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    Old 06-13-2007, 09:57 AM   #1
    froufrou
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    Help with withdrawls from meds

    2 months ago I had spine surgery done- c5-6 disk removed, replaced with metal plate, donor bone, and screws in my neck/spine. Before & after the surgery I was prescribed heavy amounts of pain medications, of course which I needed for horrible pain. However, I am a petite lady, and quite possible they overmedicated me. I was taking oxycontin, percoset, vicodin, & flexeral, daily, EACH (switching between perc & vic). I was taking that combination for 4 months (up until last week).

    Last week I decided when all my meds ran out to not call in for refills. I was tired of that "looped " feeling, and I also wanted to see how I truly physically felt, to see if the pain had subsided , and see if I could tolerate it on my own, with out meds. Obviously, I am still healing & recovering from a recent surgery, but i thought 2 months might be near the safe period.

    That was the biggest mistake. I had the most dreadful withdrawls. I didn't realize I was going to experience that. I didn't know I had become that physically dependent on them. and of course I also quickly realized that my spine still really REALLY hurts. I developed a fever, chills, shaking, insomnia, and general feeling of wanting to claw my way out of my own body... the withdrawls. I called my Dr and he told me i wasnt suppose to quit "cold turkey" and he gave me another prescription, only the vicodin, not the others. he said I could use that for weaning off.

    But, now I only have 12 of those pills left, and still a lot of pain, but I dont know if my Dr will give me more, and honestly i hate asking for them. i'm scared of having those withdrawls again, and would like to know is there anyway, any advice, suggestions , of something all natural to help me through if i experience that again when this bottle runs out. i hate being dependent on those meds, even though i'm still hurting, but id rather be in pain than to combine it with withdrawls again. maybe there is something different i can take for the pain too? something NOT like those heavy drugs?

    Please please please help. I'm really quite scared oh how it will feel in a few days after my last pill.

     
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    Old 06-13-2007, 10:09 AM   #2
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    Re: Help with withdrawls from meds

    I am so sorry that you're going through this. It is true you shouldn't have gone cold turkey, especially with that amount of medication.

    I would make an appointment with the doctor and explain that although you're in pain, you really don't want to be on all these medications. He should (if he's any good at all) set up plan to help you taper off these medications. He should not leave you to handle this yourself. There are many medications that can help you through the withdrawls with a minimum of discomfort.

    You may find that since your surgery was only a couple of months ago that you still need to be on medications, just not as much. With the help of your doctor you should be able to find a happy medium, meaning managing your pain without that loopy feeling. You shouldn't have to suffer, nor should you have to go through your days in a medicated fog.

    Please try to get an appointment with your doc and see what he can do to help. If he is unwilling, have him refer you to a good PM doctor in your area.

    Hope you feel better soon.

    Lizzie

     
    Old 06-13-2007, 11:29 AM   #3
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    Cool Re: Help with withdrawls from meds

    Hi,
    I agree with Lizzie, Just wanted to add that surgeons, once they feel we're weaned off a bit, want to cut and run, as it were. (Not all of them, but enough)
    2 months out is not a long time at all to still need meds, lots of people need them for 3-6 months, and then there are those of us who end up in permanent pain management.
    If your surgeon is dragging his feet, and you cant get into a pain management doctor (you may even be jumping the gun starting PM so soon after your surgery) You can simply ask the surgeon to release you from his practice and go back to your regular primary doctor, after my fusion, when the surgeron got bored with me and my pain, thats what I did, and my primary doc was fine with prescribing for my pain.
    Good luck, and dont be too hard on yourself, you didnt know what would happen, and 2 months and still in pain is really really normal.

    Hugs, Fabby

     
    Old 06-14-2007, 09:51 AM   #4
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    Re: Help with withdrawls from meds

    Lizzie, Thank you for your (very kind support) & advice. I suppose you are probably right about that i do still needs the meds for pain right now, just not as MUCH. I have been trying to keep track, and it seems that 3 vics a day keep the pain at a tolerable level and im not too loopy. I suppose all I can do is tell him this , as well as my concerns about wanting to go off them too, and hope he will help me. I don't know why, but I feel weird asking him for refills too... even though i need them. I just want to be free of them.

    thanks again for your response.

