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  • Constant Headache Despite Morphine Pump

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    Old 09-19-2003, 11:37 AM   #1
    wifeofcp1's Avatar
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    Post Constant Headache Despite Morphine Pump

    6 years ago, my husband slipped and fell. He landed on the back of his neck. To keep the long and agonizing story brief, he has terrible compression of C3-T1, especially in the C5-c6 region. He eventually opted for a 4 level fusion. A year later, his fusion still not fully formed (the Dr. said everyone heals at different speeds...give it more time), he had a morphone pump implanted.
    A year later, he still has constant muscle pain and headaches. I'm not sure what the dosage level of the morphine is I'm pretty sure it's a decent dosage and should be working. The doctor has tried a couple of "headache" medicines mixed with his morphine but the didn't work.
    My husband's symptoms are: numbness, burning, tingling down both his arms, hyper-sensitivity in his pinkie & ring fingers, weak grip, constant tension and pain in his shoulders, traps, and neck, and constant headache. The headache varies from bad to suicidal.
    He takes Vicodin, valium, ambien (for sleep), and BC powders. He seems to get some relief when he drinks liquor.
    He wears a soft collar when he sleeps and we have invested in a special foam mattress.
    He is manically depressed (is that the right phrase?). I think the mania is a subconsious effort to distract himself from the pain. His moods and behavior ranges from rage to hysterical laughter over the most minor things. His mood swings are scary and unpredictable.
    He's on disability and can't perform functions he defines as things that make him a man. i.e. moving stuff, fixing stuff, etc because his hands don't work right, he can't concentrate, or he's too weak to do it. He also can't do any of the fun things he used to do. He says he's a waste of space and useless to me.
    Nothing I say gives him any comfort.
    I believe that if we can find a way to ease his daily pain, he'll turn into a different person.
    Does anybody have any suggestions of how we can relieve his pain???

    Wife of CP Sufferer
    Wife of CP Sufferer

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    Old 09-19-2003, 12:36 PM   #2
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    Hello Wifeofcp,

    And welcome to the boards. I would first say cut the alcohol immediately. The problem with alcohol is that it can cause rebound headaches because of the dyhradating affects. And it can have lethal consquences when mix with the other meds that he is taking. I also think that the Vicoden is also not a good choice as well because it too because of the nature of the drug and the tylenol in it can also cause rebound headaches. There are ther meds that the Doctor should try for BT pain and for the pump as well. Fentyl is one of the drugs that can be delivered thru the pump and they also have it in a lollipop form for BT pain. I'm very sorry that you are going thru this as well as for him. There maybe other optioins as well that may help the pain as well. Like steriod injections and Trigger piont injections. And also nerve stimulating devices like TENS unit but even more effective than a Tens unit. I suggest these because I have broken my lower backand have alot of nerve pain as well. I would have a good talk with his PM doc about other options and meds. Do take care and keep us informed..


    Old 09-19-2003, 01:41 PM   #3
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    Their is one simple reason your husband is having
    terrible headaches. When you are on large doses of
    opiate pain medications, the blood vessels in his
    brain are constricted. Which, as you know, causes
    tremendously painfull headaches. He could try some
    ibuprofen (Advil) or Naproxsen Sodium (Aleve). And
    that should provide some releif from the headaches
    he is experienecing. I too am on large doses of
    opiate pain medication. And I also suffer blinding
    headaches. So I take 800 mg of Ibuprofen twice daily.
    I know what I am telling you sounds ridiculous. But
    thats what took my headaches away.

    Old 09-19-2003, 07:38 PM   #4
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    Had your husband had morphine previously (either pill or IV)? Just curious if he had headaches then. I have concluded after having a morphine pump following major surgery and then again with MS Contin, that morphine CASUES headaches for me. It is just a side effect which I have to this med so I do not take it.

    Just a thought,

    Old 09-20-2003, 04:00 AM   #5
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    I agree with Matt about the alcohol...The mix with all that medication could be damgerous. I have been a "backie" for seven years and a "cervie" for only 10 months. With the cervical injury came debilitating headaches. I switched Pain Management doctors because my original one kept dismissing the headache issues.

    My new PM diagnosed me with occipital neuralgia my first visit. It is common with cervical problems.caused by a whiplash type injury. I wasn't in a car accident...I fell and my head bounced off the sidewalk causing the whiplash. I have received occipital nerve blocks and they have given me relief (about 80%) for 2-3 months and tolerable headaches (5-6 on the pain scale) for another month as the block begins to wear off. Just a thought...
    .I'm certainly not trying to diagnose.

    I also think that your husband's doctor needs to address the depression issue. So many chronic pain patients become depressed because of the loss of their life as they once knew it and just dealing with pain everyday. My pain managment center has a therapist who only deals with CP.

    Take care of yourself. You are in such a difficult position. I find myself constantly apologizing to my husband for my actions. I also applaud you for trying to find him help.


    Old 09-20-2003, 04:49 AM   #6
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    I would ask for maybe a differnt med. As the side affects are headaches with most pain med.

    When I was taking Oxycotin I had headaches all the time and couldn't figure out why and then I was switcheded to dilaudid. The headaches went away.

    But To function I would take lots of caffine pills about 240 Mgs 4 times a day to keep awake. Then I was starting to get headaches again. My Doctor told me that caffine causes rebound headaches. So when I stoped taking the caffine I had a killer headache that made me want to die for about three days and then went away.

    Thank goodness I haven't had any bad one sense. I of course do get smaller ones but not like I used to.

    Also the alchol isn't good on the body or head with pain meds.
    Franklin Edwards

    Old 09-20-2003, 02:17 PM   #7
    wifeofcp1's Avatar
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    Wow! Thanks for the replies and the encouragement.

    My husband was only on Vicodin prior to the morphine pump. For a perior of time the pain doctor replaced the morphine with the dilauded but my husband thought maybe the morphine did a better job. He continued to have the headaches during that period.

    I've questioned whether his consumption of caffeine, sugar, and liquor would affect his headaches. From what I can tell (I'm not home with him all day), he consumes about 3-4 cokes per day. He swears he doesn't drink the entire can and often he will end up dumping them out. He has approximately 4 cocktails each evening.
    I cook healthy meals so his diet is good.

    ?? Are Oxycotin and MS Cotin the same things? Are they the same things as morphine??
    Thanks for mentioning the Occipital Neuralgia. I'll research that and find out what I can. I will also set an appointment with his PM doctor to talk about the suggestions you've all made.
    Keep 'em coming if you've got them. Thanks!
    Wife of CP Sufferer

    Old 09-20-2003, 03:19 PM   #8
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    I agree that he should try the Ibuprofin as simple as it sounds. I have had CDH (chronic daily headaches) for over 5 years now and about once every 3 months I get a different type of headache that ONLY plain tylenol will take pain meds wont touch it.
    Its worth a shot at least isnt it??
    It could be as simple as a side effect from the morphine. There are other meds they could use in his pump. You said the morphine worked the best for him...did he try all of the others? OxyC and MsC are not the same. MsC is time released morphine and OxyC is time released Oxycodone.

    Emc (susan) ..I have a question for you. Did you doc ever mention the occipital nerve stimulator to you? since the blocks work so well for you I would imagine the stim. would work well also. Have you ever heard of this? I got mine implanted in '01. It doesnt work well for me and looking back I wouldnt do it again but that is only because most of my headaches are on the front of my head and not the back. The blocks only lasted about 2 days for knowing now what I didnt know then...I didnt get enough relief from them to warrant getting the stimulator. I believe my PM at the time was only out to make some money off of me.
    Anyway I am curious if you have ever thought of this.

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