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Old 09-17-2011, 07:25 PM   #1
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Hydrocodone vs. Tramadol??

So I'm a little frustrated with my doctor. I have cronic back pain and he diagnosed me with Arthritis in the vertebrae in my lower back and he put me on Hydrocodone. The pain starts in the lower left side and radiates down through my butt, basically when I wake up I can barely move. It hurts even to pick up my feet to put my socks and shoes on...and I'm only 43. When it's REALLY bad it hurts like hell to sneeze. After I'm up and moving around the pain lessens and may even go away completely but by the time I get home after a long day my back ACHES. He said if it helps then I can use that for the pain. If not I'd have to consider injections. Well, the hydrocodone seems to be working but I've been on it for quite a while and am becoming immune to it. When I told him it was not working as well anymore he immediately told me he wouldn't up the dosage, that i would just have to lessen my activity!! I told him I did not want to up the dosage because I know it's very hard on the stomache and can be addicting but NO WAY was I going to be less active. At work I'm on my feet ALL day. I'm a photographer and can work from 5-14 hours in a day. Standing, sitting, squatting, climbing up on stuff etc. I also have horses and my greatest pleasure is taking one of my horses on a long trail ride. I also enjoy working out, jogging, canoeing, hiking etc. I asked him if there was anything he could give me that was similar but different enough that I could switch back and forth with to avoid needing higher doses. He perscribed Tramadol. I've never ever heard of it but reading up on it the side effects are scary. Is anyone here using that? How does it compare to hydrocodone?

 
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Old 09-19-2011, 07:07 AM   #2
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Re: Hydrocodone vs. Tramadol??

Have you seen a spine specialist for your lower back pain? It would be important to know what is causing the pain. Have you had a MRI or is the doctor guessing that you have arthritis? If not, I would suggest that you make an appointment with a spine specialist -- this would be either a fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon who limit their practice to issues of the neck and back.

You may have an issue in addition to the arthritis that is causing you pain...something like a bulging or herniated disc or something similar.

If you aren't worried about the side effects of hydrocodone, I wouldn't think you'd be too concerned about tramadol. It does have acetaminophen in it, so be sure you do not drink any alcohol while using the drug.

Depending on what is wrong with your lower lumbar area, you may need to modify your activities for a while to allow some healing. Depending on what is wrong, you may find that some of your activities will hasten the degeneration in your spine, so you may want to make some lifestyle changes. You can't make these decisions if you don't really know specifically what is causing your pain.

 
Old 09-19-2011, 07:13 AM   #3
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Re: Hydrocodone vs. Tramadol??

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Originally Posted by tetonteri66 View Post
Have you seen a spine specialist for your lower back pain? It would be important to know what is causing the pain. Have you had a MRI or is the doctor guessing that you have arthritis? If not, I would suggest that you make an appointment with a spine specialist -- this would be either a fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon who limit their practice to issues of the neck and back.

You may have an issue in addition to the arthritis that is causing you pain...something like a bulging or herniated disc or something similar.

If you aren't worried about the side effects of hydrocodone, I wouldn't think you'd be too concerned about tramadol. It does have acetaminophen in it, so be sure you do not drink any alcohol while using the drug.

Depending on what is wrong with your lower lumbar area, you may need to modify your activities for a while to allow some healing. Depending on what is wrong, you may find that some of your activities will hasten the degeneration in your spine, so you may want to make some lifestyle changes. You can't make these decisions if you don't really know specifically what is causing your pain.
He did X-rays but no MRI. Would they see a herniated disc in an x-ray? I've had the pain for several years, it has not increased but accept for taking the Hyrocodone it hasn't really gotten any better. I was concerned about the side effects of Tramodol because they look WAY worse then Hydrocodone but I guess it's hard to tell by reading stuff on the internet. I may just need to look for another doctor.

 
Old 10-12-2011, 12:10 AM   #4
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Re: Hydrocodone vs. Tramadol??

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Originally Posted by tetonteri66 View Post

If you aren't worried about the side effects of hydrocodone, I wouldn't think you'd be too concerned about tramadol. It does have acetaminophen in it, so be sure you do not drink any alcohol while using the drug.
To the best of my knowledge - Utram (Tramadol) does NOT have acetaminophen in it - but Ultracet does.

I have been using Ultram (Tramadol) for years in combination with Darvocet (now off the market) and Ibuprofen. Now that Darvocet is off the market (supposedly caused heart rhythm problems AND contained too much acetaminophen) I now use Tylenol #3, Ultram, & Ibuprofen.

Ultram (Tramadol) makes me much more tired than the opioids do. I usually use it at bedtime. Back when I was on Darvocet, I would use the ultram for about 2 weeks between my refills of the Darvocet. - this provided me only fair pain relief, but it helped me avoid the dependance on the opioid and I didn't have to go up to anything stronger.

I really miss the Darvocet, but I am thankful for Ultram. I think Ultram is a very good alternative.

Good luck with your pain control.

 
Old 10-12-2011, 07:43 AM   #5
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Re: Hydrocodone vs. Tramadol??

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Originally Posted by Lilacs&Lillies View Post
To the best of my knowledge - Utram (Tramadol) does NOT have acetaminophen in it - but Ultracet does.

I have been using Ultram (Tramadol) for years in combination with Darvocet (now off the market) and Ibuprofen. Now that Darvocet is off the market (supposedly caused heart rhythm problems AND contained too much acetaminophen) I now use Tylenol #3, Ultram, & Ibuprofen.

Ultram (Tramadol) makes me much more tired than the opioids do. I usually use it at bedtime. Back when I was on Darvocet, I would use the ultram for about 2 weeks between my refills of the Darvocet. - this provided me only fair pain relief, but it helped me avoid the dependance on the opioid and I didn't have to go up to anything stronger.

