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Thread: Spinal Stenosis and long-term pain medications

  1. #1

    Question Spinal Stenosis and long-term pain medications

    I have been on maintenance doses of Naproxen for my spinal stenosis. I recently had a horrible flare up of pain and weakness in one leg that eventually caused me to go to the ER. Possibly one of the most painful experiences in my life. At the moment they have me on a steroid to reduce inflamation and 5mg hydrocodone (Norco). While I hope this will get me through until it gets back to normal I want to make a few plans for the future "just in case". I feel lucky that I had a few Norco left over from previous surgeries to help me get through until I could get to the ER. However as all things, these too will pass. Has anyone transitioned to using tramadol for back pain and what did you find effective?

    Basically I want to replenish my "emergency supplies" with something currently available and still effective. Of course the reason I had leftovers is Hydrocodone does not do much for me (but it was better than nothing). Hopefully for the occasional once every 12-18 month issue Tram will do just as well.
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    Spinal Stenosis and long-term pain medications
  3. #2
    I don't have stenosis but I have si problems and I know that lower pain is no joke. my doc prescribed the same thing, 5 MGS vic, plus voltaren gel. tram for me doesn't help with back issues but soma does. oddly enough, Xanax helps a whole lot, which is weird since valium is a better muscle relaxer.

    I just know that in the midst of a flare, nothing seems to work completely. if tram works for you, go for it.
    Helpful djrick, Bigrig, Allycat, ladyghost Rated helpful

  4. #3
    At this point I am not sure how well Tram will work. What I do know is Hydrocodone is not necessarily that effective on me. I am hesitant to suggest to my doctor that he allow me to try Tram as we have had quite a few "doctor shopping" busts in the last few years. This have made the doctors VERY cautious and the last thing I need is a reputation as a drug seeker. What a strange and twisted world we live in where we have to worry about how we present ourselves to our doctors because they are running scared from the feds and lawyers.
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  5. #4
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    I have found that ultrasound works well for arthritic pain and many other things, perhaps it would help with that, I don't know. It has worked a wonder for the things I've used it on. Might need someone to do it for you since its hard to reach back there. Research it online and if it sounds promising you can pick up a unit dirt cheap on ebay.
    Helpful Bigrig, Allycat, ladyghost Rated helpful

  6. #5
    Thank you, I will look into that. Anything that may keep the surgeons away for a little longer is worth considering!

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    I feel for you @Bigrig, been there. I found adding Gabapentin to an anti inflamatory to be very helpful.

    The combination of Celebrex and Gabapentin was helpful for me. Then, there's alaways the injections....

    Works for some. Good luck.
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  8. #7
    @Bigrig, i have also had cortisone injections. at first i wasn't convinced they were working, but now they've worn off and the pain is back with a vengeance. cortisone reduces inflammation, and i don't know if you have that. so i think the injections take off the worst of the pain, so you can think of something other than how much you hurt.

    i agree the hydro doesn't do much. but every little bit helps, right?

    i'm going back for more injections next week.

    - - - Updated - - -

    p.s. i reviewed the uses of cortisone for your condition but the experts seem unsure if the relief lasts.
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  9. #8
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    I've seen ultrasound units on ebay for as little as $12 delivered. If you are skeptical, try a cheap unit, get the 3mz type. It works on joint pain, tendon pain, general muscle and tissue discomfort, and even my sciatica. Read up on it, anything that works will be better than drugs which you get tolerance and addiction to. I find the relief lasts from a day to quite a while.
    Helpful Allycat Rated helpful

