Discussions that mention vicodin

Pain Management board


Hi all,

I'm new to these boards, and I've just spent the past couple of hours reading through many threads in order to gain some insight. A little background on me:

I'm currently a sophomore at USC, however I am on a leave of absence from school because of a discectomy I had done in September. The affected disc was L5-S1. I had tried many different treatments before the surgery, including physical therapy (in two different series), NSAIDs, steroids, and epidural shots. None of these provided me much relief, and my doctor, parents, and I decided to go ahead with the surgery. In addition to this, I frequently changed the narcotics I was on before the surgery in order to control the pain. I was on Soma the entire time before the surgery, and went from Tramadol to Darvocet to Vicodin to Percocet to Dilaudid. Unfortunately, I found that my tolerance for all of these pain medicines were extremely high, and Soma was the only drug that helped me absorb all of these medications.

After surgery I thought I was in the clear, very optimistic and positive about everything, until about three weeks later when I plateaued, and found that I was getting no relief. It's been three months since my surgery, and one round of physical therapy and epidural shots later, I am still in the same amount of pain. It has been terrible physically and emotionally for me, especially because I am not in school this semester. I am trying to get back for the second semester in January, however, this seems unlikely as of right now.

After my surgery I was on Soma and Norco 7.5/325 for almost two months, and while I found that it was somewhat helpful, the pain relief I received lasted for less than an hour. Strangely, I had tried taking OxyIR at the same time as an alternative, and found absolutely no relief.

Three and a half weeks ago, my spinal surgeon finally sent me to a Pain Management doctor. He was very understanding when it came to my situation, but did not like that I was on Soma because it metabolizes into Miltown. I was willing to try anything he would prescribe for me, and he gave me 50mg of Lyrica three times a day, 4mg of Zanaflex three times a day, and 8mg of Dilaudid four times a day.

I have found absolutely no relief from any of these medications. I am stunned that I found more relief, while minimal, from hydrocodone then I did from the dose of Dilaudid I was taking. I don't know why my body does not respond to these medications, but I need a change fast. I even started taking one and a half of my Dilaudids at one time, and still, no success.

I saw my surgeon for a checkup yesterday, and he agreed that if the Soma worked for me, there was no reason I should not be on it. He too cannot understand why my body reacts to medicines so strangely, but he is sympathetic and wants me to find maximum relief from whatever I take. He determined that the scar tissue was aggravating my nerve pain, but he doubts that that is my primary problem now, because I had another epidural shot about a week ago with no relief. He told me that I either was just healing very slowly from surgery, or more likely had internal nerve damage, or worst case, permanent nerve damage.

Bottom line: I am going to get new prescriptions from my pain management doctor on Monday, and I REALLY need to find a regiment that works for me. My next step is obviously long acting narcotics, but I don't know which ones will work best for me. I know that my body does not react to oxycodone well, however, I don't know if that would change in higher doses. I've read a lot about methadone, and I'm thinking that might be my best option. Do I raise my Lyrica dosage? Do I start taking valium as a muscle relaxant to help me sleep? If anyone has had any experience with a patient who is so intolerant to many, many narcotics, I would greatly appreciate any feedback or advice. Again, I'm only 19 and this whole ordeal, although not yet a year long, has taken a huge physical and emotional toll on me, and I am just looking for a way to control my pain right now.

Thanks so much for reading my whole story, I know it's long, but I look forward to hearing back from anyone who can help.
Zach! we are definitely kindred.

I had a 360 fusion a little more than 2 months ago. I know my surgery is very different but I have the exact same problem with pain medications. My body has always metabolized medications quickly. . like an all day medication will only last half the time.

I've told my surgeon this fact and he basically told me (without telling me) that I am full of it. In the hospital I was on a dilaudid drip with did not manage my pain, then I was on percocet (oxycodone) at a mediumish dosage and now I am on vicodin 7.5/750 i think. I usually take two vicodin and two ultram (tramodol) and sometimes the pain is controlled for 30 min to an hour. I've put in 2 calls to my surgeon and am waiting to hear back. don't think he will help me since he either doesn't believe in pain or thinks his work is so good that his patients wont have pain. On top of it all I've recently developed major muscle spasms that are getting progressively worse and involving larger muscle groups. I'm most likely going to have to see a pain management doctor.

