Discussions that mention vicodin

Back Problems board

Hi. I've been here off and on for over a year - had hemilaminectomy in Feb 05 and now am scheduled to see surgeon in early May to discuss my upcoming fusion at L4/5 L5/S1.

I've been taking vicodin during the day - some days worse than others and valium at night to calm down the spasms in my lower leg. My main problems have been numbness / tingling down lower leg and total numbness in foot with low dull back ache.

Over the past couple of weeks I've begun to have a horrible dull ache in both legs and if I'm on my feet much - not talking long long times either - I ache from my lower back all the way to the soles of both feet.

Do you think I could be overcompensating on the right for the left? I've increased the vicodin. Thanks for any input.
Thanks so much for your response. My surgeon is a specialist in spine surgery. The surgeon who perform my surgery last year has referred me to his peer for the fusion.

I think part of my issue is that I've continued to work full time since going back to work after the laminectomy and facetectomy after 8 weeks off in 2005. I've just continued to go downhill since. I went from the surgeon to pain management for several months and we tried all the options and after another mri and ct myelogram, pain mgmnt doc sent me back to original surgeon who has referred me to the spine specialist. I wonder if I'm just running on empty so to speak, but I will give them a call.

It's concerning because I'm having sciatic pain and also pain in my thighs where I didn't before. It was all in my left lower leg before the last couple weeks.

I also wonder something else. I've been on pain meds for so long - but I refused to take more than 1/2 a vicodin for a very long time because I was concerned about become dependent - although I know now I am dependent due to the pain! If I let it get out of control, I'm down for the day.

It's difficult taking it at work, but I can tolerate - until recently - working. Now, I just want to lie down and even then I don't feel I can get comfortable. It's very frustrating.

I've read many of your posts over the past year or so, and I appreciate all that you share.
I've not been on the vicodin, but like many others I too have concerns about addiction. If you've been reading for a while, you've probably read that the Ultram work for me, but the Ultracet does not. The Ultracet has less of the active ingredient and is used with tylenol I believe, so it is supposed to be as effective. Like all meds though, what works for one does not necessarily work for the other.

However, the Ultram works like a narcotic and thus some doc's say it is narcotic. The PDR is very clear that it is non-narcotic, but they don't quite understand why it actually works like one. Thus, they do warn that individuals who have had an addiction problem, or those who may be prone to easy addiction to narcotics may also have problems with Ultram. I've been on the medication for several years now and at lengthy times at the maximum dosage. When I don't need it, I may go weeks without it and thankfully have not suffered any complications. The reason I like it is because it does not leave me sleepy or with any of the other side effects I get from narcotic type medications, and that's important to me. You may wish to talk with your doctor about trying ultram if you have not tried it, to see if you get good pain relief without side effects.

Just don't let yourself go too long with severe pain. Remember, that after a period of time at severe pain levels, we reduce our changes for a full recovery as the nerve can become permanently damaged. That's the one thing that I am so thankful for my spine specialist who has been great about letting me know when I am reducing my changes for a great outcome.

Hope you have pain free days very close at hand. Best wishes.
Quietcook - I took your advice and called my pain mgmnt doc office and am seeing him next Friday to see if there's something else we should be doing before my appt with the surgeon in may.

Honestly, I think I'm just so worn out from the pain and my concern is if we don't get this under control and I dont gain some strength back - I'll have a harder time with the surgery and recuperation.

I've decided and told the nurse that I've increased the vicodin - still not taking the max prescribed so it's ok - but I'm taking after breakfast and just making sure I don't let the pain get away from me.

I never thought I'd look forward to the fusion surgery - but I actually am glad it's getting close to happening - I just can't imagine keeping up with things the way it is now indefinitely.