  10. #9
    I have been dealing with stenosis of the spine for close to 12 years.Also bulging and herniated discs in neck and back.I also have degenerative discs in just about every disc in my back.I am at the point that surgery would not be much help for me.Maybe some relief bu the risks outweigh the benefits in my case.I don't know how severe your back is so hopefully for you if you have surgery it will help you.I know the older you get the older your back gets ,it just gets worn out with time.I have had pain management tell me that one back surgery in most cases will lead to another further down the road and so on.I am prscribed morphine for my escrutiating pain 30mg ER + 30mg IR 2 times a day along with soma ,meloxicam,and xanax.Been on tis combination for 10 years now and it has kept me at a pain level from 1-10 a 2 with flare-ups which will happen depends on your activities for the day but that is what the IR or instant release morphine is for.Tramadol did not help me I tried it to see and it didn't help me but it might help you depending on how bad your back is.You just have to try and see.I hope you can nip your problem in the bud before it gets worse and surgery won't help you.Nowadays it is pretty rough trying to find a good Pain doctor that will be understanding and give you what you need and not be afraid of big brother watching over him.Good luck.Hope everything works out for you.
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    Just from my personal experience, almost all of the people I ran into who had back surgery ended up worse and most had another operation, some had 5 or more. Recovery is iffy, some people never recover and even then its very painful and the therapy for it is painful.

    Those with back issues, I would contact a chiropractor or two to see if they think ultrasound might help. They can usually give you a treatment right there in the office. Its not that expensive, your insurance might pay for it. If not its only maybe 50 to $100 since all they do is have a nurse run it over you for a few minutes. Might be an additional office charge. If it works well then you know to buy your own unit and you or someone can give you a treatment basically for free. Check it out, what have you got to lose? Don't ask a back surgeon if thats a good idea, lol. We know what they will say. Ask a chiropractor, they us US often.
    Helpful ladyghost Rated helpful

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by UFC123 View Post
    I have been dealing with stenosis of the spine for close to 12 years.Also bulging and herniated discs in neck and back.I also have degenerative discs in just about every disc in my back.I am at the point that surgery would not be much help for me.Maybe some relief bu the risks outweigh the benefits in my case.I don't know how severe your back is so hopefully for you if you have surgery it will help you.I know the older you get the older your back gets ,it just gets worn out with time.I have had pain management tell me that one back surgery in most cases will lead to another further down the road and so on.I am prscribed morphine for my escrutiating pain 30mg ER + 30mg IR 2 times a day along with soma ,meloxicam,and xanax.Been on tis combination for 10 years now and it has kept me at a pain level from 1-10 a 2 with flare-ups which will happen depends on your activities for the day but that is what the IR or instant release morphine is for.Tramadol did not help me I tried it to see and it didn't help me but it might help you depending on how bad your back is.You just have to try and see.I hope you can nip your problem in the bud before it gets worse and surgery won't help you.Nowadays it is pretty rough trying to find a good Pain doctor that will be understanding and give you what you need and not be afraid of big brother watching over him.Good luck.Hope everything works out for you.
    Hi @UFC123,

    I am on a similar medication regime for my back, Zomorph ER 50mg at night, and 30mg in the morning with Liquid Morphine Sulphate IR for breakthrough pain.

    Does Xanax offer any relief for your back?

    Waiting for the steroid injections in to the back soon, but do not want to go the surgery route if it can be avoided.

    I'm 64, but I think my back is 84, and my front aint to good either lol

    Regards
    Like dinger liked this post

  13. #12
    @Inspector Lewis,Xanax doesn't do anything for my back pain.It greatly helps with my anxiety and depressive state ,I feel is caused by being in pain.The morphine and soma does the trick for the pain and the xanax takes care of the anxiety I get from the pain.I have had all the injections from steroid to facet injections and also epidural + nerve block injections.The injections work at least on me for a couple of days and that is it.After a while they just did'nt do anything.They might work on you so you at least need to give them a try,everybody is different.The only way I will get surgery done is if gets to the point of me being able to walk or not.I have talked with many people that had surgey and they either are still in the same pain or worse.One surgery leads to another surgery etc.Then there are people that I talked with that surgery helped,but most of those people had a certain single thing that was causing their pain such as a bulging disc or herniated disc.There is too many things wrong with my back that I cannot see surgery as a benefit.As you get older so does your back and you cannot reverse a aging spine unfortunatly.There are places that claim they can fix any back problem with a one inch incision,maybe for a disc problem but stenosis is arthritis of the spine and my back is riddled with it and I just can't see surgery fixing that.And if it did the stenosis will just come back.As long as I can manage my pain with meds that is the route I am taking.I take my meds as prescribed and have no tendencies to abuse and become addicted.I am dependant on them and there is a big difference between dependency and addiction.I hope what ever paths you go down they turn out to be the best for you.Have a Happy New Year and be safe.

