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chronic retractable pain
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Anon_234564 posted:
I have been diagnosed with herniated/bulging discs throughout my cervical and lumbar spine. I also have sciatica and arthritis of the knees, ankles, fingers, wrists. I do pain mangement just hitting the worst part. The shots really helped the lumbar spine but there is no relief for the cervical spine. I have been told that the herniated discs in my cervical spine (C-3 through C-7) are not surgical friendly. Since I have severe arthritis and bony spurs and herniated discs surgery could be detrimental rather than helpful.

Is there any treatment out there besides living on pain killers (which I can't handle). I will try almost anything. I was told acupuncture may relieve it for a bit but is not a long term fix and do not see a chiropractor.
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davedsel57 responded:
Hello.

I've been managing moderate to severe chronic pain for over 30 years. I am allergic to almost all prescription pain medications or they do not work for me. I rely more on our hot tub, sleep number bed and a good recliner for pain relief.

It may be a matter of accepting your condition as being permanent. Believe me, I understand how difficult this is but you can do it. Keep doing your research, keep moving as much as possible, and keep a positive attitude.
Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story. Blessings, Dave
 
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annette030 responded:
Before I had cervical spinal surgery, I used a home traction set up. The doctor told me how much weight to use, and the traction bag held water and was marked so I would get the proper amount of weight. I found using this on an over the door frame was very helpful for pain management. I used about 10 pounds of weight for about 20 minutes several times a day. I was working back then and could not take opiates and do my job.

I tried acupuncture, and for me it did not work. My pcp at the time, whom I trusted and liked, said it helped about half the pain patients he sent, and worked for several months. He thought it was worth a try. I do suggest one try it, and give it 6-8 weeks for an honest try.

I do not recommend chiropractors for herniated discs and spurs. My husband's chiropractor told me to stay away from chiropractors after checking out my MRI films and taking my history, he never adjusted my spine at all. We both liked and trusted this chiropractor.

I adore our little hot tub, it also makes a big difference in how I handle my pain.

Take care, Annette
 
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swimama replied to davedsel57's response:
Dave:

Blessings to you and your family. You are a very young guy to be going through so much. Mine too started in my early teens. I have been told by my pain management dr that disability is inevitable. I have a desk job now, but because of the cervical spine, it makes it very difficult for me to sit in one place. I, too, cannot handle the narcotics and being that I need to be at work for 8 hours, could never take them during the day.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and thank you for your input. It is much appreciated
 
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swimama replied to annette030's response:
Hi Annette:

Unfortunately, I did try the traction route, it helped the lumbar but killed the cervical. Both doctors (neurosurgeon and pain doctor) said because my spine is so old and arthritic, the tracton wouldn't work, but I tried.

Thank you for the info on the acupuncture. I may just bite the bullet and try it. As I say, I will try anything at least once. I am still working, which for how long I don't know. It is very difficult to sit in a chair and work on a computer when the pain is constantly radiating to the back of your head and down your arm. Numbness is another situation. However, my employers are awesome guys and quite understanding when I have to leave in the middle of the day because I cannot take the pain anymore.

Blessings to you and yoru husband and take care of yourself,

Swimama
 
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davedsel57 replied to swimama's response:
Thank you so much for your kind reply.

I worked as long as I could. Like you, I always had desk jobs but even that was too much for my condition. The last five years of working I really pushed beyond my limits and finally had to stop when I was 51. The timing was perfect and I was approved for SSD in only two months.

Thank you also for calling me a "young guy". My mind feels like that, but definitely not my body. :)
Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story. Blessings, Dave
 
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cweinbl responded:

How many pain medications have you tried? What are the side effects?

A comprehensive pain management program will offer dozens of non-invasive and minimally-invasive treatments. I can drop my pain level by about 20% with biofeedback alone. Body-mind techniques such as biofeedback and Yoga can help. Others have improvement with acupuncture, TENS, kinesiotherapy, PT, hypnosis, massage, corset, brace, traction, rhyzotomy, epidural or rhyzotomy. If all of those fail, you can try a spinal cord stimulator or intrathecal infusion pump.

In my case, just one medication reduced my pain by 80% and added 9 years to my career. It does not enter your system through the stomach, which eliminates many side effects. It's a patch called Fentanyl Transdermal, which provides up to 72 hours of blessed relief.

But the best results seem to come from a combination of long and short-acting narcotics, plus an anti-depressant and an anti-convulsant. You can add an anti-inflammatory for osteoarthritis. None of these medications work as well independently for chronic pain as they do used together. Maybe there are some pain medications that you not yet tried.
cweinbl csw2@bex.net
 
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swimama replied to cweinbl's response:
I have tried anticonvulsants, lyrica, you name it I have tried it; but the side effects were great. I am very sensitive to medications.

I have tried the traction, massage, PT and all that. The last try is going to be acupuncture. I am just waiting for approval from my insurance company.

With respect to narcotics I have side effects to those also. I have basically just used oxycodone and percocet, but since I have a low tolerance to that, the doctor is hesitant to try anything else with me. I did use the lidocaine patch which helped a bit, but caused horrible skin problems.

I will speak with my doctor about the Fentanyl Transdermal. Possibly it won't have the side effects the others have. I will try anything at least once.

