Discussions that mention vicodin

Back Problems board

Hello everyone,

Although I have been a member of the Health Boards for a long time and mostly search and read threads today, I need advice. I would like to say "I'm sorry" for those that are suffering through such pain.

My husband started complaining of lower back pain a couple months ago saying it was traveling down his leg. He saw his Primary Care doc who sent him to an Orthopedic. That Ortho did MRIs and I went with him on a Thursday to get the results. The Ortho told him he had herniated disks at L-3, L-4, and L-5, S-1. He recommended the spinal steroid injections. We scheduled them for the following Monday. That night my husband woke me at 5am in major pain and I beleive he may have been having a panic attack as he had trouble breathing and wanted me to call the doctor. I called the doctor (the one that was to do the injections) and he only prescribed more Vicodin. My husband stayed home that Friday, his first day off work due to this pain. That was two weeks yesterday and he hasn't been back to work. The weekend before the injections he could not sit or lay down. He would stand or "rock" back in forth in one place for hours. He moaned, screamed, and cried all night. Monday, on the way to the injections he was barely making the car ride. The procedure went fine but there was no releif - they told us 3-5 days to notice affect and we understood that. I had to go to work after his procedure so my mom who lives 3 miles away brought him to her house to rest until I got off work to pick him up. Monday evening when I arrived he was still in the same place, sitting in the recliner unable to stand or even shift his body. He sat in that chair until he finally came home on crutches that Thursday. We had to help him do everything... EVERYTHING from that chair. Thank God for my mother. The injections obviously did something since he had not sat up for a while. He is still on crutches today not being able to put any weight on his left foot. Says it feels like someone is slicing it open and ripping the skin off the bone. He has been in bed as laying down is the only comfort. When he gets up on crutches to go to the bathroom his foot turns purple. We went to see a Neurosurgeon on Wednesday - I begged them to squeeze him in and they did. He said the L-5 is pushing on the nerve and the S-1 is pushing on it as well. He feels the injections might have further damaged the nerve which would explain the foot pain. He scheduled surgery for next Thursday, outpatient, says he can go home that day and should be back to work in 3 weeks. This is the best Neuro I could find, in the Medical Center in Houston, Texas - famous for some of the best doctors and hospitals. St. Lukes is where this Neuro practices.

I have been reading as much as I can on the subject and am very worried about what I have seen from those that have had no releif. He says my husband has a 1-3% chance of needing fusion surgery at an older age. Says he is not a fan of that surgery and would never do it on a person his age - 32 years old. My husband is such a trooper and feels as if he is a burden on me and apologizes to me because I have to help him but I am just worried he will not get well and be depressed. He is an active person and I know this is really making him feel bad even though he won't say it.

I don't even know what the surgery is called but know he will be taking the pressure off of the nerve. Will he repair the nerve? I don't know. I guess I am looking for those with similar experiences and it seems like a lot are here. Do you all think the surgery at this stage is necessary? I don't know what else he could do to get rid of this horrible pain. I hate that he takes so much Vicodin. Oxycontin is out of the question. I don't want him to live on meds. I don't want to mask the pain, I want to fix it.

Thank you for reading this far.

Thank you all so much for replying! :)

Fiona - Your post made me feel better. I just told my husband after reading it your story and that he is not allowed to lift anything heavy anymore! :) Don't ever feel guilty, I assure you that your husband just doesn't want to see you in pain and it hurts him to see you hurt. I'm sure he is happy to do anything he can for you if it makes your pain go away. You are lucky to have a great support system too. Not to mention these boards! It is always nice to speak to others that have been through the same thing. I should give credit to his mom and brother too. His brother stayed two nights at my mom's with his brother so he could have someone near if he woke up. His spent one two days too and took him for his second orthopedic opinion when I had to work. Luckily my work has been very cool about me missing and working from home to be with him. I can go to work now but will miss this Thursday for the surgery then Friday as well. My uncle had the same surgery in November and swears by it. He recommended we go the Neuro route as did my sister in law who is a nurse.

Bionic - He is having two levels worked on, the L-5 S-1. It is my understand that the L-5 is bulging and pushing against the nerve then the S-1 is pushing on it where it escapes out of the spine. ?? The doctor said he does 80 of these cases a year. Where do you put the ice when you have pain in your knee radiating down to your foot? You can't even get near his foot. He says it feels like there is no skin on it. Anything to give him relief until surgery is something I would be willing to try, twice! Oxy is one of those drugs you hear about people abusing so much in the past couple years so as you probably imagined that is what makes me nervous about it. But again, anything to releive his misery at this point would be fine by me.

Bells - That is unbeleivable isn't it? All of the prescription drugs and good ol fashion Motrin did the trick for you! I wonder why they prescribe Vicodin? It doesn't seem to work on anyone with these problems. While the injections obviously helped some - he could not sit, lay down before them - the pain is obviously still hiding in there trying to escape. He was to have a second round of injections tomorrow but cancelled that since seeing a Neuro who recommended the surgery.

