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Withdrawing pain meds, now what???


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Old 09-16-2012, 07:48 PM   #1
Kay1963
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Smile Withdrawing pain meds, now what???

I am sooooo scared to even write this out right now, but I have to get this off my chest.

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2003. I was put on pain medications briefly.

Then I wound up at a pain management clinic around 2005 for pain management and really bad anxiety. To make a long story short, I was put on two pain meds, ms contin and oxycodone. Around two years ago or so, I stopped the ms contin, wanting to get off my meds eventually. Still in pain, I stayed on my oxy's. A year and a half ago, I began to have weird symptoms and much more pain my back. After months of begging, literally, a spine MRI was done and I have moderately severe canal stenosis, osteoarthritis and cord flattening. That's at the cervical level. At lumbar, I am beginning stages of DDD with a herniated disc and annular tear between L-5-S-1. I increased my pan med dosage because the pain was horrendous. I went to PT, they never called me back, the gal explaining that the cervical they could not work with. I cannot have massage in this area. I have yet to be offered steroid injections, was referred to a neurosurgeon who is now playing GAMES with me after having done a "medical review" saying that I DO need the surgery but they want an EMG first. Oh fun! oh Joy! Why when you have the MRI results to dx? When I called them back this week, the receptionist was rude and said that it's true the doctor did not require these tests normally, they did from me so they could see how to best help me.

Another load of BS. I'm so tired from this. Tired of begging, tired of advocating, tired of pain meds. Over the last several months, I have needed more and more and have run out of my meds early, putting me through (SURPRISE!) withdrawal. THIS frightened me. I HATE being on them and how drugged I feel. I told my PM doc that I wanted to ween off or at least DOWN on the opiates. I've heard so many horror stories and I was sick and tired of waiting to take this pill to get out of pain. The reality is that I will NEVER be out of pain completely. Of course not! I'm a CHRONIC PAIN PATIENT...I'm also on a pain management contract and they've never worried about me. I fill my scripts at the same pharmacy, never doctor shop. MY UA's have been "sufficient".
But after reading what these meds do to you, for months now, I precipitated my own withdrawal with my own taper. I have done very well with this and am off the medication now for a day. The WD's are not terrible, although they are uncomfortable. It's been a medium-"fast" taper. I was given oxy 15 x3 times a day. I cut the dosages and jumped at five.

While I feel horrible, it's a lot less than I expected but then again its' DAY ONE. The first two drops in dosage were a nightmare, now I feel mentally CLEAR for the first time in years. But the pain is still there. I discussed going down to 5 mg's twice a day, but not even sure I want to do that. I'm tired of all the drugs. Really tired. I'm hypersensitive to side effects and I've tried a myriad of anti depressants that don't work or make me very sick. My anti anxiety med, is helping with the withdrawal and I'm taking Ibuprofen 800 mg for pain (Yes they are mine).

I'm so scared to tell my doc this. I flushed all the med I had left. My son is a recovering opiate addict and I have been extremely careful in keeping them under lock and key, but it didn't matter, if they were there, i was going to take them, so they are gone now.

I'm due to refill at the end of the month. I have so desperately wanted to talk to my pain doc about this, but I just couldn't stand it anymore. THe way I felt about myself. I got caught up in the stigma, the horror stories got to me and I hated the way I felt on them. I just.....took the leap.

Now I don't know what to do. What to say. I've broken the contract. My pain doc is super good to me and very nice. I don't know if I need a lower dose or not, but I had to see if the pain was real or if it was because I was on such a high dose.

I couldn't give myself anymore excuses for taking it. I don't want anymore medications. AT ALL, except the bare minimum.

Might you be able to share your experience or what you might do if this was you right now?

I have to live with chronic pain the rest of my life. I wish to do it with a CLEAR mind. There just has to be alternatives to opiates. I've already tried tramadol and muscle relaxers and I was very sick to my stomach as I have IBS severely.

