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Spaz50 09-02-2011 10:45 AM

Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without
I am a 50 year old man. I have been on pain meds (oxycodone and Oxycontin)
for about 8 years due to chronic back pain. Degenerative disc and surgury finally 3 years ago. I still work full time in a manufacturing plant working in Maint. I have told myself that as long as I have to work I can't manage without meds. I honestly don't know if thats true or not. I know I am in alot of pain 3 hours into my shift and have to take meds. Usually take 25mgs at about 10 am. That gets me thru day till evening where I then take 30 mgs
3 pills. So I rarely take more than prescribed and many times less. I am completely exhausted much of the time, and am not the person I used to be.
I take a 20 mg Oxycontin occasionally and sometime take 2. I do usually run out of codone early so take the contin then usually chewing 30 mg's in place of the 30 mgm codone. So, I want to stop the pills and will begin the tapering. I don't feel at all addicted as in psycholgically, although I do take
many times when I really don't need just to keep in my system. I have stopped taking many times but physically HAVE to start again. (cold turkey).
I have never been addicted to anything, but apparently I am to these pills.
Very concerned about my job, anf ability to manage pain without. Can't miss any more work. I also have Chronic Mono and Low T. just have found out that in last 2 weeks so I am hopeful treating those will help the terrible fatigue. Guess I am looking for support and maybe some suggestions on tapering and dealing with pain in other ways.

second go 09-02-2011 09:17 PM

Re: Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without
Hmm. With your degenerative disk, surgery, chronic mono, and low t.. it would be kinda difficult to troubleshoot your legitimate pain vs. withdrawal pain.

Id suggest trying to ween yourself down at small increments, so when you decide to try jumping off the meds its easier. The exhaustion could be related to the low T. Are you able to take a week off work later on if you decide to try detoxing?

reachout 09-03-2011 11:55 AM

Re: Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without

In tapering an opiate, a fairly common way is to taper 10% from one dose. Give yourself a week to 10 days to level off, then take 10% cut from another dose. Level out and continue.

Try to start stretching the time from when you take the first dose by 15 minutes or so every few days. Try to move the nighttime dose further and further away from bedtime, also.

While I was tapering, I used Melatonin 3mg taken i hour before bedtime to help with sleep. This is an over the counter supplement available at any pharmacy, chain store and most grocery stores. It was recommended by my doctor and helped me with sleep most nights.

Wishing you well
Keep us posted

Imnotstoopid 09-03-2011 05:20 PM

Re: Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without
I'm in a very similar situation. I've been taking Hydrocodone, 60-90mg's per day for about 4 years now. I do suffer from extremely painful migraines (2 or more per week, each lasting 6-14 hours per episode) The hydrocodone doesn't get rid of the pain any longer, but it does at least help me sleep/rest to some extent and may dull the pain a bit.

Spaz50 09-06-2011 05:43 AM

Re: Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without
Thanks for the replys,
Told my wife I was gojng to start tapering and I would allow her to control the pills. Very nervous about it. I am not an addictive type person. Being 50 you can imagine in the 70's I have tried many many things. and have never gotten out of control in any way. So, I don't feel I abuse this drug, although I think I am physically addicted and for that reason want to get off it and see what I truly feel like without. I miss a clear head and
ambition and energy. So drained all the time, but then it could ne the other things as well. Low T and chronic mono. Again, thanks for your replies. Haven't committed to when to begin taper, which is because I'm addicted I guess. Fear of failure I guess. or fear of not taking pills. So many excuses run through my mind as to why I really don"t need to stop. After all I have real pain, and fear of my ability to work with the pain, and without meds. is this the addict talking?

reachout 09-06-2011 06:21 AM

Re: Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without
Hi Spaz

I don't know for sure if it is an addict speaking in you... but I do know for sure it is fear speaking. :-) Whether we are addicted or merely dependent, life without the help of drugs can be a real fear inducer. Withdrawal, in the end, is equally scary and the rules for withdrawal are the same.

Like you, I was at first taking the meds legitimately for pain for many years... it was the pnly way I could keep working. I crossed the line into abuse and addiction when I began to use them for mental pain as well. In the end, the absolute fatique that was certainly in large part to the Oxycodone did me in. When I finally decided I had to get off the pills, I had to make other scary decisions as well. I has to recognize that my working life as I knew it was done. I was 55 years old. There was no choice but early retirement. That was a blow to me. However, now that I am retired and off all pain meds, I am able to handle the pain with rest, heat, ice and aspirin.

