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    Includes Expert Content
    Left arm started aching
    icurnpain posted:
    Hi all! I currently go to pain management once a month. Ive been going for 8 years. The doc alternates shots on each side of my spine, Usually 4 to 6 on each side and lower back one month and neck the next. My wife worries about me being put under anesthesia so much. Anyway, I have 3 fractured discs, lower back and 2 in my neck. My right leg stays numb, (thank god, sciatic pain sucks). Now my left arm has started feeling the same way, between elbow and shoulder, underneath, from armpit down under that muscle. I can turn my neck a certain way and it stops. Oh, I have just learned that because of my meds, i could be classified as Narcotic DUI.
    annette030 responded:
    What is your question?

    Take care, Annette
    Peter Abaci, MD responded:
    The numbness in your left arm could be from nerve root irritation going on at your neck. Turning your neck a certain direction may be relieving some of the tension and irritation on these nerves.

    It is not clear to me what type of injections that you receive each month at your clinic, but I think their could be reason for concern. If they include the injection of a corticosteroid, also known as cortisone, then you should talk to your doctors about the side effects from their long-term use. Even if cortisone isn't being used, the repeated sticking of the needles into tissues like skin and muscle will cause scarring. In any event, monthly injections over a period of several years would be an unconventional way of treating chronic pain symptoms, and I recommend that you re-evaluate your treatment program with your doctors or seek other opinions. Short term fixes are probably not the best way to manage long-term problems.

    Assessing driving impairment based on the use of prescription medications is gray area for law enforcement personnel. Unlike alcohol, where breaking the law is based on exceeding a measured level, there isn't a standard method to address this issue with pain medications. The overall rate of accidental deaths due to pain medications has been on the rise, and should be considered a significant problem.
    annette030 replied to Peter Abaci, MD's response:
    In some states if ANY opiates are found in a blood test you are considered impaired. It is very black and white.

    I chose where to live partially on this legal thing because I knew at some point I would probably be on 24 hour a day opioids. In my state there is a grey area where a peace officer must state his opinion of whether or not you are impaired, and hopefully back it up with direct observations of your behavior or statements. So you could take opioids and test positive and still drive legally.

    An article in our daily newspaper said which states were like ours, I think there were only six or seven at that time, about 10 years ago.

    Take care, Annette

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