Pain meds and constipation.

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Regular Member

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   Posted 3/26/2010 9:54 AM (GMT -6)   
As few of you know, I have chronic back pain and Sciatica. The doctor put me on pain meds and muscle relaxers, and now I'm constipated. What do you guys take for it? I'm really miserable.

Mrs. Dani
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   Posted 3/26/2010 10:54 AM (GMT -6)   
  Dear Potsie,
      hehe, completly understand! I suggest Colace, but you may want to talk to your doctor first, because sometimes , meds interact with it. It is OTC thou.
     I used to have to use it, but then my doctor added in a med to my pain meds called nabumetone.... lets just say after the first month I ordered a new magazine subscription...smhair



Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood



Screaming Eagle
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   Posted 3/26/2010 10:56 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello Potsie! I had that problem quite a bit with the meds I was on. To help, I took lots of Metamucil, and a stool softener such as Colace. I also eat roasted cashews that are unsalted. Also remember to drink lots of water, and walk as much as you can. Make sure you keep your fiber diet on the high side as well. Hope this helps!

DDD (Degenerative Disk Disease) S1-L4-L5, Heart Attack 2002, Angioplasty to clear blocked Artery and to implant Stent. Six Epidurals, Disocgram, Melanoma Cancer 07, Lumbar Fusion March of 2010, Four cortisone injections Tendinitis in Elbow.

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Date Joined Nov 2007
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   Posted 3/26/2010 1:17 PM (GMT -6)   
A few prunes do wonders but make sure to do it in moderation! I learned the hard way as I could eat them like candy. about 5 or 6 prunes maybe on a regular basis. When I was first out of surgery I took a colace, but no longer need that. I ate a half a container of prunes one night and spent the night on the "throne", so know now not to overdo it!


Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 492
   Posted 3/26/2010 1:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Potsie, I dont take anything for it. since I started taking lortab for surgery pain I havent had a bm but dont have constipation pain. I havent went regularly anyways i was lucky to go once a week. Good Luck hope you find something that helps.
im dxed with  herniated discs,fibromylagia , scolosis,ddd,athritis, spinal stenosis ,gerd,gastric ulcer,gastroparesis..gallbladder removal 3/23/10.
meds,ambien, prilosec otc,lortab ,reglan,flonase and  trazodone.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
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   Posted 3/26/2010 3:23 PM (GMT -6)   
I usually just take a tablespoon or 2 of good old MOM....Milk of Magnesia for when I am constipated and need to get moving again. Colace for when it is just painful to go.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 3/26/2010 4:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Potsie -
Pericolase & Metamucil take about as long as any other OTC laxative to work, which usually means overnight. I understand how uncomfortable constipation can be, and sometimes overnight just won't cut. I have to admit, I've never tried MOM for constipation; my Dad lived on it for his ulcers, though.
My experience:
The Quick Fix:
I suggest a few prunes - start with 2 or 3 and wait 3 hours. If 2 or 3 isn't enough, have another every hour or two. You have to be careful about prunes until you figure out your tolerance to their effects. Be sure to drink a big glass of water; they need it to do their work.
The Long Term Outlook:
Constipation is a very common side effect of prescription pain meds. Make sure you're getting your 8 glasses of water a day. If you feel bloated or have intestinal pain due to constipation, use the prunes. But for the most part, let your body make it's own way. It took a couple of years but my body finally got everything figured out and I became regular again. I'd only have the constipation when I changed meds and then only for a short time.
There *is* hope.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3557
   Posted 3/26/2010 4:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Potsie...

This was such a struggle for me for years to find the right combo of things to help as I am on both Morphine and OxyIr which are very constipating...along with the dry mouth and teeth issues...

A few suggestions I can offer that are all natural which I found to not only work the best..but don't have any bad side effects..

I switched to eating all organic food end of last year and that has been a tremendous help to my stomach/intestines as well as energy and clear face...

A drink that is the same consistency and taste of a yogurt shake is called comes in a lot of different flavors which are all yummy!! I just have a cup in the morning with breakfast...It is a Probiotic so helps the digestion...

Instead of having to eat prunes..which I have a hard time getting down...there is a new drink by Sunsweet...Plum Smart with Extra Fiber...and this has PRE-biotics...which also aid in digestion and help keep your stomach healthy along with intestinal help...

