I am 30yrs old and was diagnosed with "moderate" scoliosis and mild degenerative disc disease in my early 20's. I am a very active person living on a farm and having a 4yr old but I am CONSTANTLY in pain. I've been to an orthopedic doc who told me I just basically had to live with the pain, I've been through physical therapy, etc. I'm not trying to sound like I am out for pain pills but my family doctor has me on Lortab 10/500s (30/month). They help don't get me wrong but is 30 pills a normal amount to give someone with the issues I have?
Well, yes & no. Because you are fairly young (in the big picture) and the diagnosis are "moderate & mild," your Doc may be doing you a favor.
I know you say you're active, but are you overweight? Do you have the right mattress and pillow? Have you tried finding a Yoga teacher who knows what they're doing? There are some stretches and postures that would really help you, and a whole bunch of things to know about bending, lifting, and twisting. Especially when playing with a child that age.
The Acetaminophen may be helping you more than the Hydrocodone, and again, I don't think he/she is doing you a disservice by keeping the meds at such a relatively mild amount. It's the "live with the pain" remark (if that is indeed a direct quote) that is moronic and destructive.
Again, you are young enough and still early in the game with your pathology to where you could seek out some help to learn how to help your body heal itself by learning how to move and how NOT to move. Then you won't need more (or stronger) meds, cuz once you get started down that road you're in for a ride to a place that is best left alone. They won't give you more of these because of the Acetaminophen's potential to damage your liver and at 30 years of age I'd encourage you away from pain med options.
Hope this helps.
Hello and welcome to the site! You'll find this is a wonderful group of people, who are not only warm and caring, but full of knowledge and encouragement also. One of the best advantages of a site like this is finding out that you're not alone in your pain. There is always someone around to answer questions, lend support or simply listen when you're having a bad day and just need to vent a little.
Balbanese has given you a very good answer and advice. I too live in a small town, but have a YMCA not too terribly far away. If you're close to one, they provide a good selection of classes. One in particular that may benefit you is their water aerobics. They can help you build your core muscle strength gently, unlike traditional weight training.
A good quality mattress and pillows is especially importantly to people with back pain. A pillow isn't just a pillow. You want one that will help keep your neck and spine in alignment as much as possible. Never sleep on two pillows as this will definitely throw you out of alignment. A good alignment pillow can often be found at a mattress store, the bedding section of a good department store or even your local chiropractor office.
Again, welcome! Look through questions regarding your particular ailment, ask questions, add friends. I think you'll find a lot here that can help. :)
The statement about learning to live with pain really ticks me off. Constant pain can actually do harm to our bodies. Your doc is prescribing for you like you just had an occassional pain, not chronic pain. You would probably do better with a low dose extended release medication. The objective when treating chronic pain shifts from "oh I have pain take a pill" to lets prevent the pain to start with. It works much better with chronic pain. I make it a habit to never let a combo medication with tylenol in it, be ordered for me. Chronic use of tylenol can cause liver damage. Have you tried taking a regular dose of something like aleve? Sometimes regular antiinflammatories will help.
It's tough with the pain meds - technology is now proving that they cause a significant disruption in the central nervous system that predisposes you, and in some studies actually causes you to have more pain. At a recent pain conference the topic focused on was using the mind - ways to stimulate and change the way the brain processes pain signals. Recently a low-level form of TMS therapy (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) was approved by the FDA for use in all neurological conditions - it can be set to stimulate whatever part of the brain that is underperforming - including treating for chronic pain. The one that I am trying does a real time EEG - the computer sends a pulse via the magnets/electricity to the part of my brain that my EEG showed was underperforming - if my brain responds to that frequency of pulse, it stays there. Any neural connections that are misfiring it ignores - ones that are good it repeats over and over, cementing those in.
Then it goes on to another frequency and tries that. They've had people with significant changes from this, Neurofeedback - biofeedback but for the brain - helps too. check around with neurologists in your area - mine offers it for $40 per session. That, along with exercise and training in how to hold your body and strengthening your core muscles will hopefully hold you. The brain gets used to the opiates and you just need more and more. While your GI Tract gradually stops to function - I started on them at 37 yrs old and now at 52 my gut barely functions. I'd do everything possible to avoid the opiates if I were you - try everything - except surgery. Not many back surgeries are very successful. Best of luck to you and kudos on keeping off excess weight and keeping in shape! - ElizaJane
Just another thought for you. Since your pain appears to be pretty constant, and your family Dr seems to want to work with you, you might talk with him about using a long-acting, continuous release pain patch like butrans or fentanyl. The medication you're currently using is an immediate release med which probably is only lasting 4-6 hours tops. Since you're only prescribed it once a day, it wears off and shooting you back to being in full pain before you can take another pill. Most any medical professional will tell you that it's best to take medication before the pain reaches it's full potential. When you've reached that point, medication (narcotic or not) will not help nearly as much at relieving the pain. Wearing a long-acting pain patch can help you avoid that cycle. If you're interested in that type of relief, I would recommend having a discussion with your doctor.
Yes that is a minimal dosage. I have degenerative disc disease also and my most recent mri shows that this last year I have two new herniation s. That is for bumping my head on my cars roof when I was getting in. Degenerative means it will not get better. It will get worse. You must try to get to a pain specialist and get your pain levels to a manageable level. I shudder to think what my life would have been like if I was diagnosed in my 20's I am 53 now and on disability.
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