Thank you for your input. I am still working, but it is a struggle. Has been for the past five to six years. However, when you supply the health insurance for the family and are paying off the kids college educations, I am in it for the long haul.

I am thankful for understanding employers. It is a blessing in disguise when you work for a small firm/company. They treat you like family.

Wishing you the best,
 
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cweinbl replied to swimama's response:

We all do the same thing. We work until we simply cannot sit or stand long enough to work any longer. That's why I was so grateful for Fentanyl. It postponed that day for 9 years.

We each have unique body chemistries. What works for one person creates side effects for someone different. But to do justice to yourself, you must try each and every opiate or narcotic, until you have exhausted all possibilities. Then you must do the same for off-label drugs (anti-depressant, anti-convulsant) and for anti-inflammatories. My doctor agreed to do this and it took nearly two years to try them all. The reward was discovering which specific combination of narcotics and off-label drugs worked best for my body chemistry for me (and I strongly emphasize the word COMBINATION). The combination of pain medications AND off-label drugs is far more efficacious than any of them could be used individually. When I tried to drop one or two of the combined drugs, my pain was much worse again.

I'm fortunate in that I seem to have few medication side effects. However, research reveals that most side effects from narcotics dissipate after the first few weeks of use. Thus, if you can tolerate the side effects for a while, they will probably become manageable.

Best of luck to you.


cweinbl csw2@bex.net
 
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swimama replied to cweinbl's response:
Thank you for your vote of confidence. Unfortunately, my pain mangement doctor is very much against trying many drugs with me because of my history of not handling drugs well and a family history of epilepsy and my cardiac problems. He feels that too many drugs can hurt more than help. I am going to try the acupuncture and talk to him about the fentanyl transdermal patches. I have heard a lot of good reviews.

Are you still working now? I made a full day today somewhat a few runs around the office stretching and taking ibuprofen, but at the end of each week when I make a full week of work I am happy. I know come tomorrow I can just lay back and relax. Yes, my house doesn't get cleaned but at least my husband is quite understanding and when he can't take it anymore he will clean.

Blessings to you.
 
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CTBeth replied to swimama's response:

Hello from Connecticut,

Actually, having a "low tolerance" can bee a good thing. It may enable you to take very, very-low doses and get relief.

As far as the side effects of drowsiness and feeling high, this goes away quickly, within a couple of weeks.

The Fentanyl patch is for use ONLY on patients who are opiod tolerant. If you're not regularly (daily) taking an opiod pain medication, you WOULD NOT be a candidate for Fentanyl transdermal.

I do not know if you've discussed your MD and if he/she is listening to you and offering you options, but, if you are not completely satisfied with this MD, I would hope you'll look for another.

With so many complex things going on that cause you so much pain, AND so much responsibility on you, getting the best possible relief is so important.

Please keep us updated.


CTB
 
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CTBeth replied to swimama's response:
please do not lose hope with "narcotic"/ opiod pain management.

you do say that you could "never take then during the day."

the operative word here is "never."

if you have the option of around-the-clock long-acting opiate therapy, you really do NOT feel high, tired, sleepy, much of anything other than less pain and constipated (haha true, though)

it may take a little while for your body to adjust, but having less pain is such a wonderful feeling. most of us adjust very quickly.

please, I urge you, do not say NEVER.
giving these medicines a chance may be exactly what you need to make your life a little, or a lot, more "normal", functional.

PLEASE keep in touch.

CTB
 
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swimama replied to CTBeth's response:
Thank you CTB for the vote of confidence, I will keep in touch. I need to make another appointment with my pain management Dr. He actually sent me to the surgeon and just last week had that appointment so I will follow up with him shortly.
 
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CTBeth replied to swimama's response:
so, not-so-good news from the surgeon, right?

I'm so sorry that your options are so limited and hope that you can find something.

I write about it a lot, but I wasn't on the site much the past month or so, and I don't know if you have read, but I have an implanted spinal cord stimulator. Has your pain management MD discussed if you may be a candidate for this modality?

It might be worth a consideration.

Talk again,

CTB
 
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swimama replied to CTBeth's response:
Hi CTB:

I never heard of the spinal cord stimulator. How are you doing with it? I hope well.

Well finally the surgeon sat down and spoke with me (I have seen four) and showed me my MRIs and explained each one. My cervical spine has herniated/bulging discs from C-3 through C-7. The arthritis is so bad that it has worn away all the cartilidge in the spine. It looks like a spine of a 90 year old woman; so needless to say, surgery is not an option. This stuff is also going on the lumbar spine but I did the shots back in January and it has helped it immensely. I haven't had as much pain as I did prior to the shots. However, where the worst part of my neck problem is, the shot did not work. It caused more pain and discomfort,

I have learned so much from reading everyone's stories about pain management. I have now a lot to discuss with my pain management doctor. Hopefully, we will come to terms on how to treat this.

This website (really, the people who post on it) has given me a wealth of information which I so much appreciate.

Thank you for all your support and information also, CTB. When I get back in to see the pain management dr, I will have some things to discuss and hpefully he will come up with some kind of treatment plan.

I will keep you posted and you me :)

Regards,

Swimama


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