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opoids for low back pain
An_223876 posted:
I am a 61 year old male with chronic low back pain, left posterior thigh, and feet pain. I suffered during the decade of the 90's, and have continued pain to this day. Last year I finally had an MRI and discovered that I have 2 bulging lumbar discs, and low spine stenosis (narrowing). Thank G, I demanded this imaging to find out what was wrong! I had some previous relief from over the counter nsaids, acupuncture, and physical therapy. But unfortunately, that was not enough. I have used 5/500 mg hydrocodone, oxycondone, and oxycontin. I am now using 10/325 hydrocodone (Norco) 3 times per day. Usually, that gives me sufficient relief to function at about 50 percent of an active life style. I now am receiving Social Security Disability, but wish that I could resume my profession as a Speech/Language Pathologist.

I have also received some relief from epidural injections of steroids in to the affected spinal disc spaces. Again, this helps for a time, but is not the total solution. I have visited a respected neurosurgeon in the Portland area, and he says that my condition is not life threatening and that I am not in danger of being paralyzed in the immediate future. Given this diagnosis, I am not going to hurry into a surgical solution. When the time comes, the surgery can be done in a "minimally invasive" fashion. I can live with that for now. But until that time comes, and the surgery is able to successfully eliminate my pain, narcotics are my only efficacious pain reliever.

I am sure that there are countless individuals in a similar situation. Fortunately, my primary care physician is a compassionate man and does not hedge about prescribing the medication that I require. I also get some temporary relief from a prescription medication, in gel form, that is called Voltaren (an nsaid generically known as diclofenac).

I hope my story is helpful to those who are still suffering. Just be upfront with your doctor, get the imaging that is necessary to properly diagnose your problem, and demand the help that you need. If your doctor does not help you, find someone who will. I still receive the occasional acupuncture treatment (I am lucky to have a practitioner who is also an MD) and once in awhile get help from a chiropractor who is gentle and provides electrical stimulation and massage. Good luck!
Caprice_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi and welcome to WebMD,

Thank you for sharing your story here.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. ~Joseph Campbell
chroniclowerbackpain responded:
I am 42 with chronic lower back pain, I take Morphine 45 mg. Oycodone.7.5mg. Soma 325mg. Diazepam 5mg. 800mg. ibuprofen. I have the same prob. as you 2 bulging discs and some. Every day I can only sleep 6 hrs. I wake up in such pain it feels like some one has been kicking me in the lower back all night. I would like to know what lawer to go to I have been turned down for social security twice. The social security sent me a letter a said I will be better on Jan. 1st. 2011. I guess they have a crystal ball. I feel that my age has some thing to do with it but why? I am just as disabled as you! I have run out of options. What can I do. I can't take steroids makes my go nuts. P.S. Don't let them cut into you.I have friends that have and said don't do it untill you can't walk or you will regret it.
baronello replied to chroniclowerbackpain's response:
I got my award on the reconsideration phase, and did not have to go before a judge. I do think your age is working against you, and if you were closer to Social Security retirement age you would have a better chance. Also, your doctor must be willing to say that you no longer can work.

Finally, if you have not had the epidural (spinal) injections, you should try that. Cut out the ibuprofen, as that will complicate your gut reaction. Make sure that you have an Rx for gastric reflux.
Trudy292 replied to chroniclowerbackpain's response:
I am also 42 and just got re-awarded my disability. I have many problems all related to having Leukemia in 2004 and having a bone marrow transplant.

I have chronic pain, Chronic Kidney Disease stage 3, Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety, Pulmonary Problems that haven't been completely diagnosed as of yet (I have been hypoxic on and off since February), I am on oxygen 3ml while sleeping, I have sleep apnea and cpap did not help. I also have lesions in my abdomen from a botched surgery in 2003 and a hernia mixed in with the lesions that no surgeon wants to touch. I had 3 doctors that all confirmed that I was disabled. I only got a lawyer 2 months before my hearing. My lawyer did everything for free - this was through a special program from Legal Aid of Northwest Ohio. When I went to my hearing - it was a face to face hearing with a judge that had flown into Ohio to do hearings from California. At the end of my hearing he told me that I was considered totally disabled and had been since 2004 when I had my transplant. This was all based on the information that my pain and palliative doctor had provided. I had him fill out a residual capacity form that stated what I could and could not do since I had been his patient. He even went much further than that and included documentation of many tests that I went through for diagnosis as proof. The judge referred only to this particular paperwork when asking me questions.

I don't think that just low back pain can get you disability. You need to have more problems than just that. You can get your pain under control and still be able to work a sedentary job - which is basically what they are telling you.

