther,K?
like i said before,only YOU really know for sure what it is you are dealing wth here.Marcia
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.
Hey Lou, what a great post by Marcia. Couldnít have said things any better. Just wanted to add a couple of things. From your post, you have tried a lot of different things in order to help with the pain. It has to be frustrating to you with trying all the other things and they just havenít worked. But listen, you have got to change something around to where you arenít taking as much Tylenol. There are some people who just need the help of opiates in order to deal with the pain they are suffering, you may be one of these people or you may not. Only YOU can make this decision. I would really sit down with your dr and let him know the darv is not working for you. You have tried a lot of things, but one thing you really haven't done, is be honest with your dr about your situation. If you aren't totally honest with them, how can the help you? Just something to think about.