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Old 08-03-2009, 09:55 AM   #1
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drug free pain relief?

I have major degenerative disc disease in my lumbar and cervical areas of my spine. I’m bone on bone in the lumbar area. Since 2005 I have been taking celebrex, xanex, vicodin (10mg), muscle relaxers, sleeping pills, anti depressants, nuerontin (nerve blocker) and then got a new RX for Nucynta Which I stopped the Vicodin on Tuesday and started nucynta on Wednesday…
Saturday night I had a major emotional break down. I’ve had a LOT of personal stress in the last 3 weeks, along with some major breakthrough pain.. so I’m not TOTALLY blaming the drugs.. but I don’t think they helped. Sunday I stopped taking all of it except celebrex, antidepressant and now ibuprofen. I went through some detox symptoms last night, am now getting a headache (it’s Monday afternoon).. but no chills or sweating at this time.
The thing is the pain… ibuprofen is not working. I tried calling the DR to find out if my epidural injection is approved… but voice mail voice mail voice mail …

Can anyone recommend an activity, or a mental mantra, or pressure point, or SOMETHING that takes some of the pain away? My boss recommended yoga, which I am going to start tonight, slowwwllllyyy. Anyone have other suggestions?

 
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Old 08-03-2009, 04:30 PM   #2
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Re: drug free pain relief?

I think you need to start on a different set of medications since the combination you are taking is not really doing the trick to relieve your pain. Since you were taking Neurontin, you might want to ask your doctor about Lyrica which is similar but many people find relief with it, including me.

You have probably built up a tolerance to the Vicodin so you will probably need a stronger type of narcotic pain medication and it should probably be a LA(long acting) pain medication which would control your pain better. good luck.

brian

 
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Old 08-03-2009, 05:19 PM   #3
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Re: drug free pain relief?

I wish I had the magic answer for you, but I don't.

I have tried so many different alternative treatments that I cannot even count them all. (some include, acupuncture, chiropractor, yoga, pilates, physical therapy, swimming, massage). NONE of them did anything for my nerve damage. Actually, the chiro and the physical therapy actually made the nerve damage work.

I don't want to be on meds, but in order for me to have any life at all, that is my path. My advice to you is to find a good pain psychologist. Mine has helped me understand my "new" life and how to cope with chronic pain. And most importantly....to accept my narcotics use and not be ashamed of it.

I agree with Brian. It takes work to find the right combination of meds. And, just when you think you found it you might have to change again. I am in that po sition right now. My doctors have changed up my meds and they are not working that well right now. But I know that I will find the right combo eventually.

I wanted to add that there are some people who do find relief in some of the treatments that I listed above. That was why I HAD to try them. It was worth a shot, and what IF i was one of the lucky people who did stop hurting When you live in chronic pain, you will try just about anything. I think you should give Yoga a try, but I would first run it by your doctor and maybe suggest a consult with a physical therapist. Not to scare you, but my disc herniated as a result of the excercises the physical therpist had me doing. So , please be careful. When I went to my last physcial therapist a few months ago, she was VERY gentle and had my back supported the entire time. She was doing the same stretches with me, but had me lying on my back most of the time.

Best of luck to you!
jdsun

Last edited by jdsun; 08-03-2009 at 05:25 PM.

 
Old 08-03-2009, 08:01 PM   #4
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Re: drug free pain relief?

I am very hesitant to post on any of the pain management boards as I don't think anyone wants to hear my story but yes, you can live with no pain meds.

I take nothing except an occasional dose of ibuprofen or tylenol. I have scripts for demerol, dilaudid and morphine but don't use them(allergic to oxycodone). I prefer to meditate. I can put myself in such a deep state that I don't feel anything and if done regularly, you find great inner peace and even greater pain relief.