Please help. I'd really like to manage this responsibly. Perhaps what I did was a mistake, but I couldn't handle it anymore.

Thank you so much for reading.

 
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Old 09-17-2012, 03:09 PM   #2
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Re: Withdrawing pain meds, now what???

Kay,
From reading your post, it seems to me that you unfortunately found yourself in the same trap that many do, in trying to treat their pain levels on their own....when the meds don't work as well as we think they should, you find yourself taking one more pill, hoping that it will be enough to reduce your pain levels, but before you know it, you are self medicating, taking more and more hoping to find that magic number/dose that will eliminate pain.....the thing that is often forgotten, is that with chronic conditions, there is no such thing as pain free...there is management and only management. In order to achieve that magical pain free state, we would have to have no injury, no chronic illness and that is not our case.
It is why , no matter how long we have dealt with our conditions, whatever they are, we have to stick to the dosing schedules and the doses provided to us by our doctors. Tolerance is going to be an issue, no matter what doses of medication we are given- it is the nature of the beast of pain medications.. and we are going to have to find other methods to add to the pain management treatment protocals, ice, heat, massage, TENS, swimming , yoga, whatever we can do that adds to the pile of pain relief that we can provide ourselves.
While tapering off the doses of meds that you were taking is a good thing, it will take some weeks or months before you will know for sure what your pain levels will be without pain medications. It takes some time for your body to reset and your own endorphins to kick back in to see how your body adjusts to the pain .
I tapered off my meds , on my own after my first back surgery- I wanted to see if I could manage on my own without the meds, and my doctor was okay with my doing that, however, that was my doctor. I would just be honest, and tell him that you didn't like the way you felt on the meds, and that they were not relieving the pain levels , and you wanted to see how you could manage on your own. He may or may not be happy about it. Most PM doctors want their patients to work with them on a tapering plan, for many reasons, all of them valid.....
I would also ask about maybe injections, Physical therapy , TENS, etc.....and there is also the possibility that having the emg done ( which is done to check the function of the nerves conduction, speed and to assess any damage and help pinpoint it) and then seeing if surgery is something that might reduce your need for pain meds and to correct the physical problems. You may find that following through with the surgeon alleviate the need for ongoing pain medications if the surgery can correct what the problems are in your spine.
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Old 09-17-2012, 03:39 PM   #3
Kay1963
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Re: Withdrawing pain meds, now what???

Thank you for your reply.

I wholeheartedly agree with you. I've been pushing hard to get my spine issues addressed and am meeting with MUCH resistance and I do believe it's because of my state funded insurance. It is very frustrating because I believe the surgery would be so helpful and I am not AT ALL opposed to it, in fact, I've been advocating for it, but without much success.

Perhaps the EMG, despite the neuros being kinda jerky about it, is the best thing to do in my case. MORE proof that it needs to be done.

I'm miserable right now, withdrawing, but I'm very determined. It could have been a lot worse if I hadn't tapered first, so for that I'm grateful.

The pain is "do-able" at the moment but there are times of the day where it's worse.

I understand completely what you mean about chronic pain MANAGEMENT. The pain will never go away. I have resisted this for many, MANY years. as I ws very very active. Now I have slowed significantly but I thought that may be due to my meds so I had to take the chance to see and try other things.

The things that were before masked are now CLEAR as a bell. Especially the pain in my neck and shoulder. I have body wide pain from the fibro too and felt blessed for many years that it didn't bother me in the extreme until my back started to have issues, before this I was "managing". Anything can throw off the fibro, even hormones, I'm discovering. I just started a period that I have not had for months and months now. A week and a half prior to starting I think I had the worse fibro flare I've ever had.

I'll be honest with my doc. I'd like to surprise her by letting her know I don't need to refill! LOL!

Sometimes i am back and forth. I remember a long time ago, I did really well with just alternating Tylenol and Ibuprofen and only took 5 mg oxy when it was absolutely necessary. I don't know that I'm willing to do that again, but it's been a thought when my pain levels increase past doable.