Another fantastic product I use each day is by Natural Vitality...and called Natural Calm..(found in health food stores or online)'s a magnesium powder..for me..(I can't do the MOM...too medicinal tasting for me...)
This powder (instead of magnesium tablets) put two TEASPOONS in a glass..add a 1/4 cup hot water and it dissolves...then just add that to a bottle of water to has a berry/lemon flavor and perfectly clear when it dissolves...
This helps things stay in ..ummm...perfect form shall we say...LOL...and keeping things from being hard...sorry...trying to not have tmi..haha

Then I take a Senna tablet when needed at night to help things along if needed as that is all natural so no cramps...

You don't have to do all these together everyday...but find what combo works for you...
And because of taking my pain medicine..I drink 10-14 glasses of water/tea a day which also helps with fatigue..

The magnesium also has an added help with muscle pain which is great so that I use without fail...

The one medicinal thing I keep on hand since it is now Over the Counter is Miralax..this was bought before I started using the magnesium powder so haven't had to touch it but that is another thing to try...I am just so tired of taking medicines that when I can find a solution that is natural I am there!!! LOL

I was diagnosed with IBS way back when so these last months to finally find the perfect combo helps me feel amazing!!!

Kimber..I am worried about even your regular habit of only going once a week...we have so many toxins that build up in our body each day that we should be going once to twice a day to stay healthy....I would just double check with your Dr. about this after you get recovered from your surgery and see if there is anything they are worried about...I know I feel so awful if I have any issues for more than one day!

Sorry for such a long post..this is such an important topic that so many of us face with surgeries or our chronic pain and medicine use that sharing ideas is very helpful..

Take care..

SB and "the pup who snores loudly" 
ACDF C5-C7, (no hardware), with autograft bone Nov. 2001
(reabsorption of bone 2 years later...still lost in body..expect to burp it out at anytime..haha")) 
ACDF with hardware, allograft bone Nov. 2005 
Anterior and Posterior CDF, allograft bone with BMP, removal of old hardware, use of titanium plates, rods, screws, & kitchen sink (lol) Dec 2006

Post Edited (Snowbunny21) : 3/26/2010 4:37:24 PM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 291
   Posted 3/26/2010 5:59 PM (GMT -6)   
I really appreciate all your suggestions. But it makes me wonder whether it's good to have to take stuff just to be able to go to the bathroom. I took some MOM yesterday, then last night I took Ducilax(sp). I probably didn't think enough water. I finally got rid of that big lump that gets stuck(sorry, tmi). Oh, the relief!! But my stomach is sore, and of course my butt is sore. Can anyone explain why pain killers do this?

Thanks again for all your input!! turn

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3557
   Posted 3/26/2010 6:09 PM (GMT -6)   
That's why I have gone the all natural route to help as for me...I just feel so much better and especially the Pro and Pre biotics are for prevention of stomach/intestine issues down the road...And magnesium is an all natural supplement that most of us are low on with Vitamin D, and B 12...

Adding daily walking...more fiber in fruits/veggies...all these things not only help with this issue but will help you feel better with overall health..

Pain medicine, along with other types (antacids, blood pressure meds, anti-depressants, anti-convulsants) all happen to be dehydrating to our system...they say because the colon is absorbing more of the water to process/eliminate the medicine...
that's why it's important to drink more than the usual 8-10 glasses of water/fluids to counteract the effects...dry socket with teeth, dry skin, constipation..and fatigue are all symptoms of dehydration...

So..there are all natural things you can take to help with all of the suggestions from folks above...just add one at a time so you don't 'overdo'...haha

Glad to hear that things are moving along!..:)

SB and "the pup who snores loudly" 
ACDF C5-C7, (no hardware), with autograft bone Nov. 2001
(reabsorption of bone 2 years later...still lost in body..expect to burp it out at anytime..haha")) 
ACDF with hardware, allograft bone Nov. 2005 
Anterior and Posterior CDF, allograft bone with BMP, removal of old hardware, use of titanium plates, rods, screws, & kitchen sink (lol) Dec 2006

Post Edited (Snowbunny21) : 3/26/2010 5:12:03 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 856
   Posted 3/26/2010 6:18 PM (GMT -6)   
I was having very severe problems after years of being okay just eating oatmeal at night. I went on several forums to ask about this because I do not like to take medications for this specific problem.

Someone told me to start eating Triscuits and to make sure to drink water with them.

This has done wonders for me. If you like them, then it may work, but everyone is different.