    Last edited by HBMod07; 06-19-2007 at 06:03 PM.

     
    Old 06-14-2007, 10:04 AM   #5
    froufrou
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    Talking Re: Help with withdrawls from meds

    oh my! THANK YOU! I really appreciate your input. I know nothing about the surgery I had, I have no idea what is normal, what to expect, etc. My surgeon told me he had quite a few patients that were COMPLETELY pain free immediately after surgery. I'm sure this is a possibility, and he wanted to tell me to keep me on the bright side, but it sort of made me also feel like i am not normal by having so much pain. I wondered why am i taking so long to recover. so, perhaps its normal to take even up to 6 months to recover and heal from spine fusion surgery?

    so far my surgeon has been very kind to me. but i still feel weird for asking for more meds because of what he said, that a lot of people are better right away, and i'm obviously not. i guess i didnt want himthinking that i'm just trying to take advantage or something. stil cant figure out why im feeling that way too.?? i was just afraid that i would be forced to go off suddenly after i tried to go off myself last time and realized how horrible & painful it was.

    yes, it does sound the best to ask him to come up with a way to wean me off them when it's time instead of leaving it up to me. i think that sounds most reasonable.

    pardon if i have rambled on and on. I m just quite thankful to even get to find a group pf people who can relate or understand. I have not been able to really talk to anybody about this, nobody understands. you here are all really great

    Last edited by HBMod07; 06-19-2007 at 06:03 PM.

     
    Old 06-14-2007, 10:05 AM   #6
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    Re: Help with withdrawls from meds

    I had the same surgery over a year ago and still need another one this year. I also am petite and take decent a mounts of pain meds, baclafen (used to take flexiril) and Lyrica...I have gone days without and been ok but in tons of pain. I do think u need to continue your pain meds as if u still have pain u are not ready to wean. Then go slow to wean yourself....no medication should be stopped cold turkey. Also may I suggest Ultram for your pain. One thing is it is not a opiate and secondly it works awesomely with our kind of pain. ****** it and u will understand why. Good luck. And if your pain persists something else is likely going on.

     
    Old 06-14-2007, 10:17 AM   #7
    froufrou
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    Re: Help with withdrawls from meds

    I'm just so happy that I found my way back to these health boards after one post 2 years. This is all so helpful. Thank you for the replies and advice. I will most certainly look into the Ultram. I"m going to research it on the net here and bring it up with my surgeon. I like that it may not be a heavy drug, and will still take my pain away. could that be true? it wont make me loopy? or even at least not as loopy.

    How come you have to have another surgery? on the same area? So sorry. Obviously these are not easy surgeries to recover from, and I do hope that you are alright and ..... I can just imagine how you must feel.

    Last edited by HBMod07; 06-19-2007 at 06:02 PM. Reason: please

     
    Old 06-14-2007, 11:07 AM   #8
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    Re: Help with withdrawls from meds

    OUCH. I can't believe you just stopped all meds 2 months out of a major operation like what you had. Are you crazy??
    After my spine surgery, I was on pain meds solid for one year. I was in horrible pain but was only taking Norco's about 4-6 a day nothing like what you are taking but still I did not have a fusion like you so its a big difference, I did not attempt to get off because my pain was so rea so why should youl.

    If I were you, what is the rush of getting off your pain meds? If your feeling loopy on them, your being over medicated and need to talk to your Dr about a different pain pill or a lower dose, or a different combination of meds that can help pain, there are plenty more for you to try. There is no need for you to suffer like this, and the vicadin will not cut it if your in severe pain. it is much weaker than Percocet and oxycontin.. Please take your time weaning off them meds next time and consult your Dr before you make any medication changes in the future and never just stop your pain pills cold turkey or you will be sick again!

