Narcotics through the roof - where does it end?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 22
   Posted 1/19/2011 6:34 PM (GMT -6)   
I really hazard to discuss narcotic use and the amounts as I don't want others to think I am trying to make indications that my pain condition is worse than others. Pain is impossible to determine in another person.

My back injury is due to repetitive strain over 25 years working in construction as a sheet metal worker. I finally finished myself off 4 years ago by bending at the waste to waste height, reaching out three feet to lift 80 lbs pieces of stainless steel and twisting to set them on a bench behind me. My injury resulted in multiple herniated discs in my neck, and degenerative discs in my neck and upper back. Oddly imaging results often commented "essentially normal", ya whatever, my pain is not normal. From there I have not been able to work at all. Long story short, WSIB (compensation) approved my case, and recently Canada Pension Plan Disability approve my file.

What concerns me is the amount of narcotics needed and my rapid tolerance to them. I am currently taking 75 mcg/h fentanyl one patch per day as my body uses the three day patch this quickly. I'd estimate this equates to 225 mcg/h of fentanyl which converts to the equivalent of about 800 mg of morphine per day. I also take between 4-8 Oxy-IR 10 mg per day. I think this would be enough narcotics to kill a horse. I am only 48 and wonder when this escalating narcotic need to control pain needs to be a serious concern if not already. My GP is not comfortable with the amount required, this is not to say he questions whether I am addicted and looking for a "High".

I am considering nerve block injections and wonder if anyone has had luck with them. They worry me, having needles injected into my spine or close, and have been told they need to be done every two weeks.

Opinions please.

Thanks, Bob

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 1/19/2011 8:28 PM (GMT -6)   
I am having injections every 6 weeks into my lower back and upper shoulder area. They are so helpful. They hurt for a few days then I get great relief. I don't know what I would do without them.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 1/19/2011 8:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Give the injections a try to see if you can get some relief from them,
sometimes people get relief sometimes they don't, but it's a starting point.
and I would recommend you get updated mri's with contrast, not all places have good
mri machines so not all mri's are good, sometimes it depends on the size of
the magnet in those machines. Hope this info helps, others will come by with better
info, take heed, nice to meet you, sure wish it was under better circumstances than chronic pain.
Hope you can get a low pain day soon.
(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((( Bob))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
Healing hugz and well wishes
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc (Lower Lumbar S1-L3 and Cervical C5,C6, C8 and T1), Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's, Ocular Migraines, mild carpel tunnel, ect.... "Would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...


Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 22
   Posted 1/19/2011 9:36 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you both for your replies.

I'm very encouraged by "billyf27" in that you get relief from them. I'm very apprehensive due to the thought that I would need injections from the top of my neck to mid back. Maybe I wouldn't need that many, just my own thought.

In response to Chartreux, I often wonder if another round of imaging would be of benefit. I expect my GP would be reluctant to refer me for these as he would expect there to be no changes. I would also wonder what could have changed since my lifestyle has change completely. I will ask to see the pain specialist that wanted to give me injections and ask him to send me for imaging.

Thanks so much, it really helps to know there's others out there.

More opinions are welcome.


Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 99
   Posted 1/20/2011 5:33 AM (GMT -6)   
I have never had nerve blocks but I just finished a round of three shots (1 every two weeks) of spinal/epidural cortisone injections.
I can tell you that the injections themselves weren't all that painful. They numb you up pretty well- its not a party for sure but it wasn't even close to the pain that I, and sounds like you, go through everyday in our lives. Being numbed up was like being numbed at the dentist- a sharp pain for a split second and then nothing really after that. The large gage shot after that kind of felt like going camping and sleeping on a rock under your back- it hurts a little and is really annoying! And it took about 10 minutes for the whole thing-getting situated on the table and set- up, the cleaning of the injection area, the numbing all the way to the spine, and then the cortisone injection. And I was sore the next day in my back like you wouldn't believe but again nothing worse than what you already deal with daily. I know its not exactly what you are looking into- but its close. I wish you all the best with whatever you choose- and be really appreciative that you have a doctor that will prescribe pain medicine- some of us aren't so lucky! No matter what you decide you are in my thoughts and prayers- good luck! I hope it all works out for you!!!
Dx'd: TMJ-1997; High Blood Pressure- 2007; Fibromyalgia- 2009; Raynaud's- 2009; Arthritis- 2010

Medications- Who can keep up? If its out there for what I have or might work to prevent pain for what I have then I have tried it. But actual pain relievers- not so easy to get in the Land of the Free.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 856
   Posted 1/20/2011 12:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello. I read an article once about how some people need super high doses of narcotics to control their pain. Have you ever been tested to see if it has something to do with your metabolism?



Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16796
   Posted 1/20/2011 12:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Chronic, I have never heard of anyone needing one patch a day either and yes I am with you it sounds like a lot of medication to be on daily. But, I am not a dr or a pharmacist so I really cannot say much on that note. If it were me, I would be very concerned and be trying to get some drs to find out why this is going on. Between the high dose of medication and what the effects of it with my liver, yes, I would be concerned. I noticed you are not seeing a pain mgt dr instead its your PCP, any reason that you cannot consult with a pain mgt dr for an second opinion? Most of us on here see pain mgt drs as they tend to know more on how to treat CP better than a PCP because they will often do injections and procedures and of course different combos of meds.

I hear you on it sounding scary with the blocks and such but its not as bad as it sounds. Who will be doing these injections? I have had several different kind of blocks/injections over the years and I always got nervous the day before even though I had them done many times before.

Has anyone ever talked to you about having an intrathecal pain pump implanted? People with pumps tend to use less medications because the medication used is stronger than oral form but less in dosage over all. I have a pump and have had mine since June 2005. I would rather have the pump any day over watching a clock for the next dose or to change a pain patch.

Good luck with the blocks and take care.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 52
   Posted 1/22/2011 6:19 AM (GMT -6)   
Honestly, we all have diff metabolisms and diff levels of ebing a sheet metal worker...your body wuld burn around 5000-6000 calories a day just because you were on your feet all day...that would epxlain a GREAT deal as to why you go through it so fast....the rest...i am no expert on, but i am an expert on nutrition and health and i know metabolism plays a great role in any substance entering your body, drug, alscohol or otherwise.
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