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Severe Chronic Back pain.
  1. #1
    stonewall20 is offline New Member
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    Default Severe Chronic Back pain.

    Hey guys.

    Just looking to find some help on some severe chronic back pain. I'm currently an liscensed EMT, and a Volunteer firefighter, and currently attendting Paremendic training so I'm well versed in the emergency medicine side of pain killers. But anyways,

    I'm 20 years old. When I was 15 I was involved in a severe MVA in which I was a passenger in the middle of an S10, without any seatbelts in the middle I might add, that was T-boned at a high rate of speed. I suffered severe injuries to my lower back, pelvis, and skull, and was bed-ridden for upwards of 4 months.

    Ever since that wreck 5 years ago, the pain in my back has gotten increasingly worse. It started as a dull nagging pain, that occasionally shot down my right leg. To a severe chronic pain that radiates upward, downward, and down my right leg. When I first wake up in the morning I can hardly place my right foot on the floor because it just knots up in pain, and my back is just locked and it hurts to even bend side to side, I don't even want to try to bend over. And during the day, if I am in any one position for any extended period of time, be it sitting, standing, or what have you, the pain gets so unbearable, a few times I've actually had to just lay down, and try to hold the tears back.

    From the time I left physical rehab when I was 16, to the time I turned 18, I never really had a real problem with it. When I felt the pain, I just tried to sit down untill it passed. But the past 2 years the pain has gotten uncontrollable. When I first mentioned it to my doctors they put me on everything under the sun aside from opiate pain killers to try and relieve my pain, which also included muscle and nerve relaxers. I guess they just looked at me as some kid that wanted pain killers to get a buzz. (Which just as a side note, after the pain I've suffered over people abusing perscription pain killers which makes them harder for people to get that REALLY need them, I despise you).

    Anyways, Just a small list of some of the pills they've had me on which comes to my head is Neurontin, Mobic, Tramadol, Tegradol, Lidocain patches, Valium, Toradol, Darveset, and many others. Untill finally at the urging of my mother who is a former RN, they finally tried me out on Hydrocodone 7.5/500s.

    The doctors opted for surgery where they would attempt to fix it, but my father had this procedure done where they removed 3 of his vertebrea, and he is still to this day on pain meds and hardly able to walk. Now as I said before I'm only 20 years old, and any surgery that close to my spine just scares me, and the way my luck goes the surgeon will sneeze and cut my spine in half. I mean is there anything else out there other than going under the knife?

    The doctors seem to think its an injury do to the MVA, that was never diagnosed and treated, and has healed wrong, and is continously aggrivated due to my line of work in Fire/EMS. Which also includes my siatic nerve. And in this line of work, I am subjected to heavy lifting, and lifting in awkward positions, and many more things which aggrivates my injury. Now as for the volunteer firefighting, I've put most of that on a temporary standstill untill I find something to do about my back. But as for my work as an EMT, I have to put food on the table, and I have to have a roof to live under so I can't really do much about that.

    Now back to the pain med side of things. My doctor has prescribed me 49 tablets per month, and the prescribed dose is 3-4 a day, and the meds MUST last 30 days. Now you guys do the math. If I take 4 of these pills a day, the prescription will last me 12-13 days. The only blessing I've had is my parents are both disabled, and my dad has been prescribed the same dosage of Hydro as me for years, and knows the pain I am suffering and slips me "under the table" so to speak a few extra pills to get me through. And on days I'm really in pain my mother will give me one of her Endocets, which seem to last me a few extra hours more than my Hydrocodones do. Now as I was saying, I took the recommended doseage the first time around, and when I ran out I called my doctor, and he basically told me, Sorry for your luck. So all I had to rely on was hot baths, heating pads, Lidocane patches, and my dads meds. Now when my 2nd prescription came around, I tried to limit myself to 2 a day, but as I said this pain is just so unbearable sometimes I have to take more than 2. But I continue to try to make them last, and just do what I can to bear the pain. I also have my girlfriend massage my back daily, and attempt to pop it. And whenever she pushes just where my thoracic and lumbar meet, a pain shoots down my leg and to the tip of my penis. And when that happened it really scared me. And I just told her to stop.

