Hi everyone, i posted in the addiction section of these boards and someone suggested i come here, my name is Sarah, im 36, i have a couple questions about Vicodin and Back pain, if someone could help me out with this, i would be grateful..........
I have been on Vicodin since October of 2005 for Degenerating Disks in my back. The worse of my pain begins in the evening, so i take 1/2 of one pill about 4pm and then the other half IF neeeded before bedtime. Sometimes i dont need the other half at all, so basically i take either a whole or half a Vicodin everynight. My concern isnt the amount im taking its the length of time i have been on these that im wondering about.....Could i be addicted to this half a pill everynight?? Can any damage occur to any of my insides being on these for 9 months now?? They are perscribed to me from my Dr. infact he has refilled my last bottle just yesterday, i am alittle worried about that, due to the fact that this pill seems to go right to the nerve of my back and makes it feel better, so i am alittle concerned on what to do for the pain after i run out of these, something ill need to live with i guess. But i did want to ask these couple of questions and find out what you all think or feel about this..TIA
Hi & Welcome
I'm glad the addiction board referred you here because this is a great group for people with any kind of pain issues.
It is very rare for someone with chronic pain to become addicted to their pain meds. Most studies suggest less than 2% of people with legitimate pain will have a problem with addiction to their narcotic pain med while taking it for chronic pain relief. It's common for people on narcotics to become dependant on them though. Basically, that means if you are taking a narcotic everyday for a while and your pain resolves, then you should wean off the med instead of just stopping suddenly. If you just stop the med without weaning then you might go through withdrawal and that can include more pain, cramps/diarrhea, runny nose, nervousness, trouble sleeping etc.
You are on a very low dose of vicodin right now, so you may not have a problem if you just stopped taking them. Most of the time withdrawal happens when someone is taking a larger dose of narcotics, but, it would be in your best interest to wean off anyway. If you were taking a larger dose, you need to watch for the amount of tylenol your taking because the vicodin has tylenol in it, but, at 1/2 or 1 pill a day you should be fine.
You need to understand the difference between dependence and addicition. Most cp'ers will become dependent to our meds which simply means that if we abruptly stop taking them, we get w/d. Addicition means that you are doc shopping, not following Docs directions, buying more on the street.
Another way to look at it is thus: if taking the meds improves your life, it is dependence. If taking the meds destroys your life (losing a job, losing a spouse, etc.), then it is addiction.
I would agree with the other posters. If you are taking pain meds for legitimate pain reasons, then addiction is a very low risk. I could get into all of the science behind it, but its just confusing. Its easier to say that you're not addicted.
Like another poster mentioned, if you are doc shopping, buying pills, criminal diversions, etc, then addiction is the issue. However taking a pain med or meds for pain is not addiction, however, dependency or tolerance to that med will occurr. This means, eventually you will need more of that med to take the pain away. But this is a huge difference between addiction and tolerance.
Anyone that takes narcotics for any period of time more the a couple weeks begins dependency on that drug. You wouldn't want to just stop taking these meds without a taper. However, a half of Vicodin probably wouldn't even do much for WD's anyway.
If you read around this board, you will see amounts of meds that would put some people in coma's. But that is what works for them, and they are not addicted. Dependent, but not addicted. If you took my daily dose of meds, you probably wouldn't wake up. But I've been taking them for a long time with a long history of pain/surgeries/etc. But I'm far from addicted. I never run out early, don't buy pills, don't call my doc for an early refill, etc. However, if I were to just stop suddenly, I would go through major WD's because my body is used to me taking my daily amount.