For me, Triscuits have been a life-saver:)

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 291
   Posted 3/26/2010 6:35 PM (GMT -6)   
That's interesting Flower. I like Triscuits. Thanks!

I understand now. I drink water, but not enough. Thanks!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 3/26/2010 7:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Potsie,

I used the generic form of Sennekot S. It's pretty cheap & it works well. It's also important to eat a lot of fiber like fruits & vegetables. The best is to stay on top of it so that it doesn't get out of control. When I was on pain meds 24/7 I used to take the Sennekot S at least every night & more if needed. Now that I'm only taking pain meds at night I find that I don't need to take the Sennekot any longer.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 773
   Posted 3/26/2010 8:25 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Potsie,

You've been given great advice....there is a really good product and very cheap called Yerba Prima Daily Fiber that you can take daily.  The best way to start your day is with a 24 oz. glass of room temperature water as soon as you get up.  This will help to flush the toxins that have been released during sleep and shortly after will prompt a BM (it may take some effort to get in the habit of doing this but once you do it happens naturally despite pain meds).  Our sleep cycle is our healing cycle ( I worked alternative Medicine for 21 of my 35 yr working career and heard this over and over by many of the worlds CA specialists).  Water is crucial to health as are OILS.  I take 6,000 mg. of Fish oil every day, this helps inflammation and also acts as a lubricant to our joints, organs, skin and brain function.  Olive Oil added to our food especially salads is another great way to keep our colons moving.  You can also add Olive oil to cooked foods just be careful cooking with Olive Oil at high temps, it turns rancid.  Coconout Oil, grapeseed oil and Avocado oil are great to cook with.

Veggies, cooked or raw definitely help keep things moving as well.  Avocado's contrary to what you think are very very healthy, full of protein and natural oils!

Hope this helps!!


Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2022
   Posted 3/27/2010 2:25 AM (GMT 0)   
For my regime in the morning I have a bowl of cereal called Fiber 1 (they are an excellent source of fiber) and I add in a cap full of Restorlax or Lax a Day into the cereal with milk. Then I eat 5 prunes. Yes water is very important as well as fruits and vegetables.

All narcotics slow down your systems so that is why we get constipated. I am also starting to have bing problems voiding and may have to start catheterizations.
 Chronic, severe and continuous bilateral temporal headaches since April 2000.
 Poor prognosis, seen thousands of doctors, been on dozens of meds and tried all forms of treatment with no success.
 Currently Feb 2010: cycles of IV Ketamine infusion via a PICC line and pump at home with some success.
 Meds: oxycodone for breakthrough, cymbalta, vitamin D, B12, magnesium, omega 3, melatonin
 Profession: Part time registered nurse on Long term disability and applying for permanent disability thru CPP
 52 yrs old, female, married, two boys 19 & 21, live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
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   Posted 3/27/2010 5:58 AM (GMT -6)   
I used Miralax mixed with kool-aide to help me along. As I got more regular I was able to cut back the dose and now that I've become used to the meds I don't need anything. You can get this over the counter at walmart.
DDD, osteoarthritis, facet syndrome, fusion surgeries C-5/7 & L-4/5 both in 2006, torn meniscus surgeries left knee 2000 & 2002, buldging disc L-2/3

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 184
   Posted 3/27/2010 10:30 AM (GMT -6)   
I was also taking the generic Sennokot S when i was on a morphine based med. Doc ordered 2 tabs every night. Only problem was it caused great stomach pain so I had to cut back to every other day. It worked well for a while. Now that I'm off the morphine based meds, Activia every morning seems to help everything work just fine. I like the comments about the Triscuits though, I like Triscuits so I will try that. Good excuse for a great snack.
Happy saturday
sick and tired of being sick and tired

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
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   Posted 3/27/2010 1:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Sure. The reason I even tried them is because a lot of the medication for constipation just doesn't agree with me and I have so many severe allergies that it's always a risk for me to try a new medication. I never thought they'd work! I eat them in the afternoon for lunch, and then I have oatmeal at night.

Also, I am on very high doses, and it works wonders.

I've also read that olive oil is great. Everyone is so different, but for me (thank God) changes in diet have been enough to keep things going.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 610
   Posted 3/27/2010 1:37 PM (GMT -6)   
The reason why pain meds cause constipation has something to due with the opioid receptors in our intestines and it kinda paralyzes the smooth muscles, including our intestine. And of course the longer the stool sits in our intestines, the more water gets absorbed by the intestines causing it to get dry.

