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vchampagne 05-16-2009 03:44 AM

Chronic Pain & Lower Standard of Living
Hi everyone!! I am new to this forum, though I have done some reading before registering. I, currently, have no insurance and have just been diagnosed with sciatica due to the following - according to MRI report:

"Left subarticular disk extrusion with caudal migration at L3-L4 causing left lateral recess stenosis and is in positioning to irritate the traversing left L4 nerve root.

There are cystic lesions at sacral neural foramina suggestive of Tarlov's cysts."

I, finally, have found a doctor who is giving me hydrocodone. Usually this works ok. However, some days seem to require more when I have bouts of much more pain.

I am glad I finally registered & am outraged at the difficulty CP patients have at receiving adequent medication for their dx. I am not addicted to pain meds as I never feel any type of high from them. They only make it possible for me to function in a manner that allows me to get around when needed.

I live with my 75 yr old mom & help take care of her. I work three 10 hr days a week at a computer and we get by ok. But due to no insurance, I am not able to afford a specialist and my doc understands this.....

I am just sooooo tired of having pain all the time. Any suggestions??


Executor 05-16-2009 07:04 PM

Re: Chronic Pain & Lower Standard of Living
Welcome to the boards....Many here have a wide variety of experiences and thus, can offer lots of guidance and support.

Not sure what your question is, if you have one. If you're still in pain despite your medication regimen, you should talk to your Doctor. Do you see your GP or a PM Doc?



sammyo1 05-17-2009 03:48 AM

Re: Chronic Pain & Lower Standard of Living
If your asking for suggestions on dealing with pain, well other then meds there is moist heat & ice & you can purchase the kind that you can wear while your up & moving, my sister has one & I love it. There are topicals you can try such as biofreeze or even something like peppermint oil.

Thank goodness you get some relief from the hydro, many dont. There is always motrin or if your doctor thinks your having muscle spasms, muscle relaxers. There may be an affordable generic out there for this medication.
I try natural supplements daily such as tumeric & take magnessium as a natural muscle relaxer & of course a good calcium.
Also if your know you have these problems make sure your careful with performing tasks, lifting & such as using your knees instead your back. I know we all know this but how many forget & use the back more when bending or lifting? My guess is alot.

I really feel for those with no medical insurance, as you know your problems are there & need to be addressed but just can afford it & there are more & more without insurance.
Not sure if any of this helps you out but I do wish you the best, if anything the support here is great. Sometimes you have to be patient as not everyone knows how to reply or what to say. We are all here for various reasons but not always the same. Did you try the back board? Someone there may be able to offer advice better then someone here since your dealing with the lumbar. Take care, Sammy

vchampagne 05-18-2009 02:47 AM

Re: Chronic Pain & Lower Standard of Living
Thx for the replies & sorry I was so testy before.....My pain is not just my back. I have pain - no matter what - in my left wrist. Bad pain! All my joints, basically, but not as bad as the back & wrist. ALL main joints - knees, ankles, sometimes my hips, etc. But the main pain is in my back, knees & that damn wrist!! 1 doc Dx RA and another OA. And of course the sciatica. Have not had to go to the ER since last year with that. Bit the hydro just takes the edge off - most days but not all. So...........

I go to a GP and cannot afford a specialist. She understands & decided to start me back on hydro. [b]I am afraid to ask for more meds because, if I do, she will very likely decide she cannot treat me anymore[/b] and what she gives me, at least, helps me function - but the pain is fairly constant.

I believe, I have 'flare ups' - when joints swell & those days are difficult for me. But I must function because of my elderly mom. She needs me to do things and that has to be done, you know?


