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Old 05-23-2012, 11:59 PM   #1
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Physical addiction to pain meds

Hello looking for some advice. I have been taking two 10/325 percocets every 6 hours for two years along with two 350mg soma a day. I feel the need to increase again and know that I am now addicted, I tried to talk to my pm doc about a year ago and he explained the difference between being physically addicted and mentally addicted and because of my chronic pain and muscle spasms, suggested that I do not stop if I want a quality of life. At the time I agreed, I am in constant pain, still with the meds and it is only getting worse. I have had to go without and it was a nightmare, I was sick like the flu and it continued until I was able to get my script filled. Atavan, clonazapam, immodium ad, helped with symptoms but for a few days my pain was an even 9 and my anxiety through the roof.

This past year I have had no insurance so once a month I got to the doctor and get my scripts, and live my life. My meds were lost/stolen while camping and I am not due for a refill untill the 13th. So, my question is should I take this as a sign to get off these damn pills, or what do I say to my doctor?

I feel I am in a place I have never been, physically addicted, I need the pain meds to function, to live my life, to move, to do chores, to do much of anything, it is a scary place to be and I can say I don't like it.

I do have some serious problems with a failed lumbar surgery, cervical fusion that left me with a lot of pain and weakness in shoulders, neck, hands, and arms. But this isnt living either I feel that there should be a better way. I hare going to the doctor and asking for meds, I hate worring that I am going to run out, I hate taking them to help and still having pain. I need some suggestions on what to do. I have 10 percs left from last month that were not lost while camping (they were at home)

Going cold turkey after two years how bad is that going to be? What recomendations are out there? Do you think my pain would get better if I get off all this crap and if so how long would it take.

Thanks for any advise.
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Old 05-24-2012, 11:39 AM   #2
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Re: Physical addiction to pain meds

Okay, you're not addicted to pain meds, you have a dependency on them, there is a major difference. You have a chronic pain problem that requires treatment so you can live your life and have some quality to it. I'm assuming your Dr. has weighed the risks and tried other modalities of treatment and or surgery and this is the treatment you are left with. Sometimes in order to live your life with a debilitating condition you have to take pain meds, it's that simple. Yes, your body does develop a physical dependency on them, just like any other substance you put in it daily.

Addiction occurs when you start abusing your meds, i.e. taking more than prescribed, getting them from other sources besides your Dr., taking other forms of narcotics with your RX'd meds, taking your narcotic meds for the "enjoyment, euphoria" factor instead of just pain control.

In this day and age, society say taking pain meds is evil, we shouldn't do it...well society doesn't have a physical condition that requires those meds in order to live their life, you do. Yes, you should keep your narcotic meds to the bare minimum it takes to keep your pain at a level that you can live with and still live your life and do the things you need to do, such as work, take care of your family, have some enjoyement, etc. You should work with your Dr.'s to find as many different methods of treatment as are possible, so that you can take as small a does of narcotics as possible.

If you have an actual physical condition/injury/disease, then stopping the "evil" pain meds is not going to make the pain go away, it doesn't work that way, sorry.

If you're seeing a Pain Management Dr., then you are most likely on a Pain Contract, which states that lost meds will not be replaced for any reason, so you have some time to see what it's going to be like to live without your pain meds. They make these rules for a reason, taking these kinds of meds routinely is a big responsibility, and it's your job to make sure you keep your meds safe. All Pain Patients should keep their pain meds in a locked med safe, at all times, to avoid things like "lost/stolen meds". The next 3 weeks are going to be Hell, pure and simple. You will have to deal with the withdrawals plus the unmanaged pain and that is not going to be an easy task.

If you decide that your pain is controllable with advil or tylenol and it's time to leave Pain Management then now would be the time to do it. Otherwise, there is a great Pain Management Board on this site that can give you much support and guidance. If you decide to stick with your Pain Management routine, it's probably time to take it a little more realistically and do the things needed to keep you from winding up in this situation again.