Thank you again everyone!!! I really appreciate it and will keep you posted as well as check in for your progress. :angel:

When I take vicodin I get panic attacks when it wears off. I get them about 4 hours after I take it. I have even gotten them right after taking one. They are pretty strong and can have side effects like that. Like the other poster said try using ice. Ice has worked better for me then any pain pill I have tried. Keep it on the area for 20 minutes until it feels numb. Do 30 minutes at the most. Do not put the ice directly on the skin make sure it's in a plastic bag with a thin cloth over it this way you prevent freezer burn.
Hi Jill

I hope your husband has found some level of comfort now. I totally empathize with what he is going through. I also have had an extremely hard week. I woke up a week ago in so much pain. I couldn't walk, sit, lie down, or stand without extreme pain. I was writhing, crying, and moaning (and I've been told I have a high tolerance to pain). I ended up in the Emergency Department and went home in the same condition with an Rx for Percocet (same as Vicodin). Anyway, to make a long story short, I am now on Prednisone, Flexeril, and Percocet. I am able to find a comfortable position lying down on my back with my legs up over several cushions so that my calves dangle.

I am a little concerned about what you said the Dr. had said about the injections making the problem worse. My Dr. is trying to get me in for these injections. I don't know what I will do if this makes me worse. My Dr. won't operate on me because my problem is scar tissue around an old surgery site.

I truly believe that surgery is the best thing for your husband. I know that he will be amazed when he is in recovery and doesn't feel that constant nagging pain in his back and leg that he has grown accustomed to. I can remember waking up and thinking that to myself. I actually felt so good that I got up by myself to go to the bathroom right after the surgery (the nurse wasn't very impressed and was quite angry with me), but I felt so great that the pain was gone.

Keep us all posted and I am saying a little prayer for you.

Hello Jill

I have a question for you about Vicodin since you had said your husband is taking it for pain. What is the dose that your husband takes? My reason for asking:

When I went to the ER a little over a week ago, the Dr. on duty prescribed Percocet (equivalent to Vicodin in the U.S.). The dose on the Rx was 1 to 2 tabs every 4-6 hours. I had to go back to my GP to get a renewal and his instructions were 1 tab every 6 hours. Well, right now there is no way I can get through an entire 6 hours without some pain relief. The pain has lessened as in the beginning I was getting no relief at all and then slowly it went from no relief to 2 hours, 3 hours, and now just over 4. I know when I have to get another refill my Dr. will question me about how many I am taking. I really don't want to feel like an addict because I am only taking them when I have pain that I am not able to get through, and I never take any before 4 hours is up. The pain is never totally gone; it just takes some of the edge off.

Take care

p.s. Thank you for the compliment about my name. My mum actually found the name from a lithograph when she was a little girl in Great Britain. She saw it one day on the walk to school and, like you, said that if she had a daughter that would be her name.
Here's a little more info that might help clear the air. Vicodin is derived from codeine which in turn is derived from opium or morphine, all of which mask the pain but do not reduce the inflammation or swelling. Ibprofen actually reduces the inflammation and swelling, therefore taking some of pressure off the nerves that are being compressed. Its and antidote at best but can give one time to look at different options that we might want to consider. Bell.
Hi everyone! :wave:

My husband had his surgery! The surgeon said that when he removed the two disks off of the nerve it was the reddest he had ever seen (a neurosurgeon did the surgery) and looked as thought "someone beat it with a hammer". He said he had never seen a nerve so damaged. He still feels as though the injections caused further nerve damage.

The relief was definitely not immediate so he was dissappointed when he woke up. Each passing day got a teeny bit better. He had such severe nerved damage that he was not able to put on a shoe. About 2 weeks after the surgery he put on a flip flop and we were so excited. When he put on an athletic shoe the first time we celebrated! :bouncing:

My husband had a has been back to work a little over a month now and is doing great. He still has some pain in his foot but nowhere near what he had prior to surgery. The doctor told him to expect a year for that to go away completely if it ever does. His doc was surprised and pleased when on his last visit a month ago he was wearing a shoe and doing as well as he was. He is still taking Neurontin, I think. It is funny how it was all we had in our lives, dealing with his pain etc. and now that he is doing so well I am not sure if he is taking the med still because it doesn't control our lives anymore. He is definitely not taking Vicodin or muscle relaxers anymore. Sometimes his back will give him some trouble and he doesn't walk as fast as he used to but he is back to his old self and happy again. I almost forgot what he was like before the trouble started so it is nice to meet that side of him again.

I am constantly on his tail begging him not to do any heavy lifting or even take out the trash! I got mad at him yesterday for taking out the trash because I loaded the trash can and knew it was heavy. He said he didn't lift just dragged it down the driveway. I worry he will re-injure and go through the surgery again. He says well if it happens again I will go to the doctor immediately instead of putting off because it only got worse then it got unbearable and that is no way to live. Even waiting a week for the surgery was brutal.

Thank you for all the support and for sharing your stories with me and my husband as I shared them all with him. I hope everone else finds relief soon.