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Coming off Lortab
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Coming off Lortab

I have had almost 18 months of non-stop pain issues--a tummy tuck April '12 that resulted in a horrific and painful post op infection and took almost 3 months to heal---then immediately my back went out on me and after MONTHS of pain killers, PT, epidural shots, I gave up and had surgery on the L2,3 & L4,5 vertebrae. The surgery did help a lot... (I still need a 2nd surgery. but am putting it off).but I still, after 4 months, have a lot of residual pain from both surgeries. I feel like a tight band is cutting me in half. I am trying to be active, exercising and working on losing more weight, but honestly, the pain is the one constant. My back dr sent me to my GP for pain management, and initially he had me on 5 mg/325 4-6 times a day. That was more than sufficient to keep me OK. We had discussed that coming off Hydrocodone after being on it for over a year was going to be hard, and he promised he'd step me down slowly. So I call for a refill and he cuts me down to 1 pill a day, twice a day. Arrrggghhh..I have to take one just to be able to get out of bed, much less function through an active day. I hate having to deal with this, but many days, the pain is unbearable and I find myself just crawling into bed with my back on ice and crying. I don't know if this is an unusually large amount of hydrocodone or not....I don't crave the stuff, I hate the pain. I get so anxious about hurting I find myself really withdrawing from life, afraid I will make my back sore or something and won't have anything to take to deal with it.
My back doc did say that I would experience post surgical pain for a year or so...and it's been 4 months and he was right. The worst pain is over, but this residual stuff just keeps me from living my life. I do also take a lot of ibuprofen and my guts are raw from that....I find it weird that drs will let you get ulcers from ibuprofen (which helps, but never truly relieves me) but will hold back on the "good stuff". My question? Is 4 doses of 5 mg hydrocodone  day going to seriously impair me? I feel like a junkie going back to my GP. Should I be seeing a pain management dr? That just seems excessive, all I need is Lortab, not anything stronger.
Thanks for any input. Chronic pain is ruining my life!!!
10 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
If your GP isn't willing to prescribe pain meds, and many of them aren't any more for chronic conditions, ask him for a referral to a pain management doctor. However don't ask the pain doctor for Lortab, they will decide what, if any, narcotic pain meds should be used. They will also offer alternative therapies that may help as well. Good luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks,
I did see a pain mangement dr for the epidural shots. I know he said at the time that post surgery I would have pain for some time,. I guess I just wanted to have the back surgery, reocover in 6 weeks and be fine.

My real question was: is 4-5mg Lortab a day excessive? I'm 57 and have moderate arthritis also, so some of this pain is related to that.

It just seems stupid to see a pain management dr for something that is getting better on its own. I have come down from such a high dose in a relatively short time, I guess I don't see why this small dose is such a big deal for my GP. (He's pretty young, so I am sure that has something to do with it. Older docs are far more sympathetic!)

If something other than Lortab worked, great, but I know what can keep my on my feet and not lying down on an ice pack!
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Avatar_m_tn
I have to agree, I don't think that's a high dose either. Compared to many of us, that's pretty low. I also agree that the age of your doctor might be a factor, before I went to pain management my doctor prescribed me percocets (which my PM just continued) but my Gp is like 80 something. He had an intern at one time who looked at us weird when he was giving me a toradol shot and he told her. "People come to me because they need help, its OK to help them." Funny thing is she wasn't there the next visit.

Did you explain to your doctor how you feel? Also how long ago was the surgery and maybe the surgeon could help? It might be time to find a new doctor if he isn't willing to help you get over the pain your in. Let us know how things develop for you.
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Avatar_f_tn
Definitely the age of the doctor is a consideration. This guy could be my son, he's so young. And I am seeing him this am and will be, as I always have been, totally honest. I don't think if he has never himself had chronic pain, he can't imagine how it is to just get through a day!
My back surgeon makes no money consulting with a patient who is "healed" (and I am!) and said to continue aftercare with my GP. I hate that this guy makes me feel like a junkie, when all I need is something so little and actually pretty mild to make my life liveable. I am sure he will offload me to a pain management doc who will think this is a ridiculous waste of his time too. I will get better eventually, but you can't say to someone "in 3 months you will not need anything for pain"...ha. That concept of "helping patients" to be functional is long gone, I am afraid. My GP who retired 2 years ago always made sure I had a supply of Lortab because I also suffer from migraines and she felt that there was no need to suffer just because the gov't or the FDA was breathing down her neck. I don't drink, but if it helped the pain and I couldn't get relief, I'd probably start. Isn't that weird> Oh well--off to a wasted apt!
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Avatar_m_tn
I hope this appointment goes OK for you, please let us know how it goes. Sending you positive vibes for some relief!
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Avatar_m_tn
pain mgmt is going to be your answer they are able to help without the judgements good luck
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Avatar_f_tn
Luckily, the visit went fine! My GP listened to me and agreed that going to a pain management dr for my paltry dose of Lortab was silly. He said he'd help me out and prescribed the same small dose I am taking. He said he no problem with it--all the negative info I was getting about him not doing "pain management" was coming from the front desk people who don't have the authority to be saying that. He had not even been the dr to authorize the refill I got that had me so frustrated. It was good to have an honest face to face with him and get things set straight. I can say that anxiety over having uncontrolled pain was making me really depressed, now I know he's in my corner, I know I can deal with how long this healing is actually going to take me.
Thanks for your support!
Liz
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Avatar_m_tn
Liz, that's great news! I am so glad your finally going to get some relief. Take care!
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you--it is nice to vent and get some answers--I appreciate your time! I'll let you know how things go. Hopefully there will come a day when I don't have to take anything to feel fine--but I am not going to feel guilty because I do now--and probably will for some time still!
Liz
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Avatar_m_tn
Definitely keep me updated. I'm glad things are working out. And NEVER, ever feel guilty for needing pain meds. No one deserves to suffer needlessly.
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