Take care,

Kat

 
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Old 05-24-2012, 02:44 PM   #3
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Re: Physical addiction to pain meds

well, hey there. you say you're not addicted but I was seriously addicted to opiates( had a good 10 year run, was up to 15-20 norco, percs, dilaudid daily. I've been clean now for 84 days( 6 day detox, 30 day residential stay), been going to meetings, sponsor support, etc. The overwhelming daily fixation of making sure I had enough everyday to keep going was exhausting. I was done, stick a fork in me. detox was a *****-no subox, no methadone but am glad now that was the process for me. Obsession is gone and have been feeling better everyday now. Not sure if this helps you or not...

 
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Old 05-24-2012, 05:38 PM   #4
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Re: Physical addiction to pain meds

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Originally Posted by opiate1 View Post
well, hey there. you say you're not addicted but I was seriously addicted to opiates( had a good 10 year run, was up to 15-20 norco, percs, dilaudid daily. I've been clean now for 84 days( 6 day detox, 30 day residential stay), been going to meetings, sponsor support, etc. The overwhelming daily fixation of making sure I had enough everyday to keep going was exhausting. I was done, stick a fork in me. detox was a *****-no subox, no methadone but am glad now that was the process for me. Obsession is gone and have been feeling better everyday now. Not sure if this helps you or not...
hmmm...not sure I can agree that there's anything "good" about a 10 year run of drug addiction, but to each his own. Glad you took the steps to do what you needed to do. Everyone has their own way that works for them. Keep it up.

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Old 05-25-2012, 11:11 AM   #5
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Re: Physical addiction to pain meds

sandy, i just wanted to give a huge 'ditto" on everything that kat told you regarding being in PM and deciding whether or not you really and truely 'need' to be in PM(or even ON any narcotics), only YOU know what your pain is like and what makes it 'tolerable" enough to simply try and live your own life. i personally cannot even begin to try and 'move' cartain body parts in the moring until certain meds, like my OC actually just 'kick in' when i can move, i know they have released since i have not 'felt" this crap in my head release in many years. i can just finally 'move'.


just a few more FYIs for future referrence and some for now..
trust me, there just IS very real pain that IS in dire need of being treated with the use of narcotics. not everyone is "lucky' out there and can end up having some really sick and insane things happen to their own bodies that can generate in some cases a constant form of intractable torture without that form of help(and even WITH the use of narcotics among other types of meds too). and that IS where the PMs come in who not only can offer the appropriate meds for our "brand" of pain, but the use of other modalities as well. i use alot of different things(not 'only' narcotics) to try and keep my pain down to a duller roar, mostly because i just have some pain that thankfully does respond to LA narcotics but also some that in no way shape or form will respond to them, so we HAVE TO go in other directions for that sick level of crap. having those' back up tools' of PM in our little pain control chest just really is almost critical for cases like this, and so we are NEVER ever even tempted to take another pill more than we are allowed either, esp when in PM, or THAT, in many different ways could come back to bite us bigtime. also, taking more than we are actually allowed for any given day, even just that one tiny pill is what can start us down that roed of addiction or abuse, and not 'just' that dependancy that most of us have simply by having to take this crap on a daily basis. once we simply 'allow' ourselves to take that one extra pill, we have "justified' doing it inside our heads. that just makes it that much easier to do again, and again and again at some points when we just tell ourselves, 'well, i NEED this becasue my pain is so bad'. and then it starts. this IS wherre having those 'other ways' to help manage seriously become critical for us to use 'in place of' taking that one extra pill.

any changes in the way we take our meds, or anytime our pain is just getting way beyond what we feel we can tolerate, simply CALL YOUR PM FIRST before taking or doing anything that you already just KNOW from that contract you signed IS against the "rules' set down by your PM contract. i cannot tell you just how many people come to the pain forums looking for some type of guidance AFTER they screwed themselves by taking way more than they KNEW at the time they took them that is simply WAS going to come back to bite them at some point. i KNOW kat has read these too. the time to always call your PM is BEFORE you decide to self medicate, always. just some other stuff i thought you should know here sandy just even being in a PM situation. just about anything we 'do' with our meds, like you taking what i am assuming more than you would realistically need on that camping trip or even keeping them in the original bottle so anyone who looked at them(sick people) would just 'know' what you were taking? can have much bigger consequences for us to have to deal with. and i would not go near or allow into my house ANYONE who was on that lil trip with you where these were taken, ever again, unless you actually KNOW without a flippin doubt just who the culprit was who could even just DO THIS TO you.

