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Old 12-17-2011, 10:55 AM   #1
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weaning meds... help/advice/sympathy

The computer ate a very long post on me yesterday....

I've looked online a bit but I really would love some thoughts/help/advice from the folks here. I am working on cutting back on pain meds (ALIF in Aug). My body adjusts VERY fast to meds...as a kid I was on a new allergy med every season b/c they stopped helping. Because I'd waged a war with endo before the back stuff, I'd already had several meds stop helping. For the endo, I only took something once a week or so but that was enough to knock darvocet out and later vicodin stopped helping too. We knew this going in and that I'd need more meds than most. I've always followed directions and taken meds under supervision.

I want to cut back. I am still in pain but I just feel the need to try to go med-free for a bit. This cannot be done cold turkey though....I did that once pre-op (with less meds) due to a mailing issue and I was VERY VERY sick. I am not getting much guidance from the doc and not much more from Dr Dad.

At my last appt, Doc said he wanted to drop the next refill of the oxycontins (the timed-release pills) to 20mg from 30. At that point, I took the 30s twice a day and 3-4 5mg percocet (oxycodone) during the day. I dropped to the 20s at the start of the month and limited the percocets to 3.

I figured it is easier to deal with the extra pain when I'm in bed so I decided to drop the PM oxycotin as of Wed. Dr Dad DID give the nod on the choice but didn't say much more (he has also reassured me that the meds were okay to use but does agree I should try to eliminate them slowly....but thinks patients shoudl decide howon their own). I have had HORRID shakes and felt just plain ill every night. The pain is manageable (though still rough) in comparison to the w/d. After two failry sleepless nights, I took a leftover Ambien last night and got about 4h before the shakes beat out the sleep aid. The only OTC I can take is Tylenol but it is really little more than a sugar pill to my body, though PMs had helped me sleep sometimes.

It is frustrating. I have always been vocal with my docs about concerns about the meds but they reassured me it was fine (and I think that was partly b/c I spoke up). I hate that my body doesn't distinguish b/w my medically needed and doc approved medicine and a recreational drug user. Doesn't feel fair.

Any advice on detoxing? Not getting help from the medical team and googling gets me lots of commercial detox centers aimed at recreational users (and amounts that make mine look tiny) and even Methadone usage. I'd love tips on getting through the nights now and thoughts on the best next step. I def still have a good deal of pain (I'm predicting a good bit of lying down today....esp with PT starting 3w ago) but I cannot live on this much medicine forever and need to see how I can do without it....but getting there is tough....

 
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Old 12-17-2011, 11:14 AM   #2
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Re: weaning meds...help/advice/sympathy

Hi Cheryl,

I have an idea.....how about posting your question on the chronic pain board? I'm sure some here have experience with taking pain meds long term, but I bet you'd find more people on one of the pain boards. Maybe you'd even have better luck on the addiction board. I'm not suggesting you are addicted, but you will find people there who have gone through withdrawals and have tips on how to cope. Perhaps something would be useful to you.

This is one topic pertaining to spine issues that I cannot chime in on. I never took pain meds other than to try something here and there because they never did anything for me.

 
Old 12-17-2011, 11:23 AM   #3
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Re: weaning meds...help/advice/sympathy

I just cross-posted to the addiction forum (with some edits....I don't want to be totally offensive to people trying hard to recover from a recreational use). I'll see what advice I get and then post again in the Chronic Pain forum...don't want to flood too many board! I wanted to start with friends....

And, I am fine saying it IS an addiction. I just like to follow that by noting that it is for a reason...I am a bit embarassed at times but mentally I know the body gets addicted even when there is a very real need for the meds. There's no doubt I had a horrid disc and a tough recovery. I don't feel any guilt and know I never misused the meds, but (annoyingly!) the body doesn't really distinguish. I think it's actually an ADDED challenge to have a "needed" addiction b/c I do also have the pain returning on top of the w/d stuff.

 
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Old 12-17-2011, 03:32 PM   #4
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Re: weaning meds...help/advice/sympathy

How are things going otherwise? PT? Weaning from the back brace, which I assume you have come through by now?

 
Old 12-17-2011, 03:48 PM   #5
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Re: weaning meds...help/advice/sympathy

I gave thanks on Turkey Day by giving up the brace for good!! PT is going well...the guy knows I am the sort who needs him to sometimes pull me back and watched my face to know if we should stop something early since I'm not super likely to cry "Uncle" (though that means all of my prior PTs trusted me when I said "no"!). We're doing a lot of strength work and a bit of stretching....he uses a good deal of multi-tasking moves like shoulder presses on on leg so I do the key core work while also working on my "vanity muscles" (he has a note in my file that I want my "tricep V" back).

