Exercising while on pain meds.

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 9/27/2011 11:26 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey everyone, hope you're having a low pain day!

I thought I'd jump on here and ask for some opinions on something. I'm going to ask my doctor about this too, so I am not expecting an actual medical response, just everyone's opinions and/or experiences.

Basically, since my back pain intensified last year, I have gained almost 30lbs. That's a lot of weight for me and I know its horrible for my body/heart--and my back! But I am already eating rather low calorie foods. I don't eat red meats, I only eat whole grains, and I eat lots of lean meat like chicken and turkey. But I still gain or stay around the same weight. That's probably because I don't exercise. Or really move much. lol!

The reason is because it actually really hurts me to walk very fast or up hills or anything like that, so I can't take walks like I used to. However, I have a treadmill with a low setting and adjustable incline. It still really hurts when and after I use it, though. So what I was wondering is if taking my pain medication--Tramadol--and then exercising while it is sort of still helping me, if that would be ok. If so, I think that by taking the medication and then exercising soon afterwards, I may be able to walk for 15-30 minutes at a time. Anything like that would help. I just don't wanna mess myself up by doing this so I'm wanting to hear what some of you think.

Like I said, I intend to ask my doctor about this too--but I just wanted some advice beforehand. :)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 256
   Posted 9/27/2011 4:05 PM (GMT -6)   
I am an exercise buff... and avid tennis player

I love working out.... although it's a double edge sword... if I don't workout... my entire body gets so stiff and pain sets in everywhere... but when I work out I have pain.... for me it's worth the way it keeps my body in shape and helps my mind.

I am 6 months post posterior cervical spine surgery... I started playing tennis three weeks ago (I play competitive doubles on a team) and just this week started doing my workout DVD's.

I only do what I can... if I can't do an exercise I modify it..

Personally I find Pilates and Yoga the most helpful with my pain.... I really think everyone of all shapes and sizes should try it.... at first it may be hard or painful... but again, just do what you can do and each time it gets easier and better! Each time add more time to your routine

I am working on getting back to my pre-surgery weight of 133... I gain about 10 pounds while recovering... watching my calories didn't work for me... so now I am working out again.

Do make sure to ask your Dr first... mine approved what I am doing... while I am still having a lot of muscle pain... I am trying my hardest and best.

Good luck!
C3 through C7 right open door laminoplasty, C2 through C10 hemilaminectomies, C2 through C7 right forminotomy, and left C5 through C7 foraminotomies, C3-C5 structural rib allograft and local vertebral autograft & C7 with the same allograft & local verterbral autograft & Vertex instrumentation C3-C5

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 816
   Posted 9/27/2011 8:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Kathy/nini here, I believe exercise is very important to all around good health.  Sadly most of us are limited to what we can do.  I know I cannot do any exercise having to do with laying of the floor, even with a yoga mat.  I do my exercise by walking, (public transportation is what I do since I dont drive) and buses dont take you to the front of your home, you have to walk from bus stop to another, so its good cardio.
I have gained about 25 lbs. since I quit smoking, now quitting is great, I have 6 (well almost) months under my belt without a cig.  For me, that remarkable.  Now the weight gain, I could live without as it puts so much more strain on my lower back and my hips which are rapidly crumbling.  I have lost weight before using the Weight Watchers point-plus regimen.  It works, my daughter turned me on to it, and she has kept off the weight that she lost.  I am sure I could have, but quitting smoking got in the way.  I was so tired of being lectured by my grandchildren 10 and 5 about smoking I finally just threw in the towel.
So I walk, do some upper body yoga stuff, clean house, grocery shop and although not a conventional way of exercise, I have to do what works for me without hurting myself more than I already do.   As I said cant get on the floor, it just hurts to much, besides, if I get down on the floor, it will take a backhoe to get me back up and I will spare myself that embarassment.  Also I play couch football, very invigorating.
Take care all,
degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, neuropathy, lumbar laminectomy july 1998 no help, rechargeable neurostimulator unit low right back w/lead wires to left side and right leg unit not working just sitting there.i am 57 years young in may will turn 58. i have 2 grown daughters, 25 and 29. i have 2 grandchildren, 9 year old grandaughter and 5 yr. old grandson

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1522
   Posted 9/27/2011 11:07 PM (GMT -6)   
I've noticed that if I take a tramadol then get on the treadmill, the tramadol kicks in faster and with a bit more "kick." The first few times, I almost fell off the treadmill because I wasn't expecting it.

White Beard
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3702
   Posted 9/28/2011 12:31 AM (GMT -6)   
This past summer I had to go to a pulmonary rehab class, it was three days a week an hour and a half for each session. It consisted of a host of different exercises, from treadmill to a step machine and a hand crank pedal machine and stretching and weight lifting, some of the stuff I could not do because of my back. Most all of it caused me to have extreme pain. So about 20 or 30 minutes before the class I took my percocet for break through pain. I found it to work really well for me, and it helped me get through the class. I know when I was in nursing in Oncology allot of times the doctors prescribed pain meds for patients before a sceduled procedure or physical therapy. It is alway easier for the patient to prevent the pain from occurring in the first place, than to wait till the person is in extreme pain and then try to get it under control. So please talk to your doctor about it, and see what he tells you. My pain doctor thought it was a great thing to do. Even before I went to that pulmonary rehab class, I had extensive physical therapy for several months because of my fusion at C-3/4 with the addition of rods and pins. The pain meds definitely made the physical therapy more tolerable. I am sure I could not have done it with out taking them first.

I do wish you welll!

White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
After spending nearly 22 1/2 years in the USAF, I retired in Sept, 1991. I then went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, and I worked on Oncology and then a Med Surg Unit, I became disabled in late 1999 and was approved SSD in early 2002!-- DDD, With herniated Disk at T-12 and L4-5. C5-C6 ACDF in Sep 2009, C6-C7 ACDF in Mar 1985, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!) Medications:Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV I am White Beard with a White Beard!

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 9/28/2011 7:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Misterkatamari
I have found that weather it be exercise or working around the house I go by a schedule of taking my pain meds and relaxing for 2 hours and than work or work out for the next 2. This way by the time I'm finished working (which generally 2 hours is the max time I can last) I can relax and take more pain meds to combat the pain I've just put myself in. So far this has worked pretty well for me. You should keep in mind that it may be easy to overdue it when feeling good so I would caution anyone working out on pain meds. Consulting your doc first is always the best idea. Good luck and take care.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 9/28/2011 9:34 AM (GMT -6)   
I have a recumbent bike here at home and I do use it, somedays I only can do 2 minutes on it, but
on a good day I can sometimes get above 5 minutes on it.
You might want to ask about physical therapy first as a way to slowly get back into exercising,
don't go to fast and don't let them push you hard in physical therapy...always start slowly and build
your way up to it, even if it you can only do 1 minute a day. that 1 minute is better than not doing anything.
Many well wishes to you and do keep us posted on how your doing.
* So many dx's I could write a book* "It would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 932
   Posted 9/28/2011 9:55 AM (GMT -6)   
Like Chartreux, I have a recumbent bike.

I've never been able to get much into physical fitness. I get bored and just don't enjoy exercise, sports, etc..

So, what I do is either read or watch tv on the bike. I keep the bike at the lowest resistance and just peddle away. You can get a cheap alternative to a recumbent bike for <$40 (i.e. just a peddle set) or a half-decent bike for under two hundred. I think putting it in front of the t.v. (or bringing a book, magazine, even laptop) is the key if you're not into exercise.
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