  14. @Inspector Lewis, xanax does help with my lower back pain. i have had the injections and the meds, but the one time each day my back stops hurting is when i take a xanax at night. it has no muscle-relaxing properties; it just works and i don't get that hangover feeling i get from valium. just my experience, fwiw.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by UFC123 View Post
    @Inspector Lewis,Xanax doesn't do anything for my back pain.It greatly helps with my anxiety and depressive state ,I feel is caused by being in pain.The morphine and soma does the trick for the pain and the xanax takes care of the anxiety I get from the pain.I have had all the injections from steroid to facet injections and also epidural + nerve block injections.The injections work at least on me for a couple of days and that is it.After a while they just did'nt do anything.They might work on you so you at least need to give them a try,everybody is different.The only way I will get surgery done is if gets to the point of me being able to walk or not.I have talked with many people that had surgey and they either are still in the same pain or worse.One surgery leads to another surgery etc.Then there are people that I talked with that surgery helped,but most of those people had a certain single thing that was causing their pain such as a bulging disc or herniated disc.There is too many things wrong with my back that I cannot see surgery as a benefit.As you get older so does your back and you cannot reverse a aging spine unfortunatly.There are places that claim they can fix any back problem with a one inch incision,maybe for a disc problem but stenosis is arthritis of the spine and my back is riddled with it and I just can't see surgery fixing that.And if it did the stenosis will just come back.As long as I can manage my pain with meds that is the route I am taking.I take my meds as prescribed and have no tendencies to abuse and become addicted.I am dependant on them and there is a big difference between dependency and addiction.I hope what ever paths you go down they turn out to be the best for you.Have a Happy New Year and be safe.
    @UFC123,

    I have several issues after a fairly significant brain injury in 2010, and then a stroke on the plane bringing me back from America, and still suffer seizures, but the greatest pain and discomfort is from the back problems with a large portion of Arthritis.

    I don't know if I'm dependent or addicted, but its what enables me to get up in the morning and lead an almost normal life, so it doesn't matter to me at almost 65.

    I will give the injections a try, but probably not any surgery as, like you I have heard so many people say it makes no difference and can cause things to worsen, will have to wait and see.

    I have completed two 20+ year careers, before ill health forced my retirement a couple of years ago so I can't complain, many people do not even get that chance.

    And one thing I have learned over the years, and on here, there are plenty of people far worse off than me.

    Hope you get enough relief to allow you to do the things you want, and an occasional good nights sleep.

    Good luck UFC

    Regards
    Like notcharlotte liked this post

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    Wow sorry to hear that! And a stroke on the plane unreal, when you get relief who care if your actually addicted as long as you can live the rest of your days with minimal pain! My mom had that and it was so painful for her! Best wishes!
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  17. #16
    @VictoriaIvy,

    Thanks for the comments, I was a so lucky to survive, or was it luck.

    So many things came together to make it possible to survive that it would be appropriate for an episode of X Files.

    There was a Neurologist/Neurosurgeon plus another MD on the plane who kept me breathing as the aircraft made an emergency landing in Iceland.

    They resuscitated me on the grass verge of the runway and I was in hospital there till fit enough to fly home.

    So many things came together that few days that exceed any concept of 'coincidence 'or 'luck' so I must surmise it was not my time.

    I have also made an almost complete recovery as well, so go figure?

    Your mother obviously suffered with arthritis, because it is intangible people tend to dismiss it, "oh you have a bad back" but it can make your life miserable if you do not get the proper pain relief.