    I mean I'm 20 years old. I don't like living my life with the endurance, mobility, and vitality of a 60 year old. And I also don't like the fact I'm ruining my liver with all these pain meds. But I just don't know what else to do. I mean I -really- don't want to go under the knife unless its my LAST option.

    Just FYI, my pill list includes.

    High BP Medicine, once daily.
    Lidocane patches, 12 hours on, 12 off
    Diuretic, once daily.
    Mobic, twice daily
    Neurontin, 3 times daily
    Hydrocodone 7.5/500 (Prescribed is 3-4 times daily, but as I said I have to stretch them to make them last)
    Anti-Depression/Anxiet/panic attacks 1 time daily.


    Now my question to you all is, Is there ANYTHING I can say to my doctor to get him to up the count on my meds without sounding like some kind of pill popping drug addict? I'm just so scared to tell them, I need more for the simple fact they'll cut me off totally. And is there any other medicines, or anything else for that matter anyone else with severe chronic back pain has tried with sucess in relieving the pain?

  2. #2
    staffoftheflag is offline New Member
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    I'm sorry to hear you're having such problems controlling your pain!

    I understand what you are going through: I'm 25, started with sciatic problems at age 13, was diagnosed with a hereditary lack of lordotic curve at 18 after an MVA (the first time doc's took my pain seriously), suffered my first ruptured disc at 21, and have had four surgeries since, most recently to fuse L4-S1. I have been on the same rigamorale of drugs at one point or another, plus Opana, Fentanyl, Lortab, Lyrica, Zanaflex, Flexeril, Skelaxin, Cymbalta, and a few others I've forgotten. And I'm still in so much pain I'm on social security disability at home.

    It is not easy to get doctor's to understand your pain, especially when you're young. They seem to think you'll rebound any day. So the trick to getting better care is to make sure they have "medical evidence" of your pain:

    1. When was your last MRI and/or CT scan of your lumbar region? What did the radiology report say? This analyzes the structures in the spine.
    2. Have you had a Nerve Conduction Study (NCS) or Electromyography (EMG)? These two tests are generally conducted at one time; they find errors in relaying nerve messages, eg. pinched nerve or other nerve damage.
    3. Has your doctor conducted any bloodwork? C-Reactive Protein (CRP) and Erythrocitic Sedimentation Rate (ESR or SedRate) measure inflammation. Also, HLA-B27 is a genetic marker for certain autoimmune disorders that affect the spine, ie. rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and anklosing spondylitis (AS).
    4. Are you currently in PT? The reports from the therapist confirm to the doctor your loss of mobility, muscle spasms, etc.
    5. Keep a journal of the dates/times when you need to take Vicodin. Note any activities that irritated the sciatica and what non-chemical methods you tried to calm down the pain before giving in and taking meds. This may help your doctor note patterns, and if nothing else, shows that you are being responsible with your pain meds and simply need more than 50/mo.

    Also, ask for a referral to see a pain management specialist and forget about your GP/PCP for this. Generally, this is a doctor with a background in neurology, neurosurgery, or orthopaedics who also completed a fellowship after their residency specifically in acute or chronic pain management. They are much better at gauging your pain level even after just a 15-min evaluation, and then they can give you meds that will make a difference. For example, if Endocet (oxycodone apap 10/325mg) is doing better than Vicadin (hydrocodone apap 7.5/500mg), maybe you should try Percocet (oxycodone apap 5/325mg). I know hydro-anything does not make a dent in my system, so no Lortab or Opana. But oxy- formulations do great, so I use Percocet and Fentanyl.

    Now, if your MRI/CT show that you have a rupture, your only choice is to have surgery. The 'goop' in the nucleus of the disc is caustic to the lining on the nerve, so living with a ruptured disc will result in the radiating pain you currently express, as well as disability over time similar to MS. Luckily, that surgery is minimally invasive (one 3/4" incision), and just sucks out the goop, stitches the disc back together, and pushes the fixed disc back into place. Both times I had this microdiscectomy, I woke up with NO PAIN down my legs and just soreness in my back. I walked out of the hospital TWO HOURS AFTER SURGERY!!! My surgeon was previously head of neurosurgery at Duke University Medical Center before entering private practice.

