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at what point do you say "hey man, just gimme some pain pills"?
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safecracker posted:
Hi, I'd like some opinions from strangers please. Here's the scoop.
I'm 32 years old. I work with my hands. When i was 13 or so, i had a ganglion cyst removed from my wrist. I've since had more than a few, which i've treated by way of smashing. I've always worked physical jobs, and suffer a reasonable quantity of back pain which i treat through these foam wedges on my bed that I sleep on and some yoga poses. I also do some back stuff with weights which seems to help the back issues. The real issue is my hands. When i saw doctors as a child, they told me that i had arthritis, synovitis, tendonitis in my hands and wrists. I've lived with discomfort since. I've moved from the east coast to the desert south west (which does wonders for aches and pains). Now as i get a little older, have become self employed (which means a lot more work), my hands are growing more painful. In my right hand, the pain/ache has resulted in a loss of strength. at the end of the day, i drop a lot of stuff. My fine motor skills are beginning to noticeably deteriorate.
Now here is what i've done. I've taken naproxin sodium (which doesn't really help). I've had a glass of grape juice with ginger and turmeric daily for months - doesn't really help. My mother sent me something called osteobyflex which i can't seem to use consistently enough to see any result. I'm not very keen on the idea of a daily medication anyway. I've tried a variety of exercises for my hands. I still live with hand pain.
Now that my situation in life has changed, meaning I make a decent income, i have a wife and daughter (she's 5 weeks old at the time of posting), i've come to the conclusion that my hands hold me back. I could work harder, thus quicker, which would mean that I could spend more time at home, if my hands didn't hurt so much. I could pick up my guitar, which i haven't done in a couple of years and sincerely miss. I could do more work around the house, such as caulking the windows, which i can't do now because squeezing that caulk gun is murder.
My attitude now has changed to "oh man, just give me some pain medication so I can at least improve my quality of life".
Do you think that is reasonable? A doctor gave me some cortisone pills (for suspected carpal tunnel problems) , and when I asked him to give me something for discomfort, i got the impression that he suspected that I was a drug addict. So now a day later, having not filled the prescrition yet, I'm starting to doubt whether my attitude is reasonable.

At what point do you throw in the towel and say "dude, just give me some vicodin"?
How long of a band-aid is something like pain medication going to be?
Do you think the risk of dependence on a pain medication is worth the improved quality of life?
Does anyone have any suggestions for dealing with this hand pain? yeah, that's where I stand at this point. Thank you.
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davedsel57 responded:
Hello, and welcome.

I have been managing chronic pain for over 30 years. You can click on my user name or avatar picture to read my whole story. I have pain in my hands as well due to osteoarthritis and fibro.

What has come to my mind is that perhaps you should see a hand specialist. These are physicians trained to treat conditions of the hand like you suffer. A hand specialist could perform diagnostic testing and recommend effective treatment methods that may reduce your pain. You could also see an orthopedic specialist that specializes in hand conditions. I just think it may be best for you to see someone that deals with your specific conditions.

Don't be afraid of dependence to prescription pain drugs. There is a difference between being addicted and being dependent. Nothing wrong with relying o something daily that could provide you pain relief and increase your functionality. Those OTC glucosamine medications do take 7-10 days to become effective and you would need to take it consistently to get any benefit.

I hope I have helped in some way and pray you do find effective treatment methods to reduce your hand pain.
Blessings, -Dave
 
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annette030 responded:
Have you actually seen a doctor to have the cause of the pain in your hands diagnosed? Lately, like in the last year or so? Other than the doctor who gave you cortisone for a suspected carpal tunnel syndrome, of course. Maybe that is what you have and some cortisone and a brace for your wrist is all you need.

You talk about "smashing" ganglion cysts in your hands/wrists. That has not been done by most doctors in the last 20 years or so. Is a doctor doing it, or are you doing it yourself? How do you diagnose these ganglion cysts? Have you had xrays or MRIs or something else?

There are many permanent treatments for some kinds of pain, so you would not necessarily be looking at being on vicodin or any kind of pain meds long term.

Take care, Annette
 
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burnt90 responded:
i hear you. I burned half of my lower leg off twenty years ago, take ibuprofen like crazy, and every time i go to the doc i get treated the same way when i tell them "hydrocodone works for me". worse yet, they make me feel like i am a drug addict, when all i want is a normal life. to hell with them
 
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_swank_ replied to burnt90's response:
Your problem is that you are telling your doctor "hydrocodone works for me". That is a red flag for most doctors. If you want to be taken seriously then tell them that ibuprofen no longer works. Let them decide what to do from there.
 