I really miss the Darvocet, but I am thankful for Ultram. I think Ultram is a very good alternative.

Good luck with your pain control.
Thanks for the reply. I went ahead and started taking the Tramadol a few weeks ago and don't really have any side effects accept that it makes me just a tiny bit dizzy. If i don't stay active then I will get sleepy but other then that nothing. Although it doesn't help the pain as well as the Hydracodone but at least it's an alternative so I don't get addicted to it.

 
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Old 10-21-2011, 01:06 PM   #6
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Re: Hydrocodone vs. Tramadol??

What?, with tramadol extended release you need to up the dose. They did not tell you that?

Last edited by nochange; 10-21-2011 at 01:07 PM.

 
Old 10-21-2011, 09:47 PM   #7
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Re: Hydrocodone vs. Tramadol??

They didn't tell me that. They didn't really tell me anything. He just said it was sort of like Hydracodone.

Last edited by mod85; 10-21-2011 at 09:59 PM.

 
Old 10-22-2011, 10:42 AM   #8
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Re: Hydrocodone vs. Tramadol??

I was on Percocet 5-325 for about 5 months, and my neurosurgeon never upped the dose, even after I kept telling him I was in constant pain. I have since switched to an orthopedic spine specialist, who immediately switched me to Tramadol and told me to take it like clockwork, then oxycodone for breakthrough pain.

The only issue I've had wasn't directly related to the tramadol - it was just that changing ALL my meds at once threw my system into haywire, resulting in a nice little trip to the ER. Once they gave me fluids, I was fine and going home about 8 hours later. Since then, I've had no problems at all. The ER doc did say that tramadol is probably the pain medicine he prescribes the most - non-narcotic, and he said he could (but doesn't) even work in the hospital while on it.

One piece of advice the ER doc gave me - if you are taking multiple meds due at the same time, try to space them 20-30 minutes apart, which makes it easier on your system. Sometimes I can do that, sometimes I can't, but I notice a difference between the two methods.

Pretty much every medicine has scary-looking side effects, but in my opinion (I'm certainly not a professional by any means), it's all about how your body reacts to it. For example, some people swear by Lyrica for nerve pain, but after 2 days of trying it, I decided there was no way I could live with it.

Good luck and hope this helped at least a bit.

 
Old 10-22-2011, 11:58 PM   #9
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Re: Hydrocodone vs. Tramadol??

Ultram works really well for many people. Are you taking the extended release or the regular tramadol? If you are taking the extended release, that is once a day dosing I believe. If you are taking the regular release tramadol, then the dose can be increased if in fact it is needed, but only with the discussion between you and your prescribing doctor first.
Never, increase the dose of a pain medication without talking it over with your prescriber first, or you can be dismissed from pain management.
Tolerance happens to anyone taking opiate pain medications for an extended length of time, sometimes it is a few weeks , for others months or years before that happens.
Hydrocodone ( vicoden or norco as it is also known ) is a short acting opiate, with tylenol included in it, and it is one of those meds known for tolerance happening after some time on it.
Using both meds is a good idea, since it will help keep your tolerance at bay.
If you haven't seen a board certified spine surgeon- either ortho or neuro, and had a MRI or CT scan to evaluate what is causing your pain, you really should. Injections may help also once you know what is causing your pain. Xrays don't show arthritis, or herniations or compressions of any nerves. It would be a good idea to find out exactly what is causing your pain , then talk to your pM doctor about what treatment options are best for your condition.
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Old 10-28-2011, 02:58 PM   #10
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Re: Hydrocodone vs. Tramadol??

Your story is pretty much the same as mine, I'm 39 and have the same pain. I have had surgery for stenosis, tried all pain meds, had steroid injections. The only options I have left are to keep switching my narcotics to see if one is better then the other, currently on Hydromorphone and statex, and I must stop smoking so that I may undergo spinal fusion in three paces. You must have an MRI to see exactly what is going on and pretty much trial and error with the meds. What I know about Tramadol is that it is a pretty weak med.

 
Old 01-06-2012, 12:24 PM   #11
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Re: Hydrocodone vs. Tramadol??

I would insist on having a MRI. I was being treated for arthritis for yrs. I went to a pain mgnt. clinic and they ordered a MRT and it turns out that I needed a fusion.

 
Old 01-19-2012, 12:34 PM   #12
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Re: Hydrocodone vs. Tramadol??

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Originally Posted by stina3246 View Post
He did X-rays but no MRI. Would they see a herniated disc in an x-ray?
No, not really. The discs are not very visible on an X-Ray, only the vertebrae themselves are. The MRI is needed to look at the softer tissue of the discs. But it's curious the spine specialist didn't order one. Did he/she say why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stina3246 View Post
I've had the pain for several years, it has not increased but accept for taking the Hyrocodone it hasn't really gotten any better.
I'm the same - my discectomy was in 1995, but although that dealt with the most severe pain and nerve tingling, it didn't clear the lower level ongoing aches. As it turns out, my problem is dessication (drying out) of the discs, more than herniation.

Given that, and the fact that further surgery isn't a sensible option, my doc is happy to continue to prescribe hydro on an ongoing basis. But we keep a close eye on usage. He mentioned Tramodol last time I saw him as a future option if we did decide there could be a dependency issue with the hydro, but at the moment neither he nor I see a problem in that area.

 
Old 01-19-2012, 03:23 PM   #13
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Re: Hydrocodone vs. Tramadol??

tramadol is a garbage pain med for someone suffering from traumatic chronic pain. in my opinion.
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Old 01-19-2012, 07:08 PM   #14
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Re: Hydrocodone vs. Tramadol??

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tramadol is a garbage pain med for someone suffering from traumatic chronic pain. in my opinion.
Could you post the results of your randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

 
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