I found myself again. My life is certainly different, but it is a good life. While I am still tired at times, the total exhaustion is gone. I am able once again to participate in family activities and in life in general. Oh, there are still limitations, but no where near the ones I had when the pills controlled me.

When we are making life decisions, sometimes we must think outside the box. In the end, I chose living over just exisiting.

That is my story. I don'tr know where your story will end, but whatever your decision, it will be the one that works best for you.

Wishing you the best

Spaz50 09-06-2011 06:46 AM

Re: Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without
Thank you Reach.
I have been facing the fact that it is very possible I cannot continue the type work and schedule I work now. I too often times take the meds when the pain is minimal. I make excuses for that as well. For years I have just existed. I am ready to see what life without these meds is like again. I don't fear the withdrawal so much as the "life without a crutch". That is where the fear is worst. My dad had several surguries and lived in pain
from his back issues and managed. Many of us got his bad back. Only I have it to this extent. I remember the pain before surgury and how debilitating it was and it is returning so I wonder how I can mangae a quality of life with that pain. But then as I typed this I realize my quality of life now isn't too good due to the meds and the fog they cause. Soo, I think I am ready to begin tapering or maybe just not go back to Dr. as I am getting low on meds. Not overly concerned about the WD. More about the mental part for me. Thanks....

Spaz50 09-06-2011 06:57 AM

Re: Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without
Thank you Reach.
So, let me ask with specifics.
I take a max of 6 10 mg/325 Oxycodones a day, and with that I take 1 or 2 20 mg oxyContin a day. Some days I don't take any contin. So, I tend to run out of the oxycodone early, sometimes as much as a week early. Then I take only Contin and usually 60 to 80 mgs. cutting in two or chewing at times to take 30 mg. They don't seem to lose the time release that way but doing that I hoped they would act more like 30 mgs of the codone. I know. That is not the way I should do it. But I am opening up for first time. What should I expect givin the doses I take. I don't take that much compared to many I have read on here. WIll wd's be severe, moderate if I go somewhat cold turkey?

Spaz50 09-06-2011 08:04 AM

Re: Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without
This may well be the 3rd post in reply, but last 2 dissappeared. So. 1 more time. Sorry if the others pop up too.
Wanted to be specific as to what I take.
I take 60 mgs of oxycodone a day. 3 pills at 10 am, and 3 around 6 pm.
I take 20 to 80 mgs of oxycontin a day. Most days 30 mgs.
Each month I run out of the oxycodone any where from 4 days to 7 days prior to refill time. I then take contin in place, of course. So that is when I go to minimum 80 MG contin usually chewing 2 20's at a time. They seem to still have the time release aspect even cutting or chewing. I cut or chew trying to get the immediate relief or effect like I do from the oxycodone.
I have several times stopped taking for up to 2 weeks and the pain, while working full time and being on feet or stooped in machine, is just to much so I go get refills. WD's don"t seem to be the issue unless the pain I feel is wd's. combination of both most likely. Seems I remember looking for the mack truck that hit me and ran over me, twice. So, my question.
What should I excect as for the wd's. It has been quite a while since I tried not getting refill so My dosages are higher than before, and more conssitent.
I expect the back pain to be bad enough. What Wd pain can I expect on top of that? And in response, no I can't really take a week off for wd.

Spaz50 09-06-2011 08:13 AM

Re: Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without
reply to Imnotstoopid,
Have you attempted to quit or are you off meds? If so how did it go for you?
Sounds like maybe you still take them. I started the melatonin too. Its been years since I slept well. Sleep an hour and wake up, then toss rest of night.
Helped a little but still don't seem to ever feel rested. Take care and thanks for your reply. prayers are with you in whatever you choose to do. THX.