Hope that makes sense. Don't worry about it. Like another poster mentioned, its when you start to get up there with the mg's of Tylenol, before it is a problem. At a half or one daily, you are way under the daily amount of tylenol to worry about it.
i too agree with all . I have a question you said your dr filled your last refill did he tell you that he wouldn't treat your pain anymore? If so please go to a pain dr . If you had high blood pressure you would take the meds daily to make sure you don't have a stoke so whats so wrong with taking pain meds so you don't hurt. High blood pressure is a illness that needs to be treated and so is pain !!!!!!!!!!!! Would you be wondering if you were addicted if you took high blood pressure meds daily>>>>>> Please treat you pain as you would any other illness.. Good luck let us know how your doing. Welcome kelsey
My last bottle of Vicodin was given to me on 5/9/06 with 20 pills in it, i called to get another on 6/2/06 for i only had 2 left. I go to the pain clinic at my local hospital, so he IS a pain doctor, one of his nurses called me back this past Monday the 5th and said the doctor has refilled my perscription, but he also said this would be your last bottle, i just said ok thats fine and got off, this time the bottle has 30 pills in it, i dont know why he's not giving them to me anymore, and i surely dont know what im gonna do when i run out of these ones, i made it very clear to him when i was there that the Vicodin was like a miracle pill for me, that only half the majority of the time does wonders for it, so i really dont know what the problem is and what if anything i can do about it, ive tried Motrins but thats a miracle pill for when i get headaches, but it doesnt take care of my back, plus im alone most of the day with a 17month old and have no help, so i dont know what choices i have but to try and keep taking Alieve's, Motrins and or other pain relievers over the counter and hope that something eventually will work.
Thanks everyone for all your responses.............
When do you go back to your PM doc? If this is a doc you see on a regular basis, then you should definitely call his nurse back and ask to speak with him regarding her comment that this would be your last refill of the vicodin.
The condition that you suffer from is a life long problem that won't go away, so I can't understand why it's okay with the doc for you to take the vic, but, now he doesn't want to refill it anymore?
As everyone mentioned, there's many people who take alot more pain meds than you and they're not, "addicted". From what you've said, the 1/2 or 1 vicodin every night has been a miracle pill for you, so that's how you should explain it to your PM doc. If he refuses to help you, find someone else who will. The amount of vicodin your taking is a small dose and it's very reasonable for you to ask to continue taking this med that's helped your pain so much.
Good luck and keep us posted
The last time i went to my PM doctor was for a follow up after they did a "Echo Procedure"?? I dont have the correct name for this, but they put a few needles in and trying to burn the nerves, something along those lines. When i had gone in for my follow up my number of pain was 4-5 so i was feeling better. So it ended with him telling me to call him as needed. I dont think there is too much else they can do for me. Whathappens in a case like this?? He has done the last procedure there is and he had told before this last one that he didnt know what else he could do for me. Im not sure who to call next or what to do about the pain meds that they are no longer going to give me........his nurses are very intimidating..........
You have to call that dr office back and find out why he is not going to treat your chronic cond. Did you voice your concerns about being scared that you are addicted to this meds? If so he should have know the diffence.(sp?) When you call your dr ask him what he thinks you should do about your pain,since he the pain dr doesn't want to treat it.I had a dr just like your and i opened the phone book and called pain drsthat were willing to treat pain. Just because there is no other proceedures he can do for you should mean that he is done with you.I don't get any proceedures done now because i have tried them all and none work for me and otheres on this board. So we are just treated for the pain so we can live a normal life .Pain is now the 5th vital signs and it should always be addressed. So please call your dr and if he is not willing to help please be your own avocate and call pain drs and ask them how they feel about addressing pain issues.There are pain dr out they willing to treat pain,so please don't give up!!!!! Please keep us posted... Kelsey
I would call him back and tell him or his nurse that the last time you were there your pain was relieved by the procedure, but, only partially and you are still around a 5 pain wise. Explain that you know this is a chronic condition and that you deserve to be treated for your pain and if he can't offer any other procedures than you'd like to continue on the vicodin since it is working well for you.
I know how intimidating docs and nurses can be, but, you pay them for a service and sometimes you have to fire them and find another who is willing to help treat your chronic pain. Keep reminding yourself that you deserve pain relief and taking 1 vicodin every night is certainly a reasonable method for treating pain.
It can be very stressful having pain and then having to fight for your right to get some relief, but, make sure you educate yourself about your condition and then keep looking until you find the right doc who will treat you like every human being has the right to be treated.
I think the procedure you referred to is radio frequency nerve ablation.