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Hi all. I have had C3-4 Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Spinal Fusion. Unfortunately it did not relieve my pain. I also recently have had arthroscopic shoulder surgery where they repaired a torn labrum and a torn tendon as well as removed a lot of arthritus. The surgeon a couple weeks after offered me a cortisone shot which I refused, as I am getting sick of all these meds. I now have great pain in both  areas. I do not know what to do. I am on fentanyl at 50 mcg every three days and about 4 percocets per day for break out pain. Really this does not stop my pain so I am at the point of thinking after a couple of years of being on oxy and now this to just get off it all. I am very scared that I am addicted. Since I am going to have a lot of pain either way I am wondering if I should just try and come off it all ? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I tried this once before (doctor assisted) and failed. Then my doctor was an *** about keeping me on my meds, so I do not wish to involve him until I know I can do it. He said things like well you wanted off now what has happened. Well the pain was bad , so I got scared. I was hoping for help from those that have done it before .Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am in canada so perhaps that can affect other available meds etc.
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I so understand where you're coming from.  Long story short:  9 surgeries for a joint replacement that failed, wound up with nerve damage and RSD, pain was out of control.  Pain clinic kept escalating my meds (75 mcg Fentanyl every 48 hours, 45 to 60 mg. oxycodone every 4 hours, 90 mg Cymbalta, 10 mg Ambien, 1 mg Ativan 3 times a day, 1800 mg Neuronton and probably some I'm forgetting.)

I was convinced I was an addict, though after a lot of introspection and research I realize I was "only" dependent.  But my pain was not being controlled even with all those meds.  I don't know whether I had hyperalgesia; it's real and happens.  I came off everything with basically the help of this forum (love you Vicki!!!)

I tapered and sometimes tapered too quickly.  Especially with Fentanyl, the idea is to do a very slow taper and let your body adjust.  I did have rebound pain but I managed it with other things.  I was in and out of withdrawal for a long time (but I was on a lot of meds for nearly 5 years.)

Most of the time i manage my pain without narcotics.  Right now I have to make a decision on going on a long-acting one again, and i'm resistant to it because I know how hard it was to come off.  But right now my function is so impaired and the pain has been so bad that I'm considering it for the winter.

I will say I would never use Fentanyl again unless I knew I wouldn't be coming off it.  It is one of the harder meds to come off.

Sometimes doctors just want you to do what they want, even if in your heart you know you need to try a different route.  Maybe it's time for a new doctor who lets you be a bigger part of the decision process.

Do you abuse your meds?  If not, then you're dependent, not addicted.  Of course, my fear was one day I might slide into addiction ... people a whole lot smarter than me got caught in that trap.

Quality of life is really important.  If your pain is impeding your life to the extent that you can hardly do your daily activities or you're isolating because of your pain, then you may need it.  My feeling was that I wanted to try to come off and see how it went and figured I can always go back if I need to.

Winter is the worst for me and very simple things are getting harder for me to do so right now I'm trying to decide on possibly using Opana ER for the winter and then tapering off come spring.  

I've found relief in lidoderm patches, Voltaren gel, compounding gels, ibuprofen, heat, ice, distraction, etc.  But there are times that doesn't work and after a few weeks of really bad pain I will take oxycodone to try to break the pain cycle.  Unfortunately it's not helping much at the moment.

If you decide to come off your meds, this forum is a huge help, even if you're not addicted.  There's also a pain management forum here.  It used to be very active with lots of support but unfortunately it's very slow lately and a lot of the "old-timers" aren't there anymore.  But you may find some good support there as well.

Again, with tapering, the slower the better.  Hope you'll let us know what you decide.
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