    Just don't let them convince you to have a fusion. I was in so much pain I literally could not get myself out of bed even with pain meds. So it was the only hope I saw. But now I know that artificial replacement discs (ARDs) is a treatment with a history of more than 30yrs, unlike in the US where it is experimental. In fact, I found a doctor in Germany who will undo my fusion and put in two Maverick ARDs. 99% of patients with this lumbar ARD have 85% or better reduction in disability due to pain. The down side is it costs more than $50,000US.

    Sorry for the long diatribe; my mental accuity is significantly lower with all these drugs...making me tend to rattle on and on, unlike before when I would have presented an outlined essay...

  3. #3
    Pykess is offline New Member
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    Default I feel your pain.

    Honestly I’m sitting here in mondo pain myself which is why I ran across this post of yours. My search “I'm taking vicodin for my back but my pain is still unbearable”. I’m 23 and I’m so doped up I’m having a hard time thinking through this. My back story is embarrassing compared to yours. I was headed to one of my classes on a rainy day, slipped and fell down the stairs. I had massive bruising on my legs and buttocks. I told my doctor about the pain and she thought it was due to massive internal bruising and that I had a pool of blood just hanging out in my leg. Gave me Darveset sent me home and said come back in a few months. Darveset did nothing for me but luckily I had some leftover pain meds from an inner ear canal infection which helped me get through the worst part of the day.

    I went back a few months later but at this point I couldn’t even walk around. The pain runs from my foot all the way up my left leg to my lower back. She gave Flexeril which I am supposed take while I sleep and told me to take Advil for the pain during the day. Seeing as how I’m 23 she didn’t want to give me anything else. I’m a girl and I can hardly sit up long enough to go potty. My husband helps get me dressed because the only time I can stand the pain is when I lay down. I had to call her and plead with her to give something other than Advil because I felt like I was being tortured with 24/7 pain Literally I feel like an infant. I’ve been laying on this floor for three weeks now. I cant sleep in my bed because I cant get there. At least the living room has the TV, the internet and now a semi comfy bed, if I do say so myself.

    Tomorrow I am going in to get an MRI and on Thursday I am going to see the best back doctor in Idaho. I will then ask about a codeine shot for my back. My father has been in this spot were I am except he went five months bed ridden when he was 25.

    I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that this shot will help because I’m pretty sure my job is getting ready to let me go. I hate the job anyway but in this town it’s hard to find places that work around odd school schedules

  4. #4
    edbo1950 is offline New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by stonewall20 View Post
    Hey guys.

    Just looking to find some help on some severe chronic back pain. I'm currently an liscensed EMT, and a Volunteer firefighter, and currently attendting Paremendic training so I'm well versed in the emergency medicine side of pain killers. But anyways,

    I'm 20 years old. When I was 15 I was involved in a severe MVA in which I was a passenger in the middle of an S10, without any seatbelts in the middle I might add, that was T-boned at a high rate of speed. I suffered severe injuries to my lower back, pelvis, and skull, and was bed-ridden for upwards of 4 months.

    Ever since that wreck 5 years ago, the pain in my back has gotten increasingly worse. It started as a dull nagging pain, that occasionally shot down my right leg. To a severe chronic pain that radiates upward, downward, and down my right leg. When I first wake up in the morning I can hardly place my right foot on the floor because it just knots up in pain, and my back is just locked and it hurts to even bend side to side, I don't even want to try to bend over. And during the day, if I am in any one position for any extended period of time, be it sitting, standing, or what have you, the pain gets so unbearable, a few times I've actually had to just lay down, and try to hold the tears back.