Spaz50 09-06-2011 08:20 AM

Re: Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without
was trying to give specifics. My dosages and what to expect in Wd,s if I do go somewhat cold turkey. I take 60 mgs a day of codone and 20 to 80 contin.usually only 20 to 40 unless I have run out of codone. then I replace 60 codone with 60 to 80 contin. What should I expect in severity of wd.??

second go 09-06-2011 11:36 AM

Re: Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without
[QUOTE=Spaz50;4837262]My dosages and what to expect in Wd,s if I do go somewhat cold turkey. I take 60 mgs a day of codone and 20 to 80 contin.usually only 20 to 40 unless I have run out of codone. then I replace 60 codone with 60 to 80 contin. What should I expect in severity of wd.??[/QUOTE]

well everyone reacts differently to withdrawals, but I can give you an example of what I went through a few years ago when I was 32. I was taking 80 mg of oxy a day, so it was similiar to your dosage i think. There are fairly common symptoms that opiate users experience

I quit cold turkey the first time:

-day one- irritable an grouchy as ever, annoying back aches, insomnia
-day two- couldnt hang with my friends or socialize, took vitamins and tylenol, restless leg, insomnia, tossing and turning all night
-day three- weak, had to take time off work, all i could think of was taking an oxy!!!! (*** heres where having a good convo with person 'holding' your pills is important, actually have convo before starting taper, discuss that your temperment will be severe and to both need to remain focused on your health)
-day four- i was able to move and was a bit surprised, but still felt like i had flu, sweats, probably slept for an hour
-day five and six - still felt like the flu, took lots of hot baths to ease pain, very weak, not eating but should have
-day seven- starting to feel better and get few hours sleep

Spaz50 09-07-2011 06:41 AM

Re: Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without
Thanks Second,
WIll have that talk with my wife and let her know what to expect. Is it possible to be starting withdrawal after 12 hours? As I said by 10 Am I am really starting to hurt. Aches, and spasms in back. Feeling really lousy everyday at work, but started thinking that I haven"t taken any meds since about 5 pm Yesterday. That is my normal routine. SO I take my meds at about 10 am each day and just wondering if maybe the wd's are causing some of pain and not the degenerative disc and scar tissue from surgury. Or is that way to soon to begin feeling effects. wouldn"t that be smart if I have been fooled for a few years.

second go 09-07-2011 07:12 AM

Re: Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without
again, kinda difficult to troubleshoot where pains coming from, but I used to get withdrawal pain and aches, as well as sleep issues as short as 4 hours after my last pill.

This is definitely doable, but like I said, work might have to take a backseat to your health. I used the excuse that I 'needed' to keep working and it prolonged my use, like a year and some

Spaz50 09-07-2011 08:18 AM

Re: Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without
wow, Thats quick to have wd symptoms. So I may well be feeling that as much as chronic back pain. Sure feels like the old sharp sciatic pain though. but much more than that. the aching and spasms etc.
I do have a place I can go and do it alone. away from any possibility of getting ahold of pills. May just do FMLA, and cold turkey it. You think 7 days will do so I can get back to work and be clean and free of narcs in system? I have my parents estate, empty house me and my brothers own still. May be but may distract me from wd's. Thanks for your help.

reachout 09-07-2011 05:27 PM

Re: Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without
Hi Spaz

Like second go, I often starting having withdrawal symptoms as few as four hours after I had last taken tabs. I even began to wake up at night needing a dose.

In my experience, I really, really needed my husband by my side for support and help... and I did a strict taper, not a cold turkey. He helped by taking me for drives when the withdrawal was intense to help distract me, comforted me when I was reduced to tears, and just generally supported me through the struggle.

I also had the pains in bones and muscles in withdrawal as the brain sent out those search parties looking for any and all remnants of the drug. When I finally finished, I can honestly say that while I still had pain, it was no worse than the pain I had while on the pills. This ios actually fairly common. Even while on the pills ( for over 10 years), I would experience greater pain when the body wwanted the dosages upped. And up they went.

If you can take time through FMLA, then I would go for at least two weeks and see what happens. It is an exhausting process and you may want some time to recoup.

Last thought... why do this alone? Why not do this in the comfort of your own home, your own bed and the support of your wife? I am sure you would want to be there for her.

Keep us posted.

second go 09-07-2011 08:30 PM

Re: Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without
yeah, I wouldnt recommend cold turkey at your current amount (although it works for some). I was just giving you a look at what I went through when I stopped the first time. Cold turkey probably yields the most difficult time to endure.

I was kinda showing you the worse case scenario...? I agree that you should taper down slowly before quitting, especially since you have other pain to sort out. I tapered the second time, and it was less difficult to quit.

Oh and I agree about having a strong companion/friend/family member support you through it, but not enable. Its a fine line they have to walk... if they're too overbearing we get defensive and oppositional towards them (remember were in pain and irritable). But if they are not strong enough then they will give in to our B.S. and it wont help. Most people do well with someone just being there and not judging us while we get through what is a very intense time. My gf almost walked out on me several times cause she didnt understand why it took me soo long to get my head right.