They even got me a fancy cupake on my birthday!! A friend said it was kinda counterintuitive to get junk food from a person who is trying to get me healthy but I believe the best health plans include treats...plus we're working on rehab, not weight loss (though I'd like to shed a few injury pounds!!!).

I did go to my "real gym" too since my note only lasted for 4m but I was "good" and just did a little extra arm work while on a sturdy seat w/ support and then a slow walk to round out my cardio time.

Next appt is 2/1....hoping for more bone growth!!! Though already nervous about the drive down....that was rough at the early November appt....I'm fine as a passenger but need to go on my own. Turned a 2.5-3h drive into nearly 4h (and stayed the night down there) but knew the breaks were needed.

Thanks for asking!!!

 
Old 12-18-2011, 07:22 PM   #6
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Re: weaning meds...help/advice/sympathy

@ cheryl123- I hope you find a way to titrate down your meds- I know what you mean about even tho' your using meds because you need it & don't abuse it- it's a fact our bodies are addicted. I was on percocet 10mg. 4x day for years, then they switched it methodone which I have to say was easier as far as w/d. I slowly weaned myself off of them but it was not easy! And I still couldn't make it without pain meds. For about 8 months I was taking ultram & trazodone- just stayed in too much pain. I now take talwin nx 3x day, baclofen 20mg 3x day & lyrica. It's still narcotics but if I miss a dose or so I dont get sick & that's a huge benefit! I had a fusion l4-l5 10 yrs ago & didn't get a lot of relief. I've had horrible pain in my neck & other symptoms for few years & just found out my cervical spine is severly compressed & o have to have surgery 1/10/12. I'm worried whether these meds are going to help post-op. I wish you luck!

 
Old 12-19-2011, 03:54 PM   #7
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Re: weaning meds...help/advice/sympathy

talked to the doc's ***'t. she said it was nuts to just drop the 2nd pill (i didn't mention dad okayed it). going back to both AM and PM until a lower dosage refill and then doing a taper in 10d stage (20 AM, 10PM then 10 both, then 10AM only). staying on the percocet/oxycodone 5s three times a day for now.

the boy will be happy since i was shaking so bad last night he left and hit the couch.

i also had a set-back on sat. i think all back post-ops get those moments where a wrong move sends shock-waves of pain. i had a really bad one on sat sparked by a sticky door that sent me to the ground (lovely people behind me at the chinese restaraunt WALKED AROUND the crying-lump-of-cheryl on the floor...). i may have sprained something since it has stayed pretty painful, sharp low-back. my PT knows i am usually the push hard type so put me in a dark room w/ heat and stim for 15min and cut out a number of moves today. did tell the ***'t and waiting on some adde thoughts about it....

 
Old 12-19-2011, 07:05 PM   #8
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Re: weaning meds...help/advice/sympathy

[QUOTE=cheryl1213;4897048]talked to the doc's ***'t. she said it was nuts to just drop the 2nd pill (i didn't mention dad okayed it). going back to both AM and PM until a lower dosage refill and then doing a taper in 10d stage (20 AM, 10PM then 10 both, then 10AM only). staying on the percocet/oxycodone 5s three times a day for now.

the boy will be happy since i was shaking so bad last night he left and hit the couch.

i also had a set-back on sat. i think all back post-ops get those moments where a wrong move sends shock-waves of pain. i had a really bad one on sat sparked by a sticky door that sent me to the ground (lovely people behind me at the chinese restaraunt WALKED AROUND the crying-lump-of-cheryl on the floor...). i may have sprained something since it has stayed pretty painful, sharp low-back. my PT knows i am usually the push hard type so put me in a dark room w/ heat and stim for 15min and cut out a number of moves today. did tell the ***'t and waiting on some adde thoughts about it....[/QUOTE]

 
Old 12-19-2011, 07:14 PM   #9
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Re: weaning meds...help/advice/sympathy

Man that sucks that you fell- you really didn't need that huh? I fell about 2 yrs after my surgery really hard & boy that sucked! Made me realize how much my body had changed- used to if I fell oh well, after it was like even a small fall would keep me down Dow a week or so. Oh the joys of post back surgery. )). Glad you got the medicine thing worked out! Good luck with it!

 
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