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bobaloohey responded:
Safecracker, I have had a form of arthritis for 40 years, I am now 58. May I suggest first to find a good rheumatologist you trust and one that understands your situation. With the advances in arthritic pain remedies I'm sure they can help without being judgemental. Had the medications available today where around 40 years ago I may have had a better chance of heading off some of the deforming in my spinal area. I'm certain you don't have what I do but a good doctor will help in all areas of arthritis. Good Luck
 
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MFish148 responded:
Hi, After several collarbone, rib, sternum and shoulder surgeries, every possible form of Physical therapy, injections, pain patches, etc, I finally agreed to take the pain medications that had been recommended for me. This was an extremely difficult decision for me . That was about 8 months ago now and I wish I had done it sooner.

I can do much more at home and at work. It is a relief to not constantly be in pain.Most of the time, I am sleeping better. I am able to make more progress with physical therapy now, too. It is clear that I will have permanent limitations and the medications have helped me get more of my life back after a car accident, several surgeries, osteomyelitis, etc. It sounds like you have the type of clear cut underlying problem that the pain clinics are designed to work with and help with.

My suggestion is to find a Pain Clinic-most major hospitals have them.
I now have a really great anesthesiologist who manages my medications.It took a few months to find the smallest combination of medications that would work for me and also allow me to be focused enough to do my job but what a difference in my life now that that has happened. He has also been able to do some injections that have helped and now some of the other things like lidocaine patches are working better for me. I was able to do things like stain my deck this summer and go kayaking again with my friends which was inconceivable before and working full time is going much better, too.

I have signed a contract that actually makes me feel safe about taking the medications- basically agreed to use one pharmacy, keep medications safe, agreed they won't be replaced if lost, and to have a urine test now and then etc. Many people get really upset about the contract but I feel like all these conditions are keeping me safe. All the things I agreed to I would do anyways so it was no big deal and does truly make me feel less worried about addiction. My anesthesiologist has also helped me understand that there are long term risks about being in pain. He was very patient with me as I worked through making my decision. I "threw in the towel" when all the fun things in my life were painful and when my job performance was being impaired- and when I finally accepted that I would have permanent limitations.

Yes, the improved quality of life is worth it!! Life is too short to suffer unnecessarily.

I truly wish I had taken this step sooner and have to wonder why I made myself suffer as long as I did. Basically, I guess I was really afraid of addiction because of another family member.. I think a good program takes care of that. What I should have been more afraid of was the long term impact of chronic pain and loss of sleep, etc.

I hope this is helpful and Best wishes and blessings for healing to all in pain.
 
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burlrife responded:
I TOO HAVE OA IN HANDS. I WANT TO CONTINUE TO WORK SO I HAVE HAD DIGIT JOINTS FUSED AND LEFT WRIST SURGERY TO REPLACE A BONE WITH A CUSHION SO RUBBING OF BONES DOES NOT CAUSE SO MUCH PAIN. THE SURGERY HELPED BUT MUSCLE LOSS CAUSES LOSS OF STRENGTH. FUSED DIGIT JOINTS HELPED GREATLY BUT THE OTHER JOINTS OF HANDS IS NOW STARTING TO HURT MORE AND GET LARGER. NARCOTICS HAVE ONLY BEEN USED AFTER SURGERY BUT YES, I THINK THE TIME HAS COME. I AM A NURSE AND KNOW THAT TOO MANY PEOPLE HAVE RUINED THE POSSIBILITY FOR PEOPLE THAT REALLY NEED THE MEDICATION TO FEEL "OK" ABOUT TAKING PILLS AS NEEDED. WE HAVE TO GET OVER THIS AND KNOW, "WE NEED THE PILLS TO BE OK AND ENJOY OUR FAMILY, WORK AND THE REST OF OUR LIVES." WE MAY DEPEND ON THE MEDICINE BUT THAT IS NOT ABUSE.
 