and always, always lock up any meds that you are not currently using(or hide them in a really really great spot out more in the open so you can SEE everyone in your home pretty much all the time too) as well as when you go anywhere? only take what you are going to need along with you. this way, if someone does decide to steal someones pain meds(pretty sick thing to do) you will not be 'out' of too many. the more you just have still there to try and get thru til your next fill will always make it a bit easier to at least "try' and use seriously only as 'absolutely' needed.

i had the very same thing occur with me before a surgery with practically a full bottle of hydro when i was at work. there had only been two pills missing, and 'someone' else got the rest. after that happened, i no longer EVER put any narcotics, whenever i have to go out of my home in the original container, but put them in with like my tylenol or some other OTC type of med just for THAT one reason. i also only will take these even out of my home if i absolutely have to. thankfully i was NOT in PM when this happened and was able to get me meds replaced by my primary(had had him for over 16 years then and he just 'knows me better than anyone') who had actually written that script while waiting for c spine surgery i desperately needed.

so are you actually currently supposed to be on the atavan and clonazapam, or was that before? just wondering what you are dealing with here hon. if this is only percs and soma, while the soma could be a bit more of an issue becasue of its relaxant properties/make up, if you just try and halve all of the percs you have left and use ONLY if you absolutely cannot tolerate the pain by using either aleeve which lasts much longer than advil, or advil if you choose to. or without without trying some types of topicals that really DO help alot for certain types of pain, i use these too for my c spine mess, that would help alot.

one wonderful thing that i almost have to use despite also using diazipam at a low dose for my spinal cord injury generated spasticity is magnesium. it IS like 'natures muscle relaxer' becasue it does actually help to relax muscle. the very best way to use this actually is by soaking in a rather hot, but not an overly hot tub of water with a cup of what is called "epsom salts"? there are only just very pure granuales of magnesium that will kind of dissolve in the tub(tho you may have to do some swiling around once you get in there). but using the mag this way actually allows the mag to absorb directly into our muscles and helpthe 'full body' that is simply under that water line. this always helps when my spasms get too over the top and esp doing this right before i goto bed as well. not perfect i know, but trying to find ANYTHING right now that will help you the most really will help you to get thru this ugly time.

just an FYI here for something that has doen an absolutely amazing job on my really horrid c spine/upper back pain casued by a ton of myofascial muscle damage and trigger points from hell that keep generating themselves. it is called 'biofreeze" and it is the most amazing thing that actually DOES work to bring my levels of sick pain down, on some days by points even. the thing is, you have to obtain it from a chiropractor or certain PT facilitys only. but if you even know someone who sees either one of thsoe, they could get some for you. or, and i would do this myself if in your posistion(this just DOES work THAT well sandy), just pull out the phone book and look for ANY chiros near you and then call and ask if they carry biofreeze. if they do, just ask if you could come in and by a roll on tube(i just cannot imagine them saying no to anyone suffering pain). the last bunch i got a couple of years ago(i actually bought 4) was around like only ten bucks per bottle. i cannot imagine it would have gone up, if at all by much at this point. but this little wonder has gotten me thru some really really horrid pain flares and some really bad post op periods, esp with my sick rotator cuff surgery,owe. this is by FAR like THE BEST topical of any kind i have ever used(except for lidocaine ointment and patches),and my upper neck/back was and still does from time to time, usually run around like an 8 when flaring and sometimes worse depending. my c spine is litterally falling apart and sending out horrid inflammatory signals that biofreeze seriously just 'hits'.