Do not know what I am is just the pain takes a toll, you know?? Seems I would be better off if I was not working at all, but I must work. Thanks for listening.

sammyo1 05-18-2009 04:34 AM

Re: Chronic Pain & Lower Standard of Living
Have you tried bracing the wrist? My daughter purchased me a splint by ACE & its very affordable, I believe around 16.00. I am using splints on both wrists for now, one bought without a script & one with a script from the medical supply. The one my daughter bought me is much more comfortable & get this the one with the script was 68.00. The ACE one has gel padding. As far as your goes back you could ask if a brace would help at all for that also, or see if you can find some strecthing exercises for the sciatica. My friend had a big problem with that & had to carried into ER at one time. She was off her feet for days & when she started PT they showed her a certain stretching exercise to help & she swears by it.
I am just throwing some suggestions at you here.

I feel really bad for you with no insurance. There are more & more people with no insurance & some doctors are adjusting rates for those in need. Hopefully this continues.


Perhaps you can let her know about not having the proper pain coverage without coming right out & asking for anything.
Just state you concerned that your pain is flaring & you have you job & mom to consider & see what her response is. You do have an MRI as proof that you do have problems.
Perhaps there is an affordable anti inflammatory generic out there for arthritis that you can try. There are drug companys that help if you have no coverage. I dont know if you have tried icing your back but it really does help me, others swear by moist heat.
I will keep will you in mind & if I hear or anything that helps with back pain I will let you know. I to have to work & although I want to I dread it, never knowing how I will feel.
Hang in there & I truely hope find something that will help with your pain. God bless, Sammy

mom2threekids 05-18-2009 05:15 AM

Re: Chronic Pain & Lower Standard of Living
Are you taking any type of perscription anti-inflamatory? I ask because of the joint pain you have. I get 15 toradol each month and can only take them for severe pain. Toradol isn't a narcotic but its not a drug that is safe to take more than 5 days 3xs per day. I space them out so they last longer. To me Toradol is a miracle drug. Its cheap as well. My co-pay for generics is 10.00 and I only pay like 8 bucks for it at target.

Another option that is non-narcotic is steriods. You could simply ask for an injection in your hip or take the oral ones. Everytime I take any type of steriods I feel tremendous relief for about a week. Again its not something you could take daily but if you could get steriods once a month or once every other month that would help out alot.

We dont have the same problems that causes our pain but mines is similar. I have a cervial herniation at c6-7 and DDD and spinal stenosis along with arthritis all in my cervial spine. So I have bone pain, muscle spasms and knots and nerve pain that shoots down my arms along with weakness in my arms and numbness in my hands. I take lortab 5's and am allowed 2 per day. So obviously I cannot get enough relief from 60 each month. Toradol along with the steriods get me through. I don't know anything about siatica pain and what could help treat that, sorry.

I feel so bad for you. Not having insurance would leave me in so much pain. I do go to a pain clinic and they do injections/steriods/tens unit and meds for me. There is no way I could afford this without insurance. I hope you can find some inexpensive care/meds. Again I would ask your doctor for an anti-inflamatory and steriods. Most doctors dont have a problem treating pain with non-narcotic things like this. Its very hard to get narcotics on a regular basis without seeing a specialist. Good luck and I hope you feel better.


BrittleBones 05-18-2009 06:41 PM

Re: Chronic Pain & Lower Standard of Living
Hi and welcome to the boards. Your symptoms sound like you might have some rhuematoid arthritis! Although narcotics will help with your pain, there are other drugs that actually change the course of rheum arthritis and I would suggest you talk to your doctor about having a few blood tests done to rule this out as the source of your pain. I agree with other posters who recommend a good anti-inflammatory drug like over the counter Ibuprofen or Advil. I don't know where you live, but many people who don't have insurance can find help through a teaching hospital that would operate medical clinics. They usually charge on a sliding scale based on your income or lack of income and insurance. Perhaps your doctor can recommend a hospital? Keep looking for help....there's an answer somewhere for you. All the best. Feel better - BrittleBones

greyzak 06-10-2009 09:44 AM

Re: Chronic Pain & Lower Standard of Living
I wanted to pass along something that my mother who has RA, has sworn by for years. She is 72 years old and is doing quite well. Her hands are gnarled, as most RA patients have, but we believe its because she didn't start on this supplement early on. She swears by Glucosamine Sulfate. Not Chondroitin. Chondrotin is something that many people have allergies to and also it can be hard on the stomach. She takes only Glucosamine Sulfate. It has almost eliminated her RA pain! She says to take it as directed on the bottle and give it at least a week + to work. However, she told my aunt about it and my aunt noticed relief from her OA within a couple days. Apparently Glucosamine helps rebuild the joint area.