    Good luck!
    P.S. You are actually lucky your surgeon is still prescribing for you, mine cut me off after a month and most surgeons do not like to manage pain meds for this long after surgery so it sounds to me like you have a pretty darn good Dr. Don't worry about calling him and telling him now you want back on the stronger pain meds. YOU are the patient and you paid him a lot of money to operation on you so you need to be taken care of and get the relief you need! and do not forget you had a major operation and your pain is VERY real and he knows it...........

     
    Old 06-14-2007, 11:45 AM   #9
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    Cool Re: Help with withdrawls from meds

    Hi Again,
    Just wanted to add how hilarious I found it that your surgeon said some of his patients have NO pain after their fusion.
    IMO, a lot of these surgeons have a serious God complex, they are actually offended by our continuing pain, as if we must be wrong, after all, they laid their magic hands on us.
    When I had mine seriously cut my meds after about 3 months, I wound up in the ER crying my eyes out. The ER doctor looked at me like I was nuts and said , hey you had a very very serious surgical proceedure, some people take up to a year to recover, why are you expecting to be pain free after 12 weeks?!
    The answer of course was the surgeon, who was more annoyed everytime I saw him.
    I asked to be released, and made an appointment with my primary, I said the surgeon said if I still needed pain meds, I needed to get them from him (primary) my regular doc didnt bat an eye, went right ahead and put me back on the meds.
    I think the surgeon who thinks some people have no pain at all after a fusion must have gone to the same school as those lamaze nurses who tell expectant mothers that labor is not really painful, more pressure, ha ha ha ha ha rightttt. I've had 2 kids and let me tell you, if that isnt pain, then I dont know what is.
    Bottom line, you know your body, dont let anyone tell you how you SHOULD feel, thats just ridiculous.

    Your Friend, Fabby

     
    Old 06-14-2007, 08:23 PM   #10
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    Re: Help with withdrawls from meds

    FF-Ultram does not make me feel loopy at all. I have taken various amounts. I take 100 mg usually twice a day and then may top the day off with another 50mg or a percocet. I have been on pain meds for years now so may have be more tollerable. I did feel loopy on percs or to many hydrocodones. I think I have a issue with opiates. I took Ultracet forever (it is ultram with acetamin). Anyhow I was sent to a pain management doctor which may I suggest you get one of those and he said I wasn't on a high enough dose and gave me the 50mgs. He prescribed me 100mg slow release a few months ago and I have been taking those most days. I take 200mg and usually another 50mg during the day or at night. (I lift weights and have a almsot 2yr old so am always lifting of one sort or another). I have made the mistake several times about feeling pretty good and not taking anything, then a few hours later hurt so much I have to take more then I would have. I also got better results with baclafen. Seems that ultram and baclafen are prescribed for spinal and other neurological issues. You may also need a nerve pill like Lyrica or neurontin. Again I would see a pain management doctor. They do not take you off meds when u need them. Like I said I have been on them for years and I do not abuse nothing. Hate the feeling of even being loopy. Cannot figure out how anyone could abuse pain pills.

    I am not sure why I need another surgery. I guess the posterior decompression didnt relaly work. Or for long. I also had the second injury and that could have caused the issue. Wish my doctor would have just done a two level fusion when he could have. Would have saved me all my saved up vacation and sick time.

    Fabby you are right about some doctors luckily mine isnt like that. He told me upfront I would always have pain something about long term nerve or cord compression. Lucky me at least for that. Ha (lucky me I had a c-section I missed out on all the pain with labor)

     
    Old 06-14-2007, 11:28 PM   #11
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    Re: Help with withdrawls from meds

    As for the "crazy" part; perhaps I am a little, but that's only in an artsy/creative way

    But, yes, My surgeon had called me a couple times post-op to check in with how I was feeling, and I would reply "Good. I don't feel any pain." but I was terribly wrong because I was also constantly under the effects of heavy meds, so of course I didn't feel any pain. I am hoping he realizes this. indeed I need to clarify that to him. I suppose I was in such a hurry to feel better and I overestimated myself when I thought I could quit the meds. nothing fun about feeling an intense surge of pain all at once after months of being numbed up with drugs.