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lovesweinerdogs responded:
Hi Safecracker and welcome! Just wanted to comment on your situation. I've had three ganglion cysts removed surgically (hitting it with a textbook was painful and did not last very long-always grew back.) I have carpal tunnel in both hands and multiple tears to the ligaments as well. Like you, I have always worked physically demanding jobs. I was reluctant to go on a pain medication long-term so went to an ortho guy that specialized in hands and arms. This has turned into a balancing act. I don't want any further surgeries due to the scar tissue developing-it's causing as much or more problems as the cysts and ligament problems. I have to take pain medication for a chronic back and hip problem anyway but am also running into the attitude that I'm just after the drugs. It has really been difficult-I grew up with the old-school belief that pain is just something you have to learn to live with and asking for medication is weakness of character. This is something that each individual must decide for him or herself and many aspects of each situation must be weighed carefully because you are the one who has to live with this. If my doctor could offer me a solution that does not include pain meds, I would jump on it-I don't like being dependent on anything! Oh by the way, when the ache gets severe I have found that warm moist heat in addition to the meds helps but you have to be careful, as the warmth tends to make the swelling worse, which in turn puts more pressure on the nerves. So get as much information as you can then weigh the pros and cons before deciding what's best for you.

Oh, also, congratulations on the birth of your child! Children can be such a joy in life! All the best to you and yours,

Dawn
 
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mightymoh responded:
I have the same problems with docs. I have multiple medical conditions (tumors in spine,have spine surgery with no help,cervical stenosis,torn rotator cuff and burcist of the hip) I have provided mri's of all my conditions and whenever I go to docs I have the same problems getting meds,I thought docs have special training on pain managment but it seems all they do is milk the insurance company and don't care about your pain...anyway good luck and keep trying to see different docs until you get one who cares about you and you only.
 
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An_223533 responded:
I completely understand your situation! You need to have a serious talk with your doctor and tell him/her that you need pain meds and to help put you on some and monitor you and tell them you only want them for a certain amount of time like for 2 months or so and then for them to start takeing you off them. Because if you are in pain and suffering you are no good to yourself or anyone around you. I know that in todays society some people look down on people on pain killers but if those same people had pain they would not heisitate to get some. What I ended up doing was telling my doctor I needed pain killers but I asked her to put me on contract and watch me completely I have to go in and get my blood and urine checked constantly and told her its only for a period of time and then we will revisit the plan and see if I still need them or can change to something else I hope this helps you
 
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foxtrotblonde responded:
I know it is hard....very hard....to continually adjust and change every damn thing you do from the moment you wake up til the moment you go to bed and even with all of your adjustments and additions and rest breaks and everything else under the sun and God's green earth you STILL have pain and you STILL don't have a decent life.....

I go to physical therapy. I use ice and heat. I use specialty pillows; cervical, lumbar, arm. I can only do one activity a day that lasts 30 minutes to 4 hours if I rest before and after....when I try to do more my pain escalates and I get a migraine that can last 6 hours to 2 days. I have daily chronic headaches/migraines 2-5x a week, chronic intractable failed neck pain syndrome (status post cervical fusion) with hip bone and titanimum bolts and screws at C5-C6, fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, osteoporosis, asthma, reflux and irritable bladder.

My doctor is superb at treating my reflux and my bladder and watches my blood pressure like a hawk (it is only high when I see him!).... He takes care of my general health very well. But when I ask for additional pain medication or adjunctive medications to help with the pain, I get the "blank" stare and then he wants to dump me and have me go elsewhere (but I have been everywhere and don't want to go elsewhere unless I know I can get the same pain meds I currently get and don't have to go to the doctor any more than every 90 days.....that is too often as it is!)

For some reason we think that pain shouldn't be treated. Pain is very detrmental to your mental, psychological and physical health and should not be tolerated. Everyone should have their pain titrated to effect which means the pain fully treated; including addressing any side effects of your health conditions or the medications.

If you had diabetes or a heart condition or many other conditions, you would take your medications prescribed without question. Why is taking pain medications looked upon any differently? It shouldn't be.

You need them and I need them. I have taken opioids now on a daily basis since 3-95 and am only 53. I have no health condition that is terminal. The problem with 95% of doctors is that they either don't treat pain at all or undertreat chronic pain.

Take all your medication; including your pain medications.
 
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cweinbl responded:
What's wrong with using narcotic pain medications? Dependence is not an issue at all, until you no longer require the medication. And then, you only need to gradually decrease the dosage. How could dependence have any relationship to "quality of life?"

Addiction is not an issue, since less than 1% of chronic pain patients using narcotics become addicted ((http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20091598?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=1 ).

Tolerance is not an issue until you've reached the maximum safe dosage. Even then, you only need to rotate to a different narcotic temporarily.

