I just registered for these boards tonight, although this isn't the first time I've visited to read. Before I get to why I'm here, I'll give a little bit of history...
About 2 1/2 years ago, I went to the emergency room in extreme pain that I couldn't explain. The pain was in my right side and radiated to my lower back. This is the worst pain that I have ever felt in my entire life (which is saying something as I have had many surgeries over my life) and I was admitted to hospital and after trying many different non-narcotic medications, I was put on oxycodone (2 5mg tablets every 4 hours). I resisted this at first because I didn't want to be on a narcotic, I was pretty much against using any kind of medication to deal with pain but I wasn't left with very much choice at that point. After two and a half months of many different scans and doctors and such, it was discovered (in surgery) that I had a broken back. By this point I couldn't move or feel anything below my waist and was having a difficult time even sitting up.
So that's what started me on the oxycodone. Since then, it's just been one medical problem and surgery after another. The pain hasn't let up and therefore I've been on oxycodone pretty much the entire time. There was one weekend after having been on it for a year that I got very frustrated and attempted to just stop cold turkey, but this lead to unbearable withdrawal symptoms and pain that was no longer being managed and landed me back on the medication. There have been two other times when I have weaned off of the medication but both times I've ended up at the hospital in pain after a few days (not due to withdrawal but due to actual pain) and back on the medication.
Anyway, the newest problem is migraines and increased back pain that will both hopefully be treated with surgery at the beginning of February. After that, I'm going to attempt to safely come off the oxycodone. I want this to be easier this time because it has been incredibly difficult the other two times and I became depressed and irritable and anxious and just not myself and a very unpleasant person to be around.
So my first question is what can I do to make the whole coming off of the oxycodone thing easier or at least more bearable? Are there any over the counter medications that would help me sleep? Sleep was one of the most difficult things for me when coming off of that. The second most difficult thing was being so anxious all the time. So any suggestions on how to manage either one of these things would be greatly appreciated.
My second question involves what to do after I'm off of the medication and the withdrawal is done and over with. When I had been oxycodone free for a couple days the two times I tried to come off of it, the withdrawal effects were gone but I couldn't sleep. I had insomnia big time and I'm fairly certain that this is because my body became dependent on the sleep inducing effects of the oxycodone as I take 1-2 pills every night before bed.
I should also mention that I'm currently taking approximately 1 5mg pill every 4 hours, or about 25-30 mg per day. I'm not mentally addicted to this medication at all, I've wanted off of it the entire time I've been on it. My doctors are quite happy to continue prescribing it as long as I need it, but I want to find other ways to manage pain and not have to be on a narcotic anymore. I am however physically dependent and therefore need a little bit of help coming off of it.
I'm sorry that this is so long. I'm 19 years old and will be finally starting my first year of university in September and I don't want to be on this medication by that time. Any replies are greatly appreciated and if there's anything that anyone thinks I could help shed some light on, I'm open to any questions that you may have
Thank you so much.