    From the time I left physical rehab when I was 16, to the time I turned 18, I never really had a real problem with it. When I felt the pain, I just tried to sit down untill it passed. But the past 2 years the pain has gotten uncontrollable. When I first mentioned it to my doctors they put me on everything under the sun aside from opiate pain killers to try and relieve my pain, which also included muscle and nerve relaxers. I guess they just looked at me as some kid that wanted pain killers to get a buzz. (Which just as a side note, after the pain I've suffered over people abusing perscription pain killers which makes them harder for people to get that REALLY need them, I despise you).

    Anyways, Just a small list of some of the pills they've had me on which comes to my head is Neurontin, Mobic, Tramadol, Tegradol, Lidocain patches, Valium, Toradol, Darveset, and many others. Untill finally at the urging of my mother who is a former RN, they finally tried me out on Hydrocodone 7.5/500s.

    The doctors opted for surgery where they would attempt to fix it, but my father had this procedure done where they removed 3 of his vertebrea, and he is still to this day on pain meds and hardly able to walk. Now as I said before I'm only 20 years old, and any surgery that close to my spine just scares me, and the way my luck goes the surgeon will sneeze and cut my spine in half. I mean is there anything else out there other than going under the knife?

    The doctors seem to think its an injury do to the MVA, that was never diagnosed and treated, and has healed wrong, and is continously aggrivated due to my line of work in Fire/EMS. Which also includes my siatic nerve. And in this line of work, I am subjected to heavy lifting, and lifting in awkward positions, and many more things which aggrivates my injury. Now as for the volunteer firefighting, I've put most of that on a temporary standstill untill I find something to do about my back. But as for my work as an EMT, I have to put food on the table, and I have to have a roof to live under so I can't really do much about that.

    Now back to the pain med side of things. My doctor has prescribed me 49 tablets per month, and the prescribed dose is 3-4 a day, and the meds MUST last 30 days. Now you guys do the math. If I take 4 of these pills a day, the prescription will last me 12-13 days. The only blessing I've had is my parents are both disabled, and my dad has been prescribed the same dosage of Hydro as me for years, and knows the pain I am suffering and slips me "under the table" so to speak a few extra pills to get me through. And on days I'm really in pain my mother will give me one of her Endocets, which seem to last me a few extra hours more than my Hydrocodones do. Now as I was saying, I took the recommended doseage the first time around, and when I ran out I called my doctor, and he basically told me, Sorry for your luck. So all I had to rely on was hot baths, heating pads, Lidocane patches, and my dads meds. Now when my 2nd prescription came around, I tried to limit myself to 2 a day, but as I said this pain is just so unbearable sometimes I have to take more than 2. But I continue to try to make them last, and just do what I can to bear the pain. I also have my girlfriend massage my back daily, and attempt to pop it. And whenever she pushes just where my thoracic and lumbar meet, a pain shoots down my leg and to the tip of my penis. And when that happened it really scared me. And I just told her to stop.

    I mean I'm 20 years old. I don't like living my life with the endurance, mobility, and vitality of a 60 year old. And I also don't like the fact I'm ruining my liver with all these pain meds. But I just don't know what else to do. I mean I -really- don't want to go under the knife unless its my LAST option.

    Just FYI, my pill list includes.

    High BP Medicine, once daily.
    Lidocane patches, 12 hours on, 12 off
    Diuretic, once daily.
    Mobic, twice daily
    Neurontin, 3 times daily
    Hydrocodone 7.5/500 (Prescribed is 3-4 times daily, but as I said I have to stretch them to make them last)
    Anti-Depression/Anxiet/panic attacks 1 time daily.


    Now my question to you all is, Is there ANYTHING I can say to my doctor to get him to up the count on my meds without sounding like some kind of pill popping drug addict? I'm just so scared to tell them, I need more for the simple fact they'll cut me off totally. And is there any other medicines, or anything else for that matter anyone else with severe chronic back pain has tried with sucess in relieving the pain?
    can you get your dr to refer you to a pain management specialist I bet if he read the note you just posted here he would get you the help you need be careful with your job drug tests might keep you from driving in my case I would not take anything stronger than darvon because I was afraid I might have an accident a flunk a drug test I just drank away my pain now that I have proper meds my urge to drink has passed or maybe I just grew out of it as I am 58 yrs old I really hope you get the help you need if undermedicated pain makes us to stupid things

  5. #5
    BetterOffDead is offline New Member
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    I can totally sympathize with you! I don't think anything is as frustrating or demoralizing as chronic back. It is so hard to live a life. I went down a similar path, starting on 7.5 lortabs and eventually building up to 100mcg fentanyl patches every two days.