Opiates are a natural substance in the body (why else would we have opiate receptors in the brain?). Narcotic pain medications do not damage body tissues, used as directed by a physician. Many of us here have been using large dosages of two or more narcotics simultaneously for 30-40 years with no trouble beyond constipation.

So, you have no reason to fear using narcotic pain medications. Just one of them added 9 years to my career. The chance of addiction, tolerance or dependence being a problem is very small. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to work longer and with less pain? Do yourself a huge favor and "throw in the towel" now.
 
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ElceeReed responded:
Hi there,

I know this was a while ago, so I hope I can still help, or possibly help someone else. Though my pain is not in my hands, I have chronic low-back complications and pain. I had been suffering since I was 15 (now 29) and didn't do anything about it until I was about 22. The ortho was surprised at how long I had gone, considering what the MRI looked like. He offered pain medication which I rejected, because I felt that I could 'handle' it at that time. Well, I did. I handled it for about 5 years after that, and then with sitting at work all day on a crappy chair, I found that my work productivity was low because all I could do is think about how much pain I was in. I decided to go to a primary care and see what I could do. Apparently he felt I was able to carry on the way I was, though he did order a new MRI and have me see a few specialists. Now, because he only gave me enough for about 15 days, I only took at bedtime so I could stop the pain long enough to sleep (terrible sleep before). He also tried a long list of medications that either didn't work or gave me very weird side effects. Anyway, he got to be really strange about the medications and I knew why, after I did research. Everyone was abusing medications. PCP told me that he didn't want me to "go down that road" because of addiction. Well, I thought long and hard about this, and I had three final thoughts, 1. I was definitely in need of relief and 2. I trusted myself. 3. I had a lot of family support. I decided I was going to ask for physical therapy and took meds only when I couldn't stand it. Of course, the pain just got worse. After taking my 2nd MRI and being sent to an orth specialist (presurgery) for medication treatment, I got several more films done. I went to PT and heard crappy news, that PT would not help me. The PT didn't even want to touch me after 3 sessions. Clearly, I was in need of surgery. I changed primary care doctors because he and I decided that he wasn't comfortable with my level of pain and I needed more care. My current doctor understood what was going on, he listened to me, he tried several options, I kept a journal, went to all my appointments, spent a load of money on different tests/films, 4 specialists, you name it. In one year I spent about $6k on medical. Rcently, after seeing a neurosurgeon, although he agreed I needed surgery, we decided to wait for a couple reasons. My point in telling you my story, is that this takes time, dedication, care and money. You don't just want a 'quick fix' or something to cover it. You need answers and you need to fully understand your problem before you cover it. Medications can give you a false sense of cure, and you start doing things the pain is telling you not to do. I wanted to know what was wrong, I wanted to know what to do. But in the mean time, hell yes I wanted relief. It is very humbling to admit that you can't handle your pain and you need help. Especially when the help you need is looked at with disgust by everyone. Pain medication is here for a reason. It is inhumane to allow someone to live in pain, especially when there is clear evidence of it. My advice to you, is to not handle these things on your own. Be a thorn in their a$$es and demand care. Do everything they tell you to. You will be surprised at how some things (not med related) can help. Since my surgery is postponed for 5 years, I decided to start being more active knowing that I have pain relief when needed. I do the exercises and just move more in general. Trust me, I know the game very well. But, the truth is, so long as you are legit, as is your condition and you don't let them dust you aside, you will get the care that is right. Change doctors, do your research, you have to be your own advocate. If they don't comply, contact a professional pain advocate. Again, I can't stress enough, change your mindset: you are allowed pain medication, but you have your responsibility as well. Best of luck!!
 
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TDXSP08 replied to ElceeReed's response:
Elcee you make some Valid points for a Newbee trying to find there wayinto the flock. I must say thought that i got blackballed out of this crappy town i live in and now have to spend an entire day driving to the "big City" where i have the most incredible Pain Management Doctor on the face of the earth, she treats me with so much respect and compassion its not even believable ,just to give you an example i have had to cancel my last two three month by law required face to face visit due to to much pain ( she knows after making that trip i'm in bed for the next week i do not even get up into my wheelchair because it just sucks the life out of me) i mean thats a Dr. who really cares she knows how far i come from to see her and she willing to cover my butt if my pain keeps me from getting there, i only hope if she dies before i do i can tell her fellow doctors and her family how much of a difference that she made in my life and the ability to live under 5.
i have no small step for man, but i have 6 tires for mankind,Watch your Toes!


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