Before you think I'm a nut of some kind I'll share with you some of my pain. I had my lumbar spine reverse 30 years ago herniating 8 disks when it did. It couldn't be fixed and I spent a year on my back with a 1 year old. It is surgically inoperable. My cervical spine had spondylosis and I had a new surgery called a laminoplasty almost 3 years ago. Three months after surgery 3 of the bone grafts broke and I dislocated 5 vertebrae. Had to have an emergency fusion from C3 to T1 and almost died after surgery, sustaining minor brain damage from anoxia. Prior to that I had surgery for osteoarthrtis on both shoulders and a torn rotator cuff. Never took a single pain med after either surgery. Prior to that I had both knees replaced at the same time. And I've had both wrists operated on as well...arthritis is a pain! Even had to have cataract surgery on both eyes due to all the cortisone shots I've been through.

In total, I've had 22 orthopedic surgeries and 8 non-orthopedic. I'm 57. I get off the pain meds as rapidly as I possibly can but not irresponsibly. If I need lots of PT(like after knee replacement)I take the meds to do the work.

But I didn't want to live a life on pain meds so I sought out the alternative therapies like acupuncture but none helped as much as being able to access my own mind. The most potent pain killer in the world is that put out by your own brain and if you can learn to access that, you have the best pain relief in the world. It's what kicks in when you are badly injured and you don't feel a thing....until later. Endorphins and enkephalins....and they treat the source of the pain....the brain. Pain signals may eminate from the injured area but it's the brain that interprets the signals and says you are in pain. So you train your brain to treat itself. And you can also train your brain to not acknowledge the pain. It's the opposite of RSD(reflex sympathetic dystrophy where you have major pain with no source).

The brain is plastic in that it can be re-trained...re-wired if you will. You can shape it to respond as you want it too with concerted effort and someone trained to teach you how. That is where a therapist with specialized training in pain treatment is invaluable. It's not just learning to accept a different life but someone who can teach you to control your pain using self-hypnosis or meditation or bio-feedback. I use a combination of all 3 in my meditating. I can even stop an asthma attack cold using meditation. Used it during the knee replacements. I was kept awake during the surgery and had only an epidural but started to vomit. I was able to hold my throat open and not gag using visualization, as they suctioned out my airway. Anesthesiologist said it was the most amazing thing he'd ever seen. Power of the mind.

So explore the alternate ways and be patient. It can and does work. And most pain management docs DON'T teach it. They are psychological techniques, not physical. Heaven forbid they should put themselves out of business!

gentle hugs............Jenny

 
Old 08-04-2009, 07:31 AM   #5
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Re: drug free pain relief?

Thank you everyone.. and thanks for being brave and posting Jenny. I will definately look into some of the options y'all have given.

I did try some yoga last night for 20 mins. 2 of the positions were awesomely peaceful. I know it will take months for yoga to make a difference...but I'm OK with that. I WANT to be in a peaceful relationship with my body. I think I'm stuck with it for life... lol.

 
Old 08-04-2009, 01:41 PM   #6
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Re: drug free pain relief?

jenny:
That is absolutely amazing that you can go without any pain medications although I would have to say 95% of people can not or are not willing to train themselves mentally to be where you are at. I went through the Cleveland Clinic Chronic Pain program several years ago and they tought similar principles and got everyone off of narcotic pain medications and thought you could go with only biofeedback, meditation, relaxation, etc. Well some VERY VERY dedicated people might be able to do this especially if their insurance company MIRACULOUSLY covers these alternative treatments but I would say a majority of people won't be able to handle their pain without the medications. I tried these treatment and maybe I was just too "weak minded" or not dedicated enough but I ended up going back on the medications. I just wanted to express my point of view and let people know that you must be EXTREMELY DEDICATED and devote MAJOR AMOUNTS OF TIME to train your brain to handle the pain in the beginning. Plus you need someone to help be your coach and provide guidance on how to learn these techniques. Just my humble opinion.

brian

 
Old 08-04-2009, 07:44 PM   #7
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Re: drug free pain relief?

I totally agree with you Brian. And I have the best motivator going. I have over 40 drug allergies and tend to run families of medications. I am an asthmatic who is allergic to every asthma med out there. I've run a lot of the NSAIDs. Cholesterol lowering drugs too. I'm even allergic to steroids. But then a few years ago I became allergic to oxycondone. Now it's a synthetic version of morphine, not the real thing, so I figured I was safe with the real stuff. Then I had a reaction to morphine. So basically I CAN'T take any pain meds unless I'm really, really desperate because if I develop any more allergies, I don't know what I'll use for surgery and I know I have more of that coming.