Good luck!
magsjeanea replied to Trudy292's response:
I don't think that your statement about back pain not getting you awarded disability. I only had a diagnosis of lower back pain which does not allow me to work in my profession as a nurse.
As long as you have a decent lawyer and you cannot be retrained with your disability he might have a chance of getting disability. ALWAYS get a lawyer because SS loves to turn you down twice before they give it to you. They kind of wish they can aggravate the heck out of you or you will miss one of your deadlines for turning in your papers to turn you down again.
Just putting my 2 sense in.
Take good care,
Love Goes There, Mag's Jeaneau
annette030 replied to magsjeanea's response:
I agree, I was approved for SSDI when I went before the judge and explained what was going on with me. I had good documentation of just what I could and could not do and why. I had documentation from multiple doctors and voc rehab counselors (other than SSA's).

The problem with SSDI is that you have to be unable to work at ANY job in the national economy, even if it does not exist where you live. They have a minimum amount of money that you could make, that changes with the current date, when I applied it was $850 per month. As an RN I would have to work only a few hours a week to make that much money. I had already been to voc rehab and tried a more sedentary part-time nursing job, and then I was turned down twice before seeing the judge. My lawyer told me that a "potato chip checker" was the famous job that SS said anyone could do, sitting or standing, with no education or heavy lifting required, lol, just watch the conveyor belt for discolored chips and remove them.

My lawyer and others have told me that it is not the diagnosis that matters, but what a specific person is able to do or not do, and for how long. That stuff is not usually documented in a medical record by most MDs.

Keep trying.

Take care, Annette
writerfool replied to annette030's response:
Annette, a potato chip checker?... my gosh, when i read that line i almost fell off my chair.. now that is a job i bet no one on earth thinks of...... unless, of course, they happen to be a potato chip checker....
that really is hysterical..... thanx for the laugh..
bayoucat replied to writerfool's response:
And I thought I had some job suggestions that were over the top in the joke category. The best, I thought was as a silver polisher using chemicals and an electric buffer. Working as a parking attendant and toll booth collector were runner ups. AND all of the jobs suggested for me were all an hour at least from my home. I can not stand or sit for any length of time and a vibrating polisher---- gimme a break. I was already considered totally disabled and getting my social security.
This was workmens comps way of getting me off their books. Since then I did have another surgery. What are these people thinking about when they "find appropriate jobs"? If i could do anything, why would I not go back to a medical position? None of the suggestions were in my field and some of them may have been viable, at least for consideration. Potato chip inspector is by far the best one I have ever heard of and I did laugh out loud which felt good to do. What were the bennies---all the BAD chips you could eat?
annette030 replied to bayoucat's response:
I am so glad to give everyone a giggle. However, that was a job that SS told my lawyer that one of her clients could do.

Do you not know anything about buffing metal? The buffer is a wheel attached to your work bench, all you have to hold is the silverware. You can sit/stand or any combination of the two, lol.

W/C will find a way to get you off of their books, and SS will do anything to keep you from getting on theirs.

SSDI actually told me on one of the refusals of my SSDI claim that even if I could not work as an RN I could work in a podiatrist's office as his nurse/asst. What is the difference?

Take care, Annette
annette030 replied to writerfool's response:
Glad to make anyone giggle.

My lawyer told SSDI actually suggested that job to one of her clients. So the potato chip checkers and the SSA both know about that job, lol.

Take care, Annette
baronello responded:
Since I wrote my last message, I did have a MAJOR BACK surgery in October, 2011, by a respected neurosurgeon in Portland, Oregon. He told me that he could help with the pain in the back of my left thigh, but not with my low back. Unfortunately, he was WRONG. I have continued chronic pain in my low back AND my thigh. In fact, I think the pain is actually worse than it was pre-surgery!

I am now living in Tucson, and a neurosurgeon at the University of Arizona Medical School Hosital, told me there was nothing that he could do for me. He suggested I see a pain management specialist and consider a spinal cord stimulator implant. I have not yet followed up on that.

In the mean time, I am now taking 15mg oxycodone every four hours, 10/325 mg hydrocodone every 4 hours, and 600 mg of gabapentin 3 times per day. With this regimen I can usually be comfortable, on most days. Of course, I have terrible CONSTIPATION, and a gastroenterologist prescribed 290 mcg of LINZESS (very expensive) at bedtime. If I take Metamucil during the day, and the Linzess at night, I have a dependable bm in the morning. Nothing in over the counter laxatives worked. I ended up in the ER with bowel blockage, before I started the Linzess.

I hope this information proves helpful to someone!

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