Can long term use of hydrocodone cause neuropathic burning in feet ?
I have had long time pain in back due to what one rhumatologist said was due to inflamation (arthritis) in my spine. She also said I had arthritis all over my spine. I had bad side effects from the NSAIDS and was given hydrocodone. She said I might have ankylosing spondylitis due to something found in blood. This was over 10 years ago. I have taken hydrocodone in different amounts and strengths ever since. I have gone thru periods of abuse, and could never tolerate coming completely off it. I will admit that I have used higher doses at night like an alcoholic uses alcohol to "mellow out as well as to relieve pain". I finally confessed to my current MD about my history and my obtaining much more hydrocodone then he thought I was on. I mean huge doses at night. He brought me down to 10 5/325s a day for my pain and I have been managing to stay on 10 to 11 each day. Only not scattered thru the day, but about 7 at my evening "vicodin cocktail time". About six months ago I started walking to lose weight in very poor shoes. My feet swelled. I eventually went from my lifetime 2E to my present 6E before I could find walking shoes that fit. But to reduce swelling I was placed on a laxix. I had stopped the walking. But as the feet and ankle swelling got better I begin to experience what has been the NIGHTMARE of my life. My feet begin to tingle at first with numb sensations. Then a hot burning discomfort would set in. I can not wear socks are shoes for over an hour without this horrible burning pain in feet. It does not burn at night (some due to the huge hydrocodone in system I guess) but when I wake up in the mornings there is still no feet problem. But as soon as my feet hit the carpet or floor this sensitive feet syndrome begins to build and eventually builds in to a bruning pain. My MD has given me two blood panels, including checking for B-12, magnisium, and of course the panel reports no diabetes, liver, kidney, etc. problems. He ran me thru the treadmill test for heart to see if I had a heart condition. He has never mentioned my monthly supply of hydrocodone which I now can control (at least the total pills a day). He knows I need pain relief for spine, but he thinks I scatter pills thru the day. He finally gave me Lyrica and in a week my ankles and feet were swollen again. It was a catch 22. Laxix for the swelling but lyrica then caused feet to swell. Nothing actually helped but this V something gel that I put on feet and it numbed the burning. Elevating feet no longer seems to help. The gell also caused my feet to swell and itch and increased the intensity of the burning pain in my feet so I stopped it. Only relief I get is to numb my brain with hydrocodone around 5 to 6pm when the burning is reaching a point I can not live with. So now the hydrocodone does not give me a mellow feeling except the mellow feeling of NO BURNING. I might add that if I sit with feet hanging down at computer for over 2 hours like right about now I can feel the burning tingling sensation wanting to come. I know I am talking too much but a foot MD suggested I see a neurologist and said this was peripheral neuropathic pain and claimed I had good blood flow in feet. (yet my wife can massage the burning away for an hour or so after hour massage). My longtime trusting MD (PCP) seems perplexed and he thought the neurologist was the best bet for next step. It takes two months to get in (Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, Texas area). I have an appointment but my "big secret is my long term abuse of hydrocodone. Am I abusing it now? I take the amount each month I get but these are baby Vicodins to a past abuser who once was taking as much as 60 to 80 mg at my cocktail hour before I went thru the HELL of tapering down to my current family MD only prescribed 50 to 55 mg a day with maybe 35mg to 40mg coming in the "cocktail hour". Now with this horrible burning pain I can not see myself going thru the HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE and tapered with my MDs help down to my current level. I have read where alcoholics get this burning foot syndrome but thought probalby due to not eating right. I eat very well and healthy.Also take vitamins. I am scared to death of trying to taper off hydrocodone completelly since it is only thing that has ever worked. I have stayed away from Oxcoton or whatever the stronger Opiates are. Please give me some help. Do you think it is the overuse of the hydrocodone that is at the bottom ot my burning soles of feet.and swelling ?
How are you?