Fear of having no pain meds that I can take is a real motivator to learn alternative methods. I had learned them years and years ago(like early 70's) and so I brushed off the old books about 20 years ago and went looking for a place to help me re-learn and I practice every day. Fear is powerful motivator!

I don't begrudge anyone their pain meds. If you need them, you need them. But our original poster was desperate to know if anyone had done it successfully and so I answered. I might be a rarity but I am here and I am successful. I just wanted him to know it can be done. I just wish I hadn't HAD to learn to do it in the first place. Not the pain...but the allergies.

good luck................Jenny

 
Old 08-05-2009, 01:07 PM   #8
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Re: drug free pain relief?

jenny,
are you sure that it's allergies (like breaking out in hives, throat swelling shut, skin becoming red and hot, etc). or do you experience side effects from the medications that are just intolerable for you.

brian

 
Old 08-05-2009, 01:23 PM   #9
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Re: drug free pain relief?

Head to toe hives! Wheezing as well. It was allergic. Had to go to the ER to have it treated and they confirmed it. The morphine reaction happened in the hospital so everyone saw that one.

Trust me, one does not WANT an allergy to everything out there. If it were a side effect I'd be so happy to deal with it but no...it's allergy.

And of course the first line of treatment for a massive allergic reaction is steroids. I started with those by having asthma attacks from inhaled steroids for asthma. Hoped it was the propellant but over the years I've tried every asthma drug including the propellant free ones and I still get asthma attacks from them...worse each time. Then I started to wheeze with prednisone when I went below 15mgs/day. Next was steroid eye drops after cataract surgery.....took 10 days to react but it made my eyes swell shut and turn very red. Tried another steroid drop with the second eye and the same thing happened even faster. I still get the occasional steroid shot for rheumatoid arthritis but it has to be in large joints only as the smaller shots bring on bad itching and make the joints worse. If the dose is high enough, then the steroid can stop the reaction until it is almost absorbed. Soon that will no longer work either.

So yeah, I know all about drug allergies and am anxiously awaiting some of the new drugs that suppress allergic reactions all together....if I'm not allergic to that too.

Jenny

 
Old 08-08-2009, 07:33 PM   #10
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Re: drug free pain relief?

Hi

Like Jenny, I seldom post here. Like Jenny, I have also found alternative ways to cope with pain. I use self-hypnosis which I learned through a Clinical Social Worker. I always found the word 'hypnosis' to some pretty hokey and thought it was a quack idea. However, what I have learned is that it is a deep focus, concentration. I am able too use it to help take the emotion out of the pain and seem to be able to cope. I am NOT saying it erases pain for me, but it does make it managable. I can get it down to a level where ice, heat, rest and maybe an aspirin gets me back to a functioning point.

I don't understand all the whys of why putting ourselves deep into the subconscious provides some relief, but I know that for me it works. And yes, it helps that I am now retired because of the pain issues and have the time to dedicate myself to the practice.

It was an alternative I never thought I would consider, but desperation sometimes takes us down paths we thought we would never travel.

I hope that the yoga gives yopu some relief and that the answers you seek are found soon.

All best wishes
reach

 
Old 08-09-2009, 08:53 AM   #11
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Re: drug free pain relief?

Quote:
Originally Posted by reachout View Post
Hi

Like Jenny, I seldom post here. Like Jenny, I have also found alternative ways to cope with pain. I use self-hypnosis which I learned through a Clinical Social Worker. I always found the word 'hypnosis' to some pretty hokey and thought it was a quack idea. However, what I have learned is that it is a deep focus, concentration. I am able too use it to help take the emotion out of the pain and seem to be able to cope. I am NOT saying it erases pain for me, but it does make it managable. I can get it down to a level where ice, heat, rest and maybe an aspirin gets me back to a functioning point.