i am really sorry you have to even go thru this at all sandy. but conserving what you have to get thru til that next fill will always help you the most in this kind of situation(think of anytime you just DO NOT have to take any of those halves as not only a HUGE accomplishment. but you also got thru another day and one step closer to the bigger picture/help). you just do not want to have to tell your PM that they were stolen if you can avoid this at all costs right now. i do hope at least some of this helped. good luck with this hon, and please DO keep us posted, marcia
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Old 05-25-2012, 02:12 PM   #6
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Re: Physical addiction to pain meds

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Originally Posted by sandiemas View Post
I feel I am in a place I have never been, physically addicted, I need the pain meds to function, to live my life, to move, to do chores, to do much of anything, it is a scary place to be and I can say I don't like it.

I hate going to the doctor and asking for meds, I hate worring that I am going to run out, I hate taking them to help and still having pain. I need some suggestions on what to do. I have 10 percs left from last month that were not lost while camping (they were at home)
Hello sandiemas,

I am physically dependent upon my pain meds and although I don't like it,I am trying hard to accept it.
In the morning,I am in such debilitating pain and it seems to be the only thing that significantly decreases it.
I am trying to get past this 30-45 minute daily ritual of sitting down until the meds take effect.

Being dependent upon anyone or anything brings me a certain amount of discomfort but with my therapist's help,I am slowly beginning to see the other side of the fence;where the grass is always greener(so they say).

I sometimes feel that I have to swallow my pride when asking my neurologist for pain medication/s but in the grand scheme of things,if I don't do it,no one's going to speak up for me.

Know that i'm hoping that your quality of living improves.

Respectfully
Phoenix

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Old 05-28-2012, 10:18 AM   #7
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Re: Physical addiction to pain meds

I didn't think they usually gave chronic pain folks short-acting meds except for "breakthrough pain". What about talking to the doc about a longer-acting med?

 
Old 05-28-2012, 11:19 AM   #8
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Re: Physical addiction to pain meds

Actually most chronic pain patients start out on short acting meds...you work your way up through the ranks. Norco/Vicodin to Percocet then to a LA med.....most chronic pain patients don't see a Pain Management Dr. until they've been treated by a regular Dr. or other Specialist for several years and those Dr.'s generally treat with typical short acting narcotics.

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Old 05-29-2012, 12:29 AM   #9
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Re: Physical addiction to pain meds

I would have to agree with the above posters here...The next week will be hell for withdrawels...Then after the withdrawels you will have to deal with your regular pain,but the "good" part about this is that you will know for sure how bad your pain levels are and you can then tell your Dr what you think you need medication wise...I have had to go once or twice a few days for various reasons,,,then I learned to start keeping my medication locked up in a safe...and keeping the key in my pockets..it takes some getting use to but on my pain contract keeping meds locked up was actually one of the conditions..I hope you get through the next few weeks okay and I am wishing you luck!!

 
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Old 05-29-2012, 12:52 AM   #10
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Re: Physical addiction to pain meds

Well it was my mistake just taking my perscriptions with me in the original bottles that is for sure a lesson lerned. Something I will never do again, I like the put just what is needed in a tylenol bottle or something. Never thought of that. I did get in touch with my doctor and he said he couldnt refil until due date, that was expected and I didnt argue. He suggest me cutting them in quarters and using sparingly which I have been. Wd actually arent to bad, some potty problems, flu like symptoms, inability to sleep. But my pain, it is a steady 9 with out fail. I have and will continue the hot bath with epsom salt and minerals, bio freeze is great for my shoulders, the bone pain, is horrific I feel like my body is dying from the inside out, achey, cramps, twitches, I have actually had muscle spasms bring me to the groud in tears. My family looks at me like I am a freak but I am doing the best I can to get by. I take advil every four hours prevenative, rice socks. I cant seem to walk with out severe pain, I am back to using my cane, falling and just depressed.