    My turning point came after reading a couple of books, the first being Jealomg Back Pain, by Dr John Sarnos as well as talking to a spinal specialist. The result of the two was coming to a realization that regardless of the underlying physical causes, the chronic pains aspects (as opposed to the acute pain) were being caused by emotional factors and deconditioning.

    Since putting the book's teachings into my life, I've gotten off of all narcotics (after 2.5 years of the fentanyl, methadone, and suboxone) and experience only short periods of pain. The biggest challenge was believing emotions could cause pain.

    Good luck.

  6. #6
    Pykess is offline New Member
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    I went to see my doctor today and turns out I have to have spinal surgery which is on Wednesday. Turns out the pain in my leg is caused by a ruptured disk

  7. #7
    Oldieman is offline New Member
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    Default Today the choice is yours. Tomorrow?

    Based on your post, you have but two options: Have back surgery, and maybe continue to have back pain. OR become addicted to painkillers and risk losing it all! I'm 68 years of age now and have experienced both the above. After living with severe low back pain for 20+ years, a highly respected local neuro surgeon corrected the problem 28 years ago and my lower back has been pain-free ever since.
    Six years ago I twisted my ankle, told my primary care doctor I needed something to alleviate the pain, and was prescribed a rather high dosage of vicodin (two, 750mg tabs every 4 to 6 hours). Plus each prescription contained 240 tablets. That Rx told the pharmacist I was entitled to a refill every 20 days, with doctor's approval. Having a very liberal doctor, I got my refill every 20 days... for 4 1/2 years! Yes, for a twisted ankle.
    A year-and-a-half ago, I needed something stronger, since my back "is now hurting". At least that's the lie I told my doctor. I was given an Rx of Norco, two tabs every 4 hours, with a total of 270 tablets per Rx. My doctor approved a refill every 23 days. PLUS, Doc didn't terminate my Vicodin Rx! By prescription, I was entitled to, and taking, a combined total of 24 Vicodin and Norco per day.
    Needless to say, I became very addicted. Because of my addiction, I was forced to retire two years earlier than planned, lost my house, my wife of 42 years divorced me, and almost died from pneumonia - which was caused by my addiction.
    The bottom line: Have back surgery done, and just possibly continue having pain. Or, get hooked on painkillers, and lose it all tomorrow. I've now been "clean" for 19 days, and am happier than I've been in many years. I hope you make the right choice.

  8. #8
    pray1129 is offline New Member
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    Stonewall, first of all, "I feel your pain." I have sciatica and suffer debilitating pain down my left leg. I even have a place on my outer calf that feels like a rug burn but looks fine...strange. I went to a pain management facility that was very reluctant to prescribe pain meds. It took a note from my general doctor saying she would not prescribe pain meds while under pain management care. I also had to bring in all my meds and a written chart/diary of what and when I took the meds. It seemed quite inconvenient, but it is actually helpful to me to have the info also. After providing the above, I was given a script for 120 percocet. I am a 57 year old female and I am opting for surgery. I have not been able to work since May 1 and I am reduced to tears at least once a day from the pain. I also take Lyrica and Naproxen. Also went through Caudal steroid injections (ouch) through the tail bone into the nerve...no help at all. You are very young and most likely healthy otherwise. You could probably recover from surgery quite well. Keep looking for a surgeon you trust and consider it.

