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pain meds vs TENS unit

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Old 06-10-2006, 04:37 PM   #1
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furmom29 HB User
pain meds vs TENS unit

I will be having surgery in a month for a rotator cuff tear (WC injury). I am "a lightweight" when it comes to pain medication. Vicoden makes me very depressed, gives me horrible nightmares & rebound headaches, Tylenol 3 takes the edge off but puts me in "la-la land", I am trying Tramadol now which knocks me out, yet doesn't do much for the pain. I am very aware of how addicting pain meds can be so I have always limited myself to how much I take, plus I don't like how I feel when I take them so I basicly go without and try to work thru the pain.
I get by with taking Aleeve during the day and Ambien at night. I have to cut my Ambien in half as 5mg has me staggering or throwing up if I'm not in bed within 30 minutes.
Does anyone know if my Dr. would be able to prescribe a TENS unit for me prior to surgery & whether or not the insurance company would pay for it? I know the pain after surgery is going to be considerably worse than what I have now. I would say that my pain thresh-hold is pretty high but emotionally it's starting to wear on me.

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Old 06-10-2006, 05:01 PM   #2
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Re: pain meds vs TENS unit

Most insurance companies will pay for one as long as there's appropriate documentation and a need for it. Because you are only going to use it after surgery the insurance company may instead just opt to pay for a rental first rather than allow the purchase of one right out at first.

The pain from the surgery itself generally subsides in about a week or two with the first few days being the worst. I found that anti-imflamatories were actually quite effective after my rotator cuff surgery so you may want to ask the doctor about them.

FWIW people with true chronic pain rarely to never become addicted to pain medication, (physically dependant yes, but Ambien or any sleeping pill has the same issue) it is people who abuse medication for the sole purpose of getting high that end up with addiction issues.

Old 06-11-2006, 07:13 AM   #3
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Re: pain meds vs TENS unit

I don't tolerate pain meds very well either. I mostly take motrin and my dr has written a script for that because I do go thru so much of it. When I need a Vicodin I have to cut them in half--couple hours later I try the other half. I end up putting up with the pain too because of my low tolerance to the pills. It's not fair I am also on wc and use a tens unit. They are usually very good about paying for most anything that the dr has prescribed for you. They do want you to get better, fast. Just make sure that your dr gets the authorization first for anything you get so there's no problems down the road. Good luck with your surgery!!

Old 06-11-2006, 07:19 AM   #4
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Re: pain meds vs TENS unit

i just wanted to mention something to you about using the TENS post op?after my first knee surgery,and because my pain was just over the top,even with some very strong pain meds,i called my orthos office to see if I could possibly even try using my TENS unit that i already had before the surgery to use on this knee,and was told no,that it probably wouldn't be a good idea.they never really told me why that was a bad idea,but just said no.I would most definitely speak with your surgeon about even using this before actually doing anything,like actually purchasing one?

it could have just been the area or something particular with my individual surgery but I got the impression that any surgery would not be good to mix with the tens I said,I am not sure just why,but i thought I should at least mention this to you.after a few weeks pass post op,it may be a great idea.i am back to using mine again now,with no problems at all.good luck on the surgery.Marcia
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

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