Burning feet syndrome is also known as Grierson gopalan syndrome. It usually occurs due to pressure being put on the peripheral nerves.
It is associated with hypothyroidism, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and vitamin B deficiency and renal failure.
This cannot occur due to abuse of oxycodone. I would suggest you to take OTC B complex supplements and see if these help.
thank you very much for the information on my sensitive burning feet. I have made an appointment with a neurologist for this coming tuesday Sept. 9, 2008. I will bring your information with me. I hope that this may begin the end to this horrible suffering. And if I was able to give you enough information and your reccomedation works I will be eternally grateful. This has been the most disabling medical condition I have ever experienced. Burningfootman
I took those lortabs for years and alot a day and now I have burning, hot and red feet. Also I have ulnar nerve pain in both arms which I believe the painkillers might have caused. when I stand on my feet for any period of time my feet hurt and swell and get hot and red, just the bottom. I am seeing a vein and vascular person next..nuerologist didn't help much and General Doctor says he doesn't know exactly but that my nerves are causing the problem. I have PAD and DVT also...I have clogged arteries in my feet but many people do and this shouldn't cause the swelling and hot and red feet.
"This has been the most disabling medical condition I have ever experienced" -BuringFeetMan. I feel your pain and in the exact same way, under what I suspect are the exact same conditions!
Finally! Someone else with burning feet and almost exactly my history that also suspects the opiate medication. I developed exactly the same burning feet symptoms you describe (BuringFeetMan) about 1 1/2 years ago and tied it to the medication almost immediately. I have been chasing it since. Apparently this was close to the same time you made your post here. Everything you describe from years of use and overuse to the time of day it is worst. Even if there is no cure at least someone else possibly understands that it is a direct result of the opiate use. I personally have narrowed it down through careful process of elimination, including agonizing opiate withdrawal on my own, to only the opiate in the pain meds or something that it causes in me. Recently after racking my brain as to what might have changed and caused this I started to suspected lowered testosterone and replacement therapy for it will be the next thing I peruse as it is about all I can think of that has changed due to the pain meds. I am also going to go back to my general practitioner and ask for another prostate exam since it seems the bilateral pain seems to in ways be originating from that area. It is just a guess though since I have regular physicals once a year. The 6 doctors I have seen for this specifically for this burning, 2 of which I have seen twice are of no help and even deny any knowledge of there being a relationship to the burning and the opiates. However, I am still at a loss as to how to deal with the over the top painful burning or the alternative of dealing with the pain that started my use of pain medications in the first place.
Since the onset of the burning I have had a Doppler, since it felt like poor circulation or standing in warm water after standing in the snow, but far far worse pain. I had an another MRI of my lower back and then a nerve study that did show peripheral neuropathy. I have taken hydrocodone for about 9 years now and this burning developed about one and half years ago. A B-complex supplement was recommended since my labs showed a very small deficincy, but so did ones from 15 years ago, (Still I continue to use b-total sublingual w folic acid anyway). Nor did near maximum doses of Gabapentin. The gaba's only effect was even more difficult urination. I also waited 4 months to see the neurologist and hear the dead end word "Idiopathic". Since every doctor keeps claiming that they suspect dibeaties I did have the recommended glucose tolerance test. It only showed a 15% over normal and only in the middle hour test though. My triglycerides are high, but that seems to be another problem as they were also high 15 years ago too. The only thing that seems to help is completely stopping the opiate medication, but then I am back where I was 10 years ago with debilitating pain from different multiple injuries in my early twenties. I am in my late forties now. My injuries I take the pain meds for are a foot that was crushed 24 years ago, a still painful knee replacement. I had my last 2 surgeries, 5 total, for the knee replacement in 2004 and high doses of Vancomycin for the infection. I developed shingles a few months afterward due to my depressed immune system and I still wonder if is not the cause of my burning feet, except the Gabapentin was completely ineffective. The opiate pain meds relieve the pain, but even when I am taking them it often overwhelms me to the point I drop my groceries and get to my car to sit asap. Strangely to me, walking is not that bad, but as soon as I slow down to supermarket speeds or stand still it is the second most painful thing I have ever experienced second only to the infected knee surgery and almost no pain medications compared to what I was taking to deal with delays waiting for some way to pay for the surgery. This pain is not getting better though, so it may very well be the worst pain of my life. It is certainly ruining my life more and making me to wonder why I even suffered the knee replacement surgeries since I can't hardly use the 5 year old knee.