I don't understand all the whys of why putting ourselves deep into the subconscious provides some relief, but I know that for me it works. And yes, it helps that I am now retired because of the pain issues and have the time to dedicate myself to the practice.

It was an alternative I never thought I would consider, but desperation sometimes takes us down paths we thought we would never travel.

I hope that the yoga gives yopu some relief and that the answers you seek are found soon.

All best wishes
reach
I am wondering about this form of meditation you are using. You say, you can get the pain down to a manageable level. What happens when you then have to go about your day.....like run go grocery shopping....do laundry....be somewhat active? Does the pain relief stay during all those activities as well? Or when you stop the meditation, does the pain return?

Thanks!!!
Jdsun

 
Old 08-09-2009, 01:31 PM   #12
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Re: drug free pain relief?

Hello

Self-hypnosis does not eliminate pain, but it does make it possible for me to function. I lost a major part of one thigh and one major leg muscle to cancer and had multiple radical surgeries to save the leg. It has left me with scar tissue and nerve damage from my chest to my knee on one side as well as lymphedema. I can walk, but physical activity sure can send the pain level soaring.

I have made accomodations to help me in life. For example, I can go grocery shopping, but always go with my husband so he can drive. By the end of the shopping, I am in major pain that is pretty searing, enough to make me cry without some relief. As he drives home, I simply close my eyes and practice self-hypnosis for about ten minutes. I don't "go to a beach" or anything like that. I see colors. They will start out as vibrant colors like red and yellow. As I work in my subconscious, I can make the colors change to calmer colors like gray and blue. As I do, the pain abates. Again, it is not eliminated, but comes to a manageable level and I can think straight again.

I also have used it to get through dental appointments and stress tests. Running that stress test used to be almost unbearable for me. I wouldn't take the shot that is offered in lieu of running because I am terrified of a med sending my heart racing and having no control. Two nurses would have to brace me because the pain would get so bad that I would start to fall sideways off the treadmill. Now I get on the treadmill and close my eyes. I am able to block out everything else in the room although I am perfectly capable of hearing when I do this. I filter out everything that is of no importance. I begin the run and totally focus on that. I feel little pain. I simply concentrate on my legs up and down, up and down. Nothing else. I hear background noise, but the next thing that I allow through my filter is the doctor tellling me that it is time to start slowing down. I take it in and then focus again. The rhythym takes over in my brain again until the machine stops and then I am just me being me again. Its as though my brain had received a sedative before I started and didn't register the pain as it occured

I need to point out that I don't believe at all in suggesting that self-hypnosis should be substituted for those on pain meds. I used opiates and benzos for twelve years to help me function. However, I crossed a line and began using the meds for emotional pain rather than just physical pain. I ended up a mess with a totally complete breakdown. For me, there was no choice but to get off the meds and find alternative solutions. Personally, I think chronic pain control is probably best achieved with a combination of meds and alternative therapies.

I hope Stretaz and others can find what works for them in whatever avenue chosen.

Best wishes
reach

 
Old 08-10-2009, 07:14 AM   #13
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Re: drug free pain relief?

Thank you Reach… your and Jenny’s ways of managing pain is kind of what I was after. I don’t want to use opiates anymore as a management tool, I want to use them for break through pain only.
I did the Yoga 4 times last week, and I can see, with regular use, that the relaxation techniques may be very useful. I’ve already used the breathing to get me through one pain episode last weekend. I concentrated on elongating my spine, opening up the blood flow and breathing slowly and deeply. That helped my brain cope with the pain tremendously.

Thanks to everyone for the good wishes and ideas. It truly means a lot to me.

 
Old 08-11-2009, 11:38 PM   #14
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Re: drug free pain relief?

I was wondering if B1 vitamin can help chronic pain.

 
Old 08-12-2009, 03:19 PM   #15
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Re: drug free pain relief?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nochange View Post
I was wondering if B1 vitamin can help chronic pain.
Some doctors say that certain B vitamins such as B1, B2, and B6 can help to restore pain from nerve damage. But I don't know if this is true or not.

brian

 
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