Sorry I can't offer you some advice. However, I am interested in the name of your pain doc and where he or she is located? we live in the same area (west la) and my surgeon is at cedars. Your tolerance to pain medications is definitely worse than mine, I think. .either that or your doctor is more willing to give you medications (I'm jealous). Keep me updated if you find anything that helps you. I hope you feel better soon.

-Kate
Thanks so much guys, I love coming here in the morning and finding kind words from people who are in my kind of situation.

KT, I'm really sorry about your fusion; that's such a heavy duty surgery and I feel for you. I cannot fathom that you are ONLY on vicodin and ULTRAM for the kind of pain you're in. Especially if you're like me in the way we metabolize medications, you need something long active, and in turn much more effective. I hope for you that you can work that out while you're still in so much pain. I didn't meant to be misleading, I DO go to USC, but I am on a leave of absence from school because of my whole situation, and I live in New York. So I'm sorry I can't make any productive recommendations for you. But, I am trying to get back to LA next month, although it is unlikely. Either way, I need to find a consistent pain management office out there that will continue me on whatever regiment I find works best for me here. So, I will definitely keep you updated on my findings, and thanks for your concern.

Hah, I too am very hesitant about methadone. I've read a lot of good things, but I've also read a lot of negative feedback. I think in these situations it really just depends on the person because everyone reacts so differently. Yesterday I felt like meth would be a good thing, and today I'm more inclined to try something like Kadian or Oxycontin first. But I just have to wait to see what the doctor says.

If I've been on 8mg of dilaudid 4x a day for about a month, and it hasn't been effective, what dose of oxycontin would be appropriate to start out on? When I was taking percs they were just 5/325, and I think i was taking eight a day, but after about a week they just stopped working altogether. What would a good dose be, and do I recommend that to my doctor? I'm just afraid that he's going to start me off on a dose that's too low, and I'm going to be stuck with that for another whole month.
HEY!

Oh my god, I'm so excited and scared to read your post. I too am 19 and had to take a medical leave this semester because of chronic back - or butt - pain. We are not sure if it is my spine or muscles pressing on my sciatic nerve because I have seen two orthopedists, one spine surgeon, my pediatrician, and two physical therapists, and every single one gives a different diagnosis and a referral. It has gotten better since I came home and was relieved of the anxiety of school and started cymbalta - so it sounds like your experience is way more intense than mine, although i have scrips for vicodin and lidoderm patches those are less intense than yours and i can now sit and walk which i couldn't before - but seriously, how are you emotionally handling this? I want to be out there doing **** and love life and at the same time I totally doubt my sanity. Have you heard of John Sarno? I don't have the guts to read his **** but i am wondering if i am making this **** up for some ****ed up psychological reason. I hope I am not co-opting your thread or should start my own or something. But we're so ****ing young! The other reason your post spoke to me is that the L5-S1 area is the SLIGHTLY messed up area of my back - hyperextended the vertebrae last year rowing, developed nerve root cysts that they say are NOT the cause of the pain, slightly bulging disc now - aaaauuughh, what the **** is going on in our bodies! I feel like there is a monster inside of me! Grabbing my butt! I don't want to **** you up, clearly you're seeking real medical advice. But do you all on this forum experience this profound doubt about the very real internal experience of pain?
I just thought I'd update anyone that cares about my situation. . and Zach, maybe it can be of help when you come back to los angeles.

Saw a pain management doctor today in Santa Monica. He is a pure gift from God. He understands my fear of him calling my surgeon, says its no problem and he'll get my records without him knowing. He gave me a set of 6 lidocane shots into my back to help with the spasms. .it hurt like hell and I'm not sure if they helped. However, he has put me on Kadian which is a time released morphine sulfate. He was shocked no one has suggested a long term pain med instead of suffering through the peaks and valleys of short acting. Also, he's keeping me with vicodin for break through pain. I havn't taken the morphine yet, I wanted to wait until the evening in case I pass out or vomit.

I don't remember if you've tried morphine zach, or if it will even help me. .but so far I REALLY suggest my doctor.

I hope everyone is feeling okay. Merry Christmas etc. :)

-KT