Discussions that mention vicodin

Pain Management board


Many of you already know my story as I have been asking tons of questions lately. In a nut shell, I have a bad back (nerve damage) and have been on/off vicodin for almost 4 years now. I have months where I have been off it. However, for the past 2 or 3 months my pain has been strong enough that I am taking about 2 or 3 vicodin per day. I am soooo fearful of addiction and even dependence that I fight the pain until I must take one. I even tried Tramadol this week as I was told it was non-addictive. I have done tons of research and found that not to be true.

Ok, here is my question. When do you know if you are ready for LA pain pills. As i said, I have been taking the vicodin every day for the past couple months. I stopped them completely when I took the Tramadol for the past three days and felt no ill effect at all. Maybe because I had the tramadol in me? There are quite a few mornings where I will be able to get through without a pain pill. Yes I have the pain, but it is at a level 3 or so. Those mornings I just feel horrilbe. Like right now I feel somewhat weakish. I feel like I just cannot expand my lungs fully. I have no problem breathing, it just feels a bit different. I feel myself being very short with my children. I feel weak like if I hadn't eaten yet, but I did have a full breakfast.

Anyone have any thoughts on this. I am just so darn tired of trying to fight these pain pills and all the worry of creating a dependence. Now I am tired of feeling like yuck. Is this usually when people cross over to LA pills so they don't get these yucky feelings?

Also: I've even thought about taking the vicodin one week, and spending then next week is sheer total pain, just to not build a tolerance. This is how crazy I am and how fearful I am of dependece (yes, I know the difference btw dependence and addiction. I have addiction in my family (not me) and this is my fear. I am also waiting for my dr. to call back with a name of a psychologist to talk to. thanks again!
Thanks,
10sox
[QUOTE=10sox;3726770]There are quite a few mornings where I will be able to get through without a pain pill. Yes I have the pain, but it is at a level 3 or so. Those mornings I just feel horrilbe.
Hi sox,

Please don't take this the wrong way, but the majority of us would literally kill to be at a level 3, pain wise. If you are able to get by with just a few vicodin a day, then sometimes none at all for weeks or months at a time, then I really do not think you need LA meds. All you can do is talk with your doc. Most docs will probably say the same thing. I know mine would. Even with all of my meds (LA & SA), my pain is never below a 5-6, and it never will be.

Try to avoid going on LA meds for as long as you can. There is so much more involved when you cross over. If I were able to get by with the amount you are on and the time frames, I would not change a thing, but, that's just me. If you really are wanting to look into LA meds, then you need to talk with your doc, ok? Just remember to, being dependent on LA meds is very different than dependency on SA meds. Take care and bye for now.

Shay :angel:
Shay,

Thank you so much for your response. I have read so many posts about many being in much more pain than I am in, and I am thankful that my pain can be managed to a point.

When I say I was off pain meds for a few months, that was because of either an epidural steroid that helped ease my pain, or from the two surgeries I had to relieve pressure of a herniated disc. Now I am left with nerve damage.

I realized today when I was driving home with my 3 yr old son, that I just don't have the energy anymore to fight taking the pain pills. Today was a very bad pain day. I took my vicodin and it barely took the edge off the pain. I am not very good at rating my pain. When I said a 3, it was probably more like a 5. The weird thing is, I have just gotten so used to the pain being there that I really don't know if I can actually rate it correctly? For instance, when I concentrate for a moment on my left leg (the good leg) and realize how it is to feel no pain, I just cannot believe how different it is from my bad leg.

Do you know what a good pain scale is to follow? It is hard for me to rate my pain because my pain feels like a constant deep ache in the bones of my leg and buttock. It is not like when I was in labor and had sharp gut wrenching pains. This pain is with me all day and the ache gets deeper and deeper. If I knew I only had this ache short-term, I could probably get by without the pain pills (I tend to tough things out: went to 9cm before an epidural ;) ) But after having this deep ache pain, all day long, day after day, and knowing it is not going away...I just feel like I am going to go crazy some days. So, even though my pain might not be more by 3pm, I am just so worn down from it that it feels a lot more than what it felt like at 12pm?? Does this make any sense? And then there are many days where the ache does get deeper and more painful as the day goes on.

Anyway, I guess I will not ask about the LA and continue just taking more (my prescribed amount) of my SA vicodins. I just hate that feeling I get in the morning if I don't take one right away.

Thanks again!
Dear 10sox,

Because we all have different opinions on this board you and your doctor are the only ones who can arrive at the best decision for you.

[however] (opinion of course), there are probably many "criteria" for going to LA medications. And, I'm sure I won't even come close to touching them all! Nonetheless, if your pain is severe around-the-clock--it just seems that this pain should be addressed all the time with a long-acting medication. To me, it doesn't make sense to constantly be awakened by your pain and, of course, to take your pill.

These long-acting medications are [liberating] !! You become freeby not looking at your watch all the time to see when you can take your next dose.

There's pain control and controlling. Pain control is where [you] are in charge. Controlling pain is when your pain problems dictate your every move.

For me, my severe pain--due to Lupus--is not hidden very well. People knew that something was wrong. But, once I began therapy with Long-Acting (LA) medications--my pain was being addressed for lengthy periods of time. Yes...I still have short-acting medications (often referred to as "break-through" [BT] medications) that help me when my LA meds aren't quite covering the problem. This is true for most of us here. We all have various manners in which we handle our overall pain.

As Shay (friendly_one) expressed, most of us would perform cartwheels (in spite of the fact that doing so would land us in the hospital) if our pain levels ran around a "3" with the aid of a few Vicodin per day!!!

Now, the dependency (I'm not talking about addiction) on these medications is something that occurs with repeated (and reasonably long-term) use of these medication. The body does become dependent on these medications, and that does not make you "bad" or "immoral"! It's just part of the side-effects when using opiates. As Shay said, the dependency issue is significantly different between SA and LA opiate medications! I'm not the one to explain it...
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LA medications are used when the pain is long-term in nature. Furthermore, the pain that these LA meds address is the kind of pain that affects your daily life in such a profound manner that you cannot function with SA medications any longer! In fact, SA meds alone don't touch this kind of pain very long--if at all.

This post has certainly not covered it all, but I hope it assists you in some manner. Feel free to ask additional questions. Be aware that you've entered a particularly helpful community here, and we will all do our best to help you.

Sincerely,
Jon (Conductor)
10sox,

I do think it is a very good idea that you're going to see a psychologist. At this point it seems that your fear of addiction is keeping you from adequately allowing yourself to get your pain under control. Taking meds for a week then skipping them for a week, is not adequate pain control. You also speak of feeling worn out and tired all the time...if your pain is not under control you most definitely will have these feelings as being in constant pain can cause havic with many systems in your body. Another question would be are you seeing a pain management doc or just a primary care doc? To go from the few Vicodin a day that you take to LA meds is a big jump and I think you'll have difficulties getting a doc to make that jump without trying the other steps that normally come between. But that's just my opinion. Also with your fear of addiction you must realize that LA meds are way stronger than SA meds and the chance for dependance/addiction can be higher. As for what pain scale is better to use to gauge your pain level, all docs use the typical 1-10 scale, you just have to realisticaly rate your pain.

Once again, I wish you luck with all of this.