Also people with chronic pain should be very careful with Miralax as it eventually pulls fluid from our muscles causing body pain especially in the legs. So it's not somehting I would do everyday. But sometimes I wish my pain meds would cause constipation, I seem to have the opposite problem all the time.

I also would try the Acai juice, it tastes really good and will CLEAN you out, just a small glass of it will do this, and it's very good for your body.

BUt like others have said, daily walking atleast, if you cant do regulaur excersizing, and lots of water and a high fiber diet. And stay away as much as possible from cheeses and other constipating foods.


Carmen~*~*~Chronic Pain Moderator

DX-Chronic Pain due to two freak car accidents, Pancreatic Divisum,Fibromyalgia, Asthma, Depression w/anxiety, Migraines

Meds- Suboxone 16mg for pain, Cymbalta 60mg, Lyrica 50mg, Imitrex 100mg PRN,Ibprofen 800mg PRN, Ventolin Inhaler PRN, Visteril PRN


Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 291
   Posted 3/28/2010 8:44 AM (GMT -6)   
I want to thank everybody that has given their suggestions. I love this place and I love everybody here. It's taken several days for the laxatives to get out of my system, so every morning, I'm in the bathroom, but I'm not constipated anymore. Thanks again!!!

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 492
   Posted 3/28/2010 11:39 AM (GMT -6)   
Hubby bought me some ducolax last night. I took some this morning . I am just waiting it to kick in . If I havent went by the time I see the surgeon on thursday I will tell him. Hubby said my stomach is so bloated but I think its from the laproscopic gas they gave me during surgery.
im dxed with  herniated discs,fibromylagia , scolosis,ddd,athritis, spinal stenosis ,gerd,gastric ulcer,gastroparesis..gallbladder removal 3/23/10.
meds,ambien, prilosec otc,lortab ,reglan,flonase and  trazodone.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 39
   Posted 3/28/2010 12:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear "Don't you wish you could just go potty like everyone else."
I don't know which medications you're taking, but I can tell you that narcotics can plug you up quicker than you can blink.  When you finally do manage to get things going, it's like a small import is being expelling itself out of your back end.  Isn't this the **** well you get the point.
How I've managed this most annoying of all things:
1:  I actually replaced the toilets in my house since I was so  tired of plugging up my old ones.  I found the highest rating of getting the rough stuff down the potty I could.  Toilet manufactures rate this with tennis balls.  Mine are suppose to take 36 at a time!  Nevertheless I still plug up my pot around 50% of the time.  It's rough going at times.  I'm quite close to my plunger these days.  We're on a first name basis.
2:  Think of yourself as a camel.  The more fluids you keep in your body, the better odds you will in having enough librication to get the hard stuff out.  It's time to start those 8 glasses of water routine up and running.
3:  There is a really great product called GlycoLax that requires a prescription, but is well worth the effort.  Finally something that won't cramp you or me to death, and that's easy enough on the body so you don't feel like you're going to die because of being backed up to the gills.  Tasteless, this easy to use powder can be put in any kind of food or water and yet won't mess it up your food or beverage with some nasty taste or other even worse side effects most over the counter "get the poop" flowing cures always promise but that usually do cause such as bloating, cramping and sweats.
4:  Try and keep your body moving.  We need to keep things moving south, so we need exercise.  If you're wheelchair bound like I am, this is harder, but even if you go for a whirl in a manual wheelchair, you'll find your tummy muscles have gotten a work out so everything passes along just a bit easier.
Here's hoping everything "goes" well.  Bob.
After an accident in  1997 crushed the nerves in my pelvis, halfway down the calf and at the fibular head (knee), my left leg slowly started to turn color from the foot up, along with swelling and temp change.  Within 2 weeks I was diagnosed with RSD.  By 1999 I landed in a wheelchair and started a life taking narcotics all the time. In 2004 I got an Intrathecal morphine pump &5 years ago the RSD spread to my right leg and has done around 80% of the damage it did to my left leg in half the time. 1 1/2 years ago I went septic, and the infection did go body-wide.  After 2 days in the hospital I then had a clot in my lungs.  Both should have killed me, but this time I got lucky.  Meanwhile I've been battling blood clots for the last 4 years.  A year ago my left leg was ampuated above the knee after ging septic.  Guess that about say's it all.  Bob.

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