Asking for pain meds

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Heather Lynn
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 283
   Posted 7/5/2011 10:56 AM (GMT -6)   
I have had low back pain/SI joint dysfunction for about a year now. During this time, the pain has always fluctuated, going from feeling "almost better" at about a 3/10 to fairly intense at 7/10. During this time, I have only had naproxen and now prescription strength naproxen for the pain. That has given me more 3/10 days, but when a more intense pain day happens, I'm just miserable. I've been very hesitant to ask for anything stronger, as I'm afraid of being seen as drug seeking. I'm getting SI joint injections in a week and a half, so I feel like I should just tough it out. But I also have to make it through two 5 hour plane rides this week, and my pain has been pretty intense this week.

How have you brought up getting better pain relief with your doctor? Should I just tough it out for a week and a half and hope the injections bring my pain down?

Snowbunny21
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3557
   Posted 7/5/2011 11:30 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Heather, I don't think I have popped in on your intro post yet so it's nice to 'meet' you....I am sorry that you have pain and have to be here...but it's a wonderful place to be where we all can empathize with your pain...

I'm not sure if you see a Rheumatologist or a Pain Mgmt. Dr?

I have had pain issues consistently for about 10 years now....as well as I am now friends with my PM outside of our appts. whom I have seen over the last 4 1/2 years....What I have learned from him, is that it's best to keep a journal of your daily pain levels...and write down things that aggravate your pain, what things you are doing at home to help with your pain...are your pain levels worse at night...or the am? and where it is exactly hurting when you do 'xyz' during the day....and what 'type' of pain it is....shooting, burning, stabbing, throbbing, dull, achey, sharp, etc...

Then...in your next appt. with your Dr. you can share all these details...Most Dr. want to deal with facts/figures....and then...I would never ask for a specific type of medicine....or say that you want stronger medicines...

Once you share with your Dr. all those things from your journal....then you can say..."what can you and I do to have as a plan of attack to keep my pain levels at a manageable level each day"....You should be part of the team too....Wanting to do exercise each day that is approved by the Dr....even if it's simple walking each day...eating healthy, not smoking, trying the injections...using aqua therapy to help...

And if you are having nerve pain which is one of the stronger type pains with Fibromyalgia....then talk about this...There are some really helpful nerve pain medicines like Lyrica, Cymbalta, and Neurontin....

Or if you are having muscle pain...There are medicines like Flexeril, Robaxin, Skelaxin or Soma...etc....

As well as there are now many studies that show that one of the possible causes of Fibromyalgia is that we aren't getting to Stage 4 sleep...So even if we 'sleep' for 6 or 8 hours....our bodies are not getting the restorative sleep to help 'repair' itself....as well as our nerves are over-reacting...so we have this strong nerve pain when there is actually nothing physically wrong....like a shooting pain in our leg that can feel like it got slammed in a door but obviously that isn't the case...It still makes the pain real...but it's because our nerves are sending the wrong signals to our brains...

So after my last surgery...I was put on Ambien to help sleep as my pain was so high after my fusion...and literally after two weeks...my fatigue that was overwhelming with my Fibro was pretty much gone...I hadn't felt that rested in years....both my energy and my mood improved because of getting the restorative sleep, which also helped lower my pain levels as I could 'handle' my pain better each day...So for me, my Fibro is considered in remission right now...

It's wonderful that with the Naproxen you are having days with a 3 on the pain scale...that is great news!!...So, you can share that with your Dr. and that you are looking for help on those days that it goes higher....and again...share with them what you are willing to do that is non medicinal to help as well....They need to know that people aren't just coming to get a medicine to 'fix' all their pain...(not saying you are doing this...just speaking in general about most Dr.s)...

And with chronic pain...if there isn't something that can actually be 'fixed' and healed...we unfortunately have to live with pain in our lives and the Dr. is there to help us 'manage' this...

I live with a 5-7 most days with my pain levels due to my 3 fusion surgeries...and I am on both narcotics, a muscle relaxer, a sleep medicine, I walk 30-45 minutes per day, eat all Organic, do aqua therapy, acupuncture, injections when needed, have gone to counseling to help with my pain....

So I truly hope that you can start keeping a daily pain journal and then meet with your Dr. to find a good, comprehensive plan to use all modalities to manage your pain at a good level...
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) Oct 2006
 
 

Screaming Eagle
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 7/5/2011 11:55 AM (GMT -6)   
 
 
             Morning Heather!...here is the pain Journal many of the CP members use. Feel free to print it out for daily use, and present it to your PCD or PM on your next appointment.
 
 
    ...also listed here is the Pain Scale that I personally use...and by the way, both of these forms can be found in the "Chronic pain 101" I had mentioned in you're earlier post.
 
 
   ......as far as asking for you're med's to be increased...it depends on the relationship you have with your DR....and maybe if you have any abuse history. Most of the members here find that asking the DR what he can do for your pain....seems to be the best approach. Be honest, and lay it all out to him....but let him take the lead if possible. If he doesn't seem like he will....then tell him again that you are suffering enough that you're quality of life is poor.
 
