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Avatar universal

Chronic Pain 5yrs of Opioid Use - Currently Roxicodone & Norco

I've been on everything from Fentanyl to Oxy to Hydrocodone for legitimate spine and shoulder injuries.  After a couple surgeries I am left in a situation where I will always have some pain for the rest of my life...and I am less than 30.  All of my prescriptions have been legitimate but at times I have certainly taken more than necessary....or taken more than prescribed to get through a tough physical event.  Anxiety about the pain has been one of the biggest problems...the feeling of being trapped.

I'm currently the best that I have been in five years and am down to one 30mg Roxicodone (one in morning and one at night) and three 10mg Norco.  I am on disability so I have the ability to limit activity and am trying to get as low as possible and as close to the ideal number of zero narcotics as possible.  My pain in the shoulder is influenced by anxiety.  How do you differentiate real pain from the narcotic withdrawl?  Does anyone else here have experience with stopping long-term opiate use while still being in chronic pain?  Any advice would be appreciated.  Thank you.

12 Responses
Avatar universal
My experience was that I had to get off the pills before I could make a realistic appraisal of the situation.............
Avatar universal
the longer u take and or abuse opiates....the "worse" your pain will be when u get off.  when u take opiates over and over and over ur brain quits producing the "feel  good" chemicals......because it realizes/thinks it is getting it from an outside source.....which, it is.  SO, when u quit the pills.....ur brain STILL wont be making those chemicals....so, the pain u have....(like ur shoulder, back, etc)  will hurt way worse compared to someone like me who never got addicted to opiates....even if it was PROVEN that u and i are 100% the same as far as pain and conditions....

5 years of pills taking / snorting, etc  is a lifetime of damage.  

so the pain u feel, with NO PILLS, is legite......it's just magnified by like 100 times.....because of any opiate abuse.......or tolerance...whatever u wanna catergorize it.

that will be rough.........for real pain and trying to get off stuff.  hmm...people here will help u.  they will tell u to do the thomas recipe....or maybe suboxone.....because that is a pain killer too--but, lots of ppl feel it is trading one addiction for another!

Avatar universal
Thank you both for the info, it is very helpful.  It wasn't until yesterday that I really got the strong urge to no longer be on the stuff.  I broke my spine, ruptured the L5/S1 disc and dislocated both shoulders with a torn labrum on the right side.  I had an artificial disc replacement in the spine and zero pain since.  Leftover pain is all around the scapular region of my right shoulder, even following a surgery to repair the labrum.

After five years of differing opinions, I finally got a feasible diagnosis from my 30th specialist.  I am doing extensive PT and using a muscle STIM unit that are helping but there will always be some pain present.  That level of pain is to be determined and now the elephant in the room is the opiates and how I am going to live the rest of my life...keeping in mind that I am not yet 30.

Thanks again, I have never posted anywhere before and you have been helpful.
Avatar universal
Wow!  You do have lots going on! Remember tho too there is a difference in addiction and physical dependency.....

Best of luck!  And, Gosh I hope u feel better soon :(
Avatar universal
Thanks, I would say that I am in the dependency mode for sure but the way the pain and anxiety fluctuates, I feel that the line gets blurred between addiction and depency.  Drugs and the relief they provide are constantly on my mind, as they have been for years now.  At my age, and with a new wife (first and only wife ;-) I need to think about my future health.


FYI - My injuries came from a 46mph barefoot waterski fall that hyper-extended my spine causing the fracture in the L5 vertebra and rupture of the disc, along with the dislocated shoulders.  One fell swoop.  I had periodic pains for a few years but it took three years for the L5/S1 disc to degenerate to the point where it required surgery.  The problem with the shoulder labrum was masked until the spine was fixed.
Avatar universal
I have severe chronic pain. I had been on vicoden then vicoden es and 25mcg of fentanyl patches for 4 years. Then I went to a pm doctor for the first time and he took me off the vicodin es 3 to 4 , 4 x a day and fentanyl patch,somas. He then put me on opana er...didn't work, oxycontin and percocet...i hate anything with oxycodone so i got off that. I went back on the fentanyl patch 75mcg and within almost 2 months i went up to 150mcg b/c my tolerance was so high. I detoxed cold turkey and it was the worst and most painful, scariest thing that ever happened to me. But, it was the best thing that i could do for my body. I still deal with a lot of pain but I will never touch those evil patches again. I am trying to find other ways to ease my pain. I am 29 and on disability too. I can't function with my pain. If you set your mind to getting off the pills, you can do it! You will feel so much better mentally. It just takes a while for your brain to heal and your body to get back to normal. I am going to pray for you!
Avatar universal
why dont u like oxycodone?
Avatar universal
Wow, your story sounds a lot like mine.  I went cold turkey off of 150mcg/hr Fentanyl and 80mg Oxy 3X/day on different occasions and I can certainly agree with the horrific side effects.  Last year I had to go back up to they Oxycontin 80mgs and I went down one step every 10 days and then moved back to Norco.  I had a huge pain relief from a chiropractor but it still took me two months to get off the stupid time-released stuff.  After that experience and the cold-turkey route, I have refused to go back on any time-released meds.

My master plan was to stick to Norco and deal with any leftover pain via will-power but the number climbed when I started my 10th round of aggressive PT from what seems like a great diagnosis.  I