Sometimes we have to tell them that they may not understand our world, and for them to be patient, without over-explaining ourselves to them.

Spaz50 09-08-2011 09:21 AM

Re: Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without
Unofficially I have begun tapering. I took only 20 MG codone yesterday and 40 mgs contin. I have no doubt I am making the most common mistakes a person can make. Non committal, unstructured etc. The reason I wanted to do alone is , I have no doubt I will not be pleasant to be around. Not to mention undignified and I am a quiet type that doesn'T have alot to say about anything. My wife asked me same question about doing alone and told me she really would like to be with me. Guess I just want to disappear and come back clean and her not see or share this with me. Don't want to have to talk to anyone, or explain how I feel or hide my pain. She see's the change in my personality over the years being on pills. I manage to work long hours at times and provide the bread and butter, but at home after all day working I have little left to do the things I need to do at home. Not to mention my irritability and lack of personality. If I was alone I may not bother to get off meds. But I love my wife so much, and with her and God watching I have to do this. I don't want to fail. Don't want to fail my wife by continuing pills and don"t want to fail God by not having the faith in him to heal me and give me relief. How can I claim to have faith in God, and yet try handle my pain without him. I look back and I failed my girls, who are now 18 and 20. Have spent 10 years , most important 10 years of thier life in a fog. Never really feeling like doing anything. And my wife, hasn't seen the man she married for many years. So I have so many reasons to do this, and only 1 reason not to.
Thank you all for your support. I will taper for a couple weeks and then disappear for a week. Can't afford 2 weeks with no pay. Will see how a week
works out. I Don't mind saying I am scared of failure. and also fear not having
a crutch. The pills. I believe in the Holy Spirit, and in the gifts we recieve from him. God heals people every day, and I pray he heals all of you who ask him for his help. You are a wonderful bunch of friends in offering your support for me, a stranger. Thank you so much!

katlin09 09-08-2011 11:07 AM

Re: Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without
When you refer to doing this "alone" and disappearing for a while, can I ask are you actually physically leaving your home, wife and friends? If so, please think about how your doing this. Although tapering at home is not the preferred method for someone on the dose you are, actually "leaving" your life, won't make it any easier. You'll need the support of your wife, more than you opposed to hurting her, you'll need her strength to draw from. And I'm sure as she loves you, she does not want you to do this alone. Actually leaving and her not knowing how you are, where you are, this would be more cruel and hurtful to her than, letting her see you at your weakest.

God is good, and he gives us strength and he can heal anyone of us at anytime...he also puts challenges in our lives, he states very clearly that he's not hear to make everything easy, free will took care of that many, many years ago. Not only can God heal us, but he also gave the knowledge of treatment and caring to doctors, so that they can help us get through these trials. Just because you use meds and docs to deal with and treat your pain, does not mean you've given up your hope in God's love and trust....he's with you 24/7.

Please just consider the course your's very dangerous, and your wife and kids will be none the better being without you, in whatever capacity. Sobriety, dependence, addiction....these are not things that can be beat singularly and take support, care, people.....

I'll keep you in my prayers and hope that your doing okay.


Spaz50 09-08-2011 11:42 AM

Re: Time to quit pain meds but how to deal with pain without
Last thing I want to do is hurt my wife, or put her thru any more pain. Yes, My plan is, or was to go to my childhood home. My mother died a couple years ago and we still have the estate. My wife would know where I am.
It is about 6 hours away so yes, I would be away from my life here. For a week at most. To many people come and go at our house right now. 2 yapping little dogs, lol. Not sure I can handle that while detoxing.
I would never just disappear without her knowing where I am going. I am at work now, and have taken 20 mgs of codone at 12 noon. I am feeling pretty lousy. have a splitting headache, nausea, and just ache. pretty shaky too. Will try to only take 20 mg contin this evening. May hold this dose for a few days and try to continue working till I can stop completely. Maybe, as I said, in a week or 2 be at a level where detox won't be to bad. Total detox that is as I guess I am detoxing now. Thank you Kat. Am not sure exactly how I will do this, but will take your advise to heart. Just thought isolation and peace and quiet might be MY best bet. I have alot of thinking and praying to do.

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