My Dr always ask me what I want, and I always answer that he is the Dr, and he should make the suggestion.
I hope you have good luck in your upcoming appointment, and that a solution to you're pain can be found quickly.
 
     One last thing...I think it is very wrong for a PCD to let their patient's suffer needlessly....and if they will not treat, then simply find one who will. It is important to get what you need, not what you want.
 
     Stay on the low end of the pain med's if at all possible, as you may have a very long life of pain ahead of you...and may need room to up your med's. Once you become tolerant of them....there is no going backwards. The idea, is not to be completely pain free, but it should be scripted to a quality of life you can handle.
 
      Keep asking questions here and stay engaged with the members, and you will do just fine. There is a lot of combined experience here, and a wealth if information to help you....so take advantage of it.
 
 
     
 
    SE wink
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Weekly Quote!

"Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together"

Post Edited (Screaming Eagle) : 7/5/2011 11:15:23 AM (GMT-6)


Snowbunny21
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3557
   Posted 7/5/2011 12:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for posting that SE...I knew that HW had one somewhere but I couldn't remember:)
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) Oct 2006
 
 

Screaming Eagle
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 7/5/2011 12:23 PM (GMT -6)   
 
    ...Yep!...Snowy!...I was very surprised you missed it! LOL
 
     ....you usually cover all the bases! smilewinkgrin ....LOL
 
   I do greatly appreciate you're help though!....your a good Kid! wink
 
      SE wink
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Weekly Quote!

"Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together"

Snowbunny21
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3557
   Posted 7/5/2011 12:36 PM (GMT -6)   
Wheee...I'm a good 'kid' at almost 43...I love it!:)
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) Oct 2006
 
 

Heather Lynn
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 283
   Posted 7/5/2011 1:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Screaming Eagle - I actually had just gone and downloaded the pain journal from Chronic Pain 101. What a great informative post. Thanks for the pain scale, I hadn't looked at that yet, it has good descriptions, I never know what exactly the numbers mean.

I didn't mention I also take Neurontin for the fibromyalgia pain. It has definitely helped tone down my overall pain levels, but my low back is still screaming. I have used Flexeril and Skelaxin in the past, and they help a bit.

I am actually seeing my PCP and a physical medicine/spine clinic doctor. My PCP manages my meds. She is definitely open to managing my pain. I'm not sure why I am so hesitant, actually.
Fibromyalgia, low back pain/SI joint dysfunction, anxiety, obstructive sleep apnea, endometriosis, asthma

Screaming Eagle
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 7/5/2011 2:50 PM (GMT -6)   
 
     ...it's ok...many of us have gone through those feelings, and still do. Just be truthful and open, and let her do the scripting. Please do let us know how it goes!
 
   It's good to have you here, and if we can be of anymore help, just ask! The members are more than willing to share their thoughts.
 
    If Snoybunny replies...grab a cup of coffee and some reading glasses, cause your going to need it! smilewinkgrin
 
        She is young, wink ....but has a lot of experience! Did I tell you we have a little fun here too?!!! wink
 
       Take care!...and again enjoy the forum! I do!!! wink
 
   SE wink
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Weekly Quote!

"Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together"

Angeleyes13
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 636
   Posted 7/5/2011 3:10 PM (GMT -6)   


I really like these two resources. It really makes me see that when my doctor asks me a pain level I truely am under estimating my pain levels. I usually say oh, 4-5 when I should really be saying 7-8,lol. I think I will print both of these out for my appointment on Thursday.
DX: CRPS/RSD full body, Fibro, CP, DDD, DJD, OSA, Syringomyelia, Arachnoiditis, failed fusion. Fusions C5-6, L5-S1, hardware removal and removal of scar tissue. SCS trial successful awaiting placement.
MEDS:To many to mention, changes every week it seems.

Jim1969
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 7/5/2011 6:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Heather, talk to your doctor about how you are feeling and be honest in what you are looking for, just don't ask for a specific medication. If there are meds you can not take it is fine to bring those up, but asking for a specific med does tend to make one sound like a drug seeker.

However saying something to the effect of.."My current medications work decent most of the time, but on my bad pain days it is like I am taking candy. They don't seem to help at all on those days. What else can we do to help with pain levels on those days?"

Of course having a pain journal is a great tool to have. Take that to your doctor so s/he can see how many bad days you are having and it may also help you and/or the doctor detect triggers or patterns that can help better tailor a treatment plan.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

Heather Lynn
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 283
   Posted 7/6/2011 10:19 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone, I had an appointment with a new doctor today (my regular doctor is on vacation) and I explained to her what I was feeling. I used the advice here to explain that I have had improvement on the Rx strength Naproxen, but that when the pain flares up, nothing I have currently (Tylenol, Flexeril) helps. She wrote me a prescription for 60 pills of Tylenol #4. I know that doesn't sound like much compared to what many on this board take, but it should be enough to keep me comfortable for a while. So I am very relieved.

I also decided to work from home today so I can sit in my recliner, which doesn't aggravate my back. And with some pain relief, I can do PT twice today like I am supposed to.
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