To add to the irony, I only had the initial ACL surgery out of desperation for back pain that was from some compressed disks. My knee was replaced only because of an infection from the earlier botched ACL performed by a hack infecting me during an unnecessary ACL surgery. I say hack only because I know people at the hospital that were employed to study the record and this "doctors" infection rate was more than all the other orthopedics surgeons at least at the entire hospital combined. I do have the highest respect for the doctor that saved my life replacing my knee who I desperately consulted on this current neuropathy.
I guess I don't actually have a question here other than what is truly causing this. I will approach this with an open mind, but no one yet has understood how it feels and how directly related I/we know the opiate medication and the burning sensation truly is direct cause and effect.
BuringFeetMan please contact me? If you have any further information or not. Maybe we could share further our histories, treatments, tests. Maybe we can discover some correlation that has been overlooked by our doctors. I would be very interested to hear what your current situation is and I will gladly give you ANY information about myself and updates.
Hi, I have the same problem...namely burning feet after using hydrocodone for persistent pain after a disc fusion. I was recently diagnosed with plantar fascitis but I'm not convinced this is correct since doing prescribed exercises, icing and getting orthotics haven't helped at all. Did you ever try the vitamin B complex? Did you get any relief? Also wondering if wearing running shoes helped because in my case they seem to make my feet hurt worse, even when tied loosely. I appreciate any info you have! Thanks so much, it is good to at least know others are out there who "get it". Hoping you're better by now!
These pain killers wreak havoc on our nervous systems, folks. I'm going through it right at the moment after tapering down off of hydrocodone to zero. 48 hour in. The burning comes in stages. The first stage was the worst and that was when I got to below 30mg a day from 60-80mg/day/1year.
Pain killers are evil as the simple fact of the matter is they are only useful for a VERY, and I mean VERY short period of time for very bad pain (I know there are exceptions, I'm talking about you people that truly suffer badly with for real severe chronic pain as your making a trade off and know it), and that is all anyone should ever use them for.
The moment you start taking higher doses, you've just started a trip down the path to hell on earth because guess what, you're hooked, and when I say hooked you brain chemistry doesn't give a dang what your attitude is about the matter. Your brain stops making it's own dopamine as the opiate replaces your normal chemistry. When you stop taking the drugs, your brain doesn't start making it's old chems right away. This takes time, and for some people they may never be the same if they waited to long to save them selves.
Here is something else I've noticed about hydrocodone. The way a person becomes addicted is so menacing and here is why. When you increase your dose you raise your tolerance (no ***t right), but that's not the point I want to make. The other sneaky little trick hydrocodone pulls on us is this, as your raise your hydrocodone tolerance, your rate of addiction on a graph goes up 'exponentially. In other words if you picture a graph with a steady raising 'straight' line like say a 45 degree angle; okay that is what you think your addiction is doing but what I believe actually happens is that graph actually curves upwards and the effect is what we call "exponential', or the more you take the faster the drug grabs a hold of you, and it's so fast most people my self included don't realize how badly they
are addicted until they're in trouble.
GOOD PEOPLE, FELLOW HUMANS AND FRIENDS, SUMMON EVERYTHING YOU HAVE OR GET HELP AND GET OFF THE OPIATES. WE'RE BETTER THAN THIS. FOR THE FOLKS THAT ARE TRULY IN SERVER CHRONIC PAIN, I FEEL FOR YOU AS YOU ARE CAUGHT BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE.