Anyway, thank you. Epiphany regarding pain management. I have to learn to accept this part of me and that my life ccan't be the once active life it was.






Quote:
Originally Posted by backhurtz View Post
Kay,


From reading your post, it seems to me that you unfortunately found yourself in the same trap that many do, in trying to treat their pain levels on their own....when the meds don't work as well as we think they should, you find yourself taking one more pill, hoping that it will be enough to reduce your pain levels, but before you know it, you are self medicating, taking more and more hoping to find that magic number/dose that will eliminate pain.....the thing that is often forgotten, is that with chronic conditions, there is no such thing as pain free...there is management and only management. In order to achieve that magical pain free state, we would have to have no injury, no chronic illness and that is not our case.
It is why , no matter how long we have dealt with our conditions, whatever they are, we have to stick to the dosing schedules and the doses provided to us by our doctors. Tolerance is going to be an issue, no matter what doses of medication we are given- it is the nature of the beast of pain medications.. and we are going to have to find other methods to add to the pain management treatment protocals, ice, heat, massage, TENS, swimming , yoga, whatever we can do that adds to the pile of pain relief that we can provide ourselves.
While tapering off the doses of meds that you were taking is a good thing, it will take some weeks or months before you will know for sure what your pain levels will be without pain medications. It takes some time for your body to reset and your own endorphins to kick back in to see how your body adjusts to the pain .
I tapered off my meds , on my own after my first back surgery- I wanted to see if I could manage on my own without the meds, and my doctor was okay with my doing that, however, that was my doctor. I would just be honest, and tell him that you didn't like the way you felt on the meds, and that they were not relieving the pain levels , and you wanted to see how you could manage on your own. He may or may not be happy about it. Most PM doctors want their patients to work with them on a tapering plan, for many reasons, all of them valid.....
I would also ask about maybe injections, Physical therapy , TENS, etc.....and there is also the possibility that having the emg done ( which is done to check the function of the nerves conduction, speed and to assess any damage and help pinpoint it) and then seeing if surgery is something that might reduce your need for pain meds and to correct the physical problems. You may find that following through with the surgeon alleviate the need for ongoing pain medications if the surgery can correct what the problems are in your spine.
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:08 PM   #4
Shoreline
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Re: Withdrawing pain meds, now what???

I wouldnt let jumping through one last hoop the nerve study, prevemt you from seeking a solution or at least stalization. Good luck dave

 
Old 09-17-2012, 04:17 PM   #5
Kay1963
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Re: Withdrawing pain meds, now what???

Dave,

I won't. Not if it means living a pain free life. In that light, it's just a hoop.

Thank you so much!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoreline View Post
I wouldnt let jumping through one last hoop the nerve study, prevemt you from seeking a solution or at least stalization. Good luck dave

 
Old 09-20-2012, 05:36 AM   #6
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Re: Withdrawing pain meds, now what???

sorry...this posted twice. don't know what i did

Last edited by cenm67; 09-20-2012 at 05:39 AM. Reason: duplicate post

 
Old 09-20-2012, 05:37 AM   #7
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Re: Withdrawing pain meds, now what???

I feel for you. At 45, with 4 active teens, I wanted to have zero pain and zero side effects. The reality however is that a goal like that is unrealistic. Accepting the pain will always be there and finding the right balance of meds to make it "manageable" is not always an easy or fast process.

I would be as open as possible with your physician, especially since you mentioned you are running out of meds early. Having your body go through that every month isn't good. Your body can't balance chronic pain when you add sleep deprivation, anxiety, vomiting etc., to the mix.

Also....rely on your supports. Whether it's your family, friends, work etc., find those positives and focus on them. I know there have been times when I've been going through a titration phase or a flare up that I've wanted nothing more than to lay in bed. But dragging myself to one of my children's soccer or football games helps me to focus on what's important and distracts me from focusing on the pain.

 
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