I take it too, as I have DDD, and OA and my RA titers have been elevated periodically. I too, believe it helps a lot, when taken regularly.

Please keep something in mind regarding OTC painkillers like Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Motrin, (Ibuprophen), etc.: These painkillers can be very hard on your stomach, liver and kidneys. My aunt, same one as above-mentioned, destroyed her kidneys and died of kidney failure because of these OTC pain meds. She took them too close together for about a year for the OA pain in her knees. (She stopped taking them when she began the Glucosamine, but it was too late.)

Anyway, you might want to give Glucosamine a try if you haven't already, or even go ahead and take it with your meds, but ONLY if you doctor says its ok, of course. Always ask your doctor before taking new meds, especially when you are already taking prescription medication.

Hope this helps you as much as it has helped others.

brianpain33 06-10-2009 04:10 PM

Re: Chronic Pain & Lower Standard of Living
Take a look at the main Pain Management board and one of the first few topics is for "People needing help paying for medications". You can also do a search online. I know that Pfizer is giving away medications for people that can not afford them or have lost their jobs. You can go to their site or call them to find out if you qualify. One of the medications that they make is called [B][U] Lyrica [/U][/B] It is non-narcotic and treats nerve pain including Sciatica. I can't believe that your doctor has not tried you on this. Your doctor might even have some samples for you to try out. However, call Pfizer and ask them if you qualify for assistance for their medications.

Another program is through Merck-Medco and they have a patient assistance program. There is alot of help and assistance out there but you have to seek it out and fill out the necessary applications or over the phone applications. I would recommend the Lyrica though because I take it for nerve pain and it helps out alot. It is alot of trial and error when it comes to finding the right medications to treat your pain. You might also want to inquire about Methadone because it is one of the cheapest pain medications around and helps nerve pain in alot of people. It is not just for treating heroine addiction. There are alot of PM doctors that are using it as well for chronic pain. Look into some of those options and let us know what happens.


p.s. Have you tried OTC ibuprofen? It is helpful for inflammation as it relatively safe at doses under 2400mg/day.

tinabean34 06-11-2009 02:22 PM

Re: Chronic Pain & Lower Standard of Living

I just wanted to simply say good luck to you I will be praying that it gets easier for you. I understand how you feel, we all do. That's why message boards are so wonderful. It's hard to get through the day but you do what you have to do and with someone else to take care of it makes it that much harder.

Hang in there, do as much as you can and look for free assistance where you can. It is by the grace of the lord that we make it through the day, but we are blessed to wake up to another new day.


Weezi 06-11-2009 10:49 PM

Re: Chronic Pain & Lower Standard of Living
I was going to post the same advice Greyzak. However, I take the Glucosamine/Chondroitin double strength. I have to admit, I didn't think it would do much until I tried it for myself. I found more relief in it than I ever had with any of the OTC (Aleve, Motrin, Tylenol etc).

Unfortunately, I took OTC meds on a daily basis for almost 2 years (NOT RECOMMENDED) because I had such severe joint pain, that when I wasn't working or taking care of my kids, I was in bed. I was finally referred to a rheumatologist and eventually a PM and am now in physical therapy. My chronic pain has caused me to become reclusive because I don't want anyone to know. I have found so much support on these boards. Although I don't wish CP on anyone, I am glad to find that there are others out there like me. I wish you all better days ahead, take care;0)

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