Yes the pills really do wreak havoc on the nervous system, and it only took one night of accidental overuse for my nervous system to act up for months after. Really I took them because of the euphoria high, then one night I thought the usual dose that I took wasn't working so I kept upping the dose till I got offbalance like a Xanax high I thought it was all good at the time, but I stopped and my breathing slowed down and I started getting tingling feelings in my arms and lowers legs once I went cold turkey for a week I couldn't take it I went to the ER and they prescribed me with hydroxyzine pamoate and promethazine it didn't do much other than stop whatever white frothy spit I kept spitting up from my lung, but now most recently im experiencing sharp tingling and sometimes burning sensation under my ribs and in my abdomen that goes on and off so I definitely screwed up my cns in some way, if anybody knows any herbal treatment or anything that will heal my Nerves please reply asap or email ***@**** it's not the kind of pain where I'm dying on the floor gasping for air but it randomly occurs, I also have ear ringing with it too.
Hi Alb...I too am in an Inferno...lol. I have been taking Lortab 750/500 for about 15 yrs. Prescribed by my Primary Care Phys. Recently I ran out before my next refill (typical) and was forced to go 'cold-turkey' thus causing Flu like symptoms...weakness, insomnia, sweating, misery...depression...etc...This time however it was especially BAD and 'woke me up' and so I decided to quit completely. It has been 30 days since my last pill...Still CRAVING, debating whether to refill my next script, which I taped to my frige w/ a note to myself that says "Stay Awake & Well-Don't Refill!" Anyway...I have this Maddening Tingling-Vibrating Sensation in my Feet that just wont stop. (I was so paranoid I thought it might be MS or something, but it's too coincidental bcuz it coincides with the ceasing of the opiates.) It's beyond annoying...NOT painful/burning. I've read other boards that stipulate 'restless leg syndrome' symptoms as a side effect when quitting...I tell myself it will stop...with time. As I have been taking the pills for 15 yrs...so 30 days is hardly enough time to wash my body clean... I do not ever want to go thru this again!!! Pure HELL. *Do you also have this weird sensation in your feet? feel weakness too? (How did I become a junkie? "I saw The Movie and I Read The Book...but when it Happened to me- I sure was Glad I had what it Took...to Get Away...G2 Get Away :II ~Neil Young) Good Luck To U & Everyone Here....Yes, This Drug IS Beyond Bad!!!
Alb0infern0 and luvsing, we do this to our selves because were trying to escape from our unhappiness. We could be unhappy for any number of reasons. Perhaps we feel we never measured up to life’s expectations, maybe we were abused, didn't do good in school, have parents that inflicted emotional damage onto us, can't find a true love, the list goes on and on. I think deep down inside we know why were not happy, we all have our own reasons.
For some it might actually be depression and there is help for that, but taking more than the Dr. recommend dose of depression meds is going down the rabbit hole too so be smart with it. You have a choice of what path you want to take.
The simple fact is, the only thing drug abuse does is give us a very short temporary stint of feeling good, but then we need more and more. It's a vicious cycle and the truth is the drugs only make us feel worse in the end. Much much worse. It really is no way to live. It’s very costly to us financially, physically and emotionally. Once we figure this out and understand the truth, then we have some choices. We can keep going down that road to misery, or we can take our lives back.
It's hard to kick the drugs, but it can be done and that is the correct path because things do get better with time. They really can, but if you take the other path things will only get worse, and you know this is true.
Here is what's been happening with me. I stayed off the hydrocodone and I'm feeling better. I thinking clearly now, and I'm starting to feel like my old self, and I have to say being my old self is not bad at all. My true personality is back and so I'm not all cranky anymore.