    You may have read I suffered a back injury in Colorado in Sept, I was in awful pain.

    The MD in the Med Centre prescribed Tylenol???

    I told him it was OK as I had the pain relief covered, he was shocked that I had Morphine prescribed by my home GP, and that barely took the edge of it, my wife had to drive.

    How you guys manage over there if you have an accident or something scares me, that's why I always bring sufficient with me when we cross the pond, with plenty of documentation from my GP and Pharmacist.

    My back is aching just typing this, time for some break dancing lol

    Regards

    - - - Updated - - -
    @VictoriaIvy,
    Last edited by Inspector Lewis; 2 Weeks Ago at 10:46 AM.

  18. #17
    [QUOTE What a strange and twisted world we live in where we have to worry about how we present ourselves to our doctors because they are running scared from the feds and lawyers.[/QUOTE]

    It's surreal isn't it? Most of us become actors once the doctor is present.
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    F**k the DEA

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    I have not got spinal stenosis yet, but am sure that will be the next thing to arrive.
    I have disc protrusions in my cervical i have also disc protrusions in my thoracic spine.

    At T7-T8 i have i dehydrated and disc bulge Associated osteophytes in contact with the anterior surface of the cord ( what ever that means)
    In the lumber spine i have 3 levels of disc protrusions and diffuse buldge at L3 -L4 and DDD and some crowding of the remaining nerve roots (what ever that means).

    That was my MRI which was done in 2005. I have been on buprenorphine pain patches at different amounts over 6 years. At this minute i am on transtec 35mcg per hour.
    Which lasts 4 days, and also 2mg sublingaul tablets for breakthrough. I was told that the good thing about buprenorphine is that you do not build up a tolerance as quick

    compared to other opioid drugs. good luck dinger

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    Yeah my mom had arthritis - I have no idea how she did it with all that pain, she went in to a back doctor and he was shocked her bones were sticking out all over but she was so afraid of doctors she waited and put herself through hell! My mother is the stongestperson I've ever known. I knew it was bad when she call a ambulance and she had not gone to the doctors in 16 years and that was only for a hip operation. When it came down to it nothing mattered because I will never get her screams out of my head! She went into the hospital with us thinking the only thing she had was spinal stenosis and 11 days later she died from cancer was all through her body! She kept her pain from us so we would not be frightened! I wish I knew because I would have done anything to make sure she never had to go through the pain! When she was in the hospital she was on morphine, fenten , ativan and Xanax and hydros all at once and she was still screaming - this was a woman who only took a Motrin here and there! I thought she would have been snowed yet she still screamed out! I was mortified to think it was spinal stenosis and it got that. Ad so quickly but she had that plus going on! I must say I'm so glad you got help and it was not your time, you souund like you have a angel watching over you!

  21. @Bigrig, I can relate to what you're saying. I also have spinal stenosis, 3 cervical surgeries, DDD, failed fusion c2-5, ruptured discs @L2/3, crushed tailbone...And Crohn's.

    As to your question about trams for long term use, I have experience with that. My advice with those is to be careful. There is an SNRI component to that med that could cause seizures in large doses or in combo with other SSRI or SNRI antidepressants. They're also not fun to stop after long term use.

    Now that I've said that, I do currently use trams, along with voltaren gel, the muscle relaxer de jour and ice, heat or whatever else I can throw at it. They're not great, but it helps a little, and for now, that will have to do. I would not be comfortable telling someone what they should take, but I can share my experience.right?

    I've dealt with this stuff for over 30 years and I don't want any more surgeries right now...Which, thanks to the azz hat compassion-less, money grubbing beasts who call themselves doctors around my area, means I'm here.

    I do have quite a comprehensive self designed care plan, which includes tai chi, accupuncture, musculoskeletal therapy, natural substances and my aforementioned tiny arsenal of chemical tools, and I'm always looking for new ideas.
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