  9. #9
    bob5958 is offline New Member
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    First of all, you're an EMT, you're NOT well versed in pain meds. For that matter, neither is your Mother an expert. Both my Mother and my wife are R.N.'s and they will be the first to admit that there is a lot more to treating pain than even the best R.N. knows. Also, if you knew anything about pain meds, you wouldn't be taking someone elses prescription drugs. It's a Federal Offense for your Mother to give them to you and for you to take them. Your Mother is in great risk of losing her license if caught.
    Get yourself to a good M.D., get a referal to a neurologist or a pain doc to find out what's going on. I also suspect you have "lawsuit or disability" motives.

  10. #10
    phoenixfly is offline Member
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    Default And I suspect...

    Quote Originally Posted by bob5958 View Post
    First of all, you're an EMT, you're NOT well versed in pain meds. For that matter, neither is your Mother an expert. Both my Mother and my wife are R.N.'s and they will be the first to admit that there is a lot more to treating pain than even the best R.N. knows. Also, if you knew anything about pain meds, you wouldn't be taking someone elses prescription drugs. It's a Federal Offense for your Mother to give them to you and for you to take them. Your Mother is in great risk of losing her license if caught.
    Get yourself to a good M.D., get a referal to a neurologist or a pain doc to find out what's going on. I also suspect you have "lawsuit or disability" motives.
    That although this thread is quite old, you may still read this. And I hope you do. I suspect that you're a self-righteous a&* who is more than willing to judge others in desperate situations. Why don't you just keep your cruel opinions to yourself? And nice job - the original poster didn't come back for help after being faced with the same kind of suspicion that was preventing him from getting adequate care. Your license as a human being should be yanked.. And what makes YOU so well-verses in anything to pass these judgements? Ugh. I just hope you don't have kids.
    Last edited by ddcmod; 11-19-2012 at 01:13 PM.

  11. #11
    Robert_325 is offline Retired
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    Hey girl! Hadn't seen you around in a while. Hope all is well and that is what I seem to see on our other means of communication. Just wanted to say HI, stick around, and glad to see you have progressed so far since you first got here a long time ago. Have a blessed holiday weekend. God bless..
    Last edited by ddcmod; 11-19-2012 at 01:13 PM.
    I am not a dr. My statements are based on years of experience and related education. Consult with the professional of your choice regarding matters of concern.

  12. #12
    bob5958 is offline New Member
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    Default You're mistaken

    First, I am a chronic pain patient having had five spinal fusions. I know how many people in real pain suffer daily because doctors are afraid to prescribe narcotics for fear of losing their license because of dishonest patients.
    I also realize that pain is a disease and like any disease, it takes trust and honesty between the patient and the physican. As bad as I feel for anyone in real pain, sneaking extra pills, not wanting to pursue treatment that just might help and finally, caring for people as an EMT while on borrowed drugs,are all big red lights that this man has serious problems beyond his pain.
    Would you want someone who is self medicating showing up at your home to try to save your life? His lack of judgement strongly suggests that he has addiction problems. And, just for the record, you mention that you hope I don't have kids. I do, three adult children and if one of mine had his problem, I'd get them real help, not "slip" narcotics to them and deepen his addiction.
    Last edited by ddcmod; 11-19-2012 at 01:13 PM.

  13. #13
    bob5958 is offline New Member
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    Default You're mistaken

    First, I am a chronic pain patient having had five spinal fusions. I know how many people in real pain suffer daily because doctors are afraid to prescribe narcotics for fear of losing their license because of dishonest patients.
    I also realize that pain is a disease and like treating any disease, it takes trust and honesty between the patient and the physican for the best results. Does he strike you as an honest person?
    As bad as I feel for anyone in real pain, sneaking extra pills, not wanting to pursue treatment that just might help and finally, caring for people as an EMT while using borrowed narcotics, are all big red lights that this man has serious problems beyond his pain. His risky and dishonest behavior also makes it much more difficult for others to get the help they really need.
    Would you want someone who is self medicating showing up at your home to try to save your life? His lack of judgement strongly suggests that he has addiction problems. And, just for the record, you mention that you hope I don't have kids. I do, three adult children and if one of mine had his problem, I'd get them real help, not "slip" narcotics to them...
    Last edited by ddcmod; 11-19-2012 at 01:13 PM.

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