The crazy bad leg pain is gone completely. As for my foot problem with the burning and tingling, well the burning is gone and the tingling had decreased by about 70% I'd say. It’s still getting better, and my gut feeling is some day in the future the tingling will be gone. What I've read about the nerve problems is that the hydrocode creates a disconnect from our brains and nerve pathways. This actually caused nerve damage. The extent of the damage is the critical factor. My guess is some people might have too much damage to ever kick that problem, but other will have improvement. It all just depends on how much damage you did. Icing seemed to help calm things down and also a huge helps has been walking and exercise, and drinking lots of water. Don't shrug of the walking it really does help.
Now here the biggy! This is what I really want you to remember because it's really important. The hydrocode causes more pain in the end. It screws our systems up so bad, and we think were in pain from our injuries, and yes some of our pain is obviously from our injuries, but you'll probably notice that your pain keep increasing and you want more and more hydrocode, well that is not pain from your injuries, its from the hydrocodone. Get this, now that I've been off the hydrocode for a couple months my overall pain has DECREACED! I'm not kidding! I feel so much better. Listen you just have to suck it up and get off that drug, and I promise you, you will feel better. You will!
Hope I'm not ranting here, but I want to help you because I've been there and I know what you're going through. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Find happiness in life ladies and gentlemen. Stop fearing rejection, and ask that guy our or girl out. Take a night class, learn to play guitar, take up art, and what ever your interest is embrace it. Surround yourself with good people, and stop hanging around with partiers. Take your kid/ kids to the beach and watch them play, read a book, join a club and here is why you need activates that are fun. It will keep you busy and away from the bad stuff.
I know that all sound very vanilla, but Christ people you know dang good and well I'm right. Make a better life for yourself, one day at a time.
Doe anyone think hydrocodone (even Norco) actually causes inflammation? WHen I run out or run low (just taking one or two a day), I feel BETTER when I wake up in the mornings. When I am taking my regular dosage (6x10/325) I wake u every morning feeling like someone has been beating me. My back hurts, my legs, hurt, my everything hurts. Till I get that pill in my system. But, like I said, if I have had to cut back to 1 or 2, my boday feels better getting out of bed, I miss the opiate high, but my bone and muscles actually feel better. Makes me think it ccauses inflammation. Does anyone else have these type reactions> Sherry
I'm in total agreement with you at this point. I'm experiencing neuropathy in my hands, especially at night, (It wakes me!), when I raise my arms above my waist, as well as in my feet and beginning to run up my legs. The neuropathy worsens when driving ( dangerous/scary) or sitting doing anything (frustrating as I tire easily because of pain). I deal with chronic pain from a lifetime of horseback riding (and the subsequent non-avoidable accidents that go with the sport ), martial arts, and numerous accidents from a lifetime of trying to prove myself. I've run the gamut of opiates in varying degrees on/off for over 15 years. I'm going to the top-rated neurologist in my area in 3 days, but, I think after reading this column of comments, it may be of no use and only expensive.
To folks out there reading, if you can avoid surgery, do it. If you can avoid pain killers do it, if not, wait until you can't stand it anymore! I've had 4 neck surgeries, an intrathecal pump ( pain medicine pump), revision and then removal, and several other surgeries. Noneismore is RIGHT!!!!!
I've been dealing with chronic pain for over 20 years and have never become addicted to any of the pain meds I've been prescribed (Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Vicodin) by following some advice from my brother (an MD and pain specialist) and a routine I've put in place. Prescribed pain medication, such as the above, is an important part of the healing process after an injury or surgery. When you are truly in pain, its use will not result in dependence. After the prescribed time, or often before, the pain from the event will lessen and if it doesn't you should inform you Dr. immediately. Once it lessens, I made it a habit to ask myself before taking anything, "Is my pain (in the incision or injury) so bad to justify taking the narcotic or will a couple of Advil do the trick?" Often I would just try the Advil knowing that I could still take the Oxy or Vic if the pain was still bad...This may not work for everyone but I wanted to share an idea that's worked for me following 5 total joint replacement surgeries (due to Rheumatoid Arthritis).
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