    It is both comforting, and not, to know now after everyones replies here, and after reading through many posts of similar experiences, that I am not abnormal in my recovery process, or rather that i am not simply "imagining" pain. I was feeling so frustrated. I spent 10 months in horrible agony prior to my surgery, and was under the impression that by month 2 post-op i should be fine and dandy.

    up until last week he , as I mentioned, was kind enough to refill the vic. prescription. I did not request for the other meds. I am hoping that he will continue his understanding and work with me on this. And yes, I am paying him a very incredible amount of money. We dont have personal insurance, and so we are paying this all out of our own pocket, $45,000. to be exact. YIKES! Obviously I can't afford all this, and I wouldnt be asking for more meds if I truly didn't need it, I'd rather not have that additional expense.

    I appreciate your input, and support. all these replies and information given means so much to me.

    Last edited by HBMod07; 06-19-2007 at 06:01 PM. Reason: please only

     
    Old 06-15-2007, 12:07 AM   #12
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    Re: Help with withdrawls from meds

    Hello, Fabby

    Well, my first 10 months after my injury was total hell due to the opposite type of DR. My Primary Dr. didn't believe that I had an injury. He dismissed it repeatedly by saying I had a slight case of whiplash. I kept returning to him, time after time in sobbing pain, insisting it wasnt whiplash, that i know what that feels like it this wasnt it. He treated me as though i was a big pain in his tushy, and at one time literally said I was "just being a baby, and need to buck up." I was mortified by his carelessness. He denied all my requests for tests, and would not refer me to a specialist. I had to advocate for myself and began searching for a specialist who would take me with out a Primary Dr referral AND with no insurance You can imagine I heard "NO" after "NO" for months. Finally, this surgeon agreed to take me, and when the results of the MRI came back revealing a completely smashed disc (& pressing my nerves), as well as a few other problems, He said it was never going to repair itself and needed to be removed. I took a copy of the results back to my PM Dr, handed them to him, and said (in a not so gracious way) "Thanks for all your help! I'm not a hypochondriac." and walked out. obviously returning to him for further treatment or pain management is not an option. and Now I need to find a new Dr. I don't have the strength or the energy after this surgery to find one , but I really NEED a Dr. I also need to begin to figure out how I am going to get a loan to pay this $45,000 surgery debt. if I don't begin to pay it to the surgeon I fear he will not help me for much longer with proper prescriptions and recovery. I'm quite distressed. I'm just really praying he continues to be a kind and understanding man/Dr & not turn me away in the midst of all this.

    I feel like I'm complaining. Thank you for reading my long posts, and allowing me an opportunity to get this all out

    -Lola

    Last edited by HBMod07; 06-19-2007 at 06:00 PM. Reason: Please only quote the portion of the message you are responding to and not the entire message

     
    Old 06-15-2007, 12:34 AM   #13
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    Re: Help with withdrawls from meds

    Is a "pain management" Dr. different from a regular Primary Dr? I currently do not have a primary Dr ( I left mine in the midst of my injury due to his lack of help). I am wondering if instead of looking for a primary Dr if now I should specifically look for a pain management one considering my circumstances? I have no idea how long my surgeon will continue seeing and assisting me?

    Do you think the ultram is enough on its own to take care of the sort of pain I have? without mixing it with my vicodins? I am wondering if I should ask my surgeon to give me a prescription of that to introduce while I am still on the Vic's and then I can wean off the vics slowly.