So, than you for your supportive words, suggestions, thoughts, and prayers. I know I wont die from this vb pain but at times it feels like it.
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Old 05-29-2012, 01:03 AM   #11
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Re: Physical addiction to pain meds

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Originally Posted by GaNeal View Post
I would have to agree with the above posters here...The next week will be hell for withdrawels...Then after the withdrawels you will have to deal with your regular pain,but the "good" part about this is that you will know for sure how bad your pain levels are and you can then tell your Dr what you think you need medication wise...I have had to go once or twice a few days for various reasons,,,then I learned to start keeping my medication locked up in a safe...and keeping the key in my pockets..it takes some getting use to but on my pain contract keeping meds locked up was actually one of the conditions..I hope you get through the next few weeks okay and I am wishing you luck!!


I had my hubby go out and buy a small combo/fire safe that we now have in the closet for next mont, it just never crossed my mind that someone would steal another persons medications, show how stupid I am.lol I also never thought I would be so anxious about loosing them, just not having them on my person sucks. I have never taken more than perscribed, never traded or used illegally, or abused in anyway. I do have sever pain and can now feel all the things that have been putting limitations on me. I am sure I will make it the next two weeks and wii come out of it wiser just sucks there id so much I am going to be missing out on. I might have to rent a scooter for family outings and upcoming trips who knows.

Again thanks for the supportive words and advise it helps to.make me feel better.
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Disectomy L5/S1
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Old 05-29-2012, 01:11 AM   #12
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Re: Physical addiction to pain meds

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Originally Posted by Jackbeanstalk View Post
I didn't think they usually gave chronic pain folks short-acting meds except for "breakthrough pain". What about talking to the doc about a longer-acting med?

I have been without insurance since our move and currently only see my pcp untill my insurance kicks in. but when I was in pm they gave me the same script only a lot more, and we also did injections to help.
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Disectomy L5/S1
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Old 05-29-2012, 08:33 AM   #13
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Re: Physical addiction to pain meds

Just to let you know, there is a great Pain Mangement Board on this site with many great and supporting folks if you ever feel like wandering over.

I hope things stay stable for you until your refill date comes around.

Kat

 
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Old 05-30-2012, 08:03 AM   #14
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Re: Physical addiction to pain meds

I will wonder doing ok. Just for fyi reason. WD subsided thomas recipe was great. Will finish up on the pm post. Thanks for all your kind words and advice. You all have been so helpful ti me.
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C5-C6 tear/buldge
C6-C7 ACDF
T1 - T5 neuroforaminal, lesions, facet arthropathy
Disectomy L5/S1
Anxiety
PTSD
Chronic Pain

 
Old 06-11-2012, 10:00 AM   #15
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Re: Physical addiction to pain meds

OMG, well I got my refills and explained to my doctor in person what happend and my life of he77 the last couple of weeks. He laughed at me and appologized that he couldn't do anything. I started tearing up out of pure exhaustion.lol but now realize why I started all this crap two years ago, it is funny how quickly we forget I was unable to stand up straight, walk, sit, do much of anything. I gained 4lbs from lack of mobility,because I sure didn't eat much or sleep much for that matter.

I feel much better and this time my doctor actually gave me a months refill, which made me feel that he trusted me a bit instead of having to go in each month and since I am uninsured saves me the office visit charge. He also have me samples of the Maxalt because those are so expensive. I am just sharing to show that some doctors out there still have a heart and I think he felt really bad that I had to suffer for so long and his hands were tied.

He ordered me a new MRI to see whats going on in my back since no pain meds I was able to really explain and rate my pain for him and he said it sounds like continued stenosis or a spinal bleed.

So, with all that said I just want to thank everyone for support and suggestions!!! The rice socks were a life saver as well as the imodium ad!

I now know that yes I was physically addicted or dependant but no mentally, I feel better knowing that. Even though a life of pain at 44 sucks....
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C5-C6 tear/buldge
C6-C7 ACDF
T1 - T5 neuroforaminal, lesions, facet arthropathy
Disectomy L5/S1
Anxiety
PTSD
Chronic Pain

 
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