    When I called my surgeon and told him I quit my meds, I only asked for the vicodin refill. he asked me how many times i was taking that, and I said 2 times a day should be ok. but i realized that wasnt enough, because before I had all the other meds, time release oxycontin, etc. so I am currently taking the vic's 4 times a day to manage the pain, it still hurts on them, but i'm trying to spread them out....because of my recent experience with my first Dr I'm afraid my surgeon wont believe me. my first Dr didnt believe I even had an injury, only until I had to find this surgeon myself and the MRI results came back.

    I suppose as my original post states, I'm scared of those awful withdrawls combined with the pain, so i'd rather wean off of them and be able to take something that wont cause withdrawls but that will still take care of the pain. or maybe I am just underestimating my surgeon and assuming he wont continue to help me?? I had such an awful experience for 10 months with my primary Dr literally telling me I was pretending injury and pain, I'm worried my surgeon will think I'm "milking it" and cut me off... again, i'd rather safely wean off the opiates than have to ever go through that withdrawl madness...but i'm still hurting.

    sorry if I am repeating myself. just tring to process it all properly and figure out what is best.

    THANK YOU for taking the time to reply to me. You are all so wonderful & helpful here.

    Lola

    Last edited by HBMod07; 06-19-2007 at 06:00 PM. Reason: Please only quote the portion of the message you are responding to and not the entire message

     
    Old 06-15-2007, 04:33 AM   #14
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    Re: Help with withdrawls from meds

    Hi again,

    Okay now I have a clearer picture of whats going on, I had the exact same thing happen to me, My primary said I had a torn trapezoid, and wouldnt order tests, I walked around with a ruptured disc for 4 months before he finally said, 'If the disc was ruptured, you would be screaming'.
    I offered to scream and told him I wasnt raised to throw screaming fits like a child no matter how much pain I was in, He ordered the tests but I could tell he thought I was wasting his time.
    Well after the tests and the neuro told me it would never get better without surgery, he was tripping over himself to be nice to me.
    Maybe yours would be the same? have you tried calling for an appointment? I kind of felt stuck with mine, I always got the feeling he was only treating me nicely because he was scared to death I would sue him.
    After a few months, he left the state and I found a wonderful doctor, took me 2 trys, she was my doctor and prescribed for my chronic pain for over a decade. Recently, I lost all my medical benefits, and my doctor closed her practice, but I was able to find a great doctor, again just a regular primary, that treats my CP, more and more family doctors and internists do that now, you dont have to have a PM doc, but thats also an option.
    If you have no insurance like me, try going through your county health clinics, thats what I did. I had an interview and was approved for $10 prescriptions and $20 doctor visits, and assigned the doctor I have now, who has even offered to put me on a long acting med, methadone, which my old doctor never would have.
    I have taken ultram (tramadol) for well over a decade, but I take in in conjunction with lortabs (hydrocodone) and I dont think the ultram alone would be enough for me, everyone is different, though.
    Good luck and dont give up, keep fighting!
    Hugs, Fabby

     
    Old 06-15-2007, 07:37 AM   #15
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    Re: Help with withdrawls from meds

    Fabby, I don't know anything about "county health clinics." But $10 prescroptions & $20 visits sound like the only thing I can afford since this expensive surgery. I don't know how to find these clinics, or if I am understanding it right? The neat thing is, I just realized by looking over on the left side under your screen name is that we both live in the same state. I certainly don't mean to impose, but if you had particular clinic names, etc who woud see me (post-op patient with no insurance) that would help me so so so much.

    I really think going back to my first Dr is not a good idea. I had other problems with him (He is very old, and doesn't seem too with it anymore) he accidentally mixed my medical records with another persons, and in general getting really sloppy with his practice. I went to him for 10 years, and until the last year he was good, but now I don't trust him at all. He has messed up too many times with me. I'm sure after my "snippy" attitude with him when I gave him the MRI results probably didn't sit well with him either.

    Thanks for your continuing informative replies

    Lola

    Last edited by HBMod07; 06-19-2007 at 05:59 PM. Reason: Please only quote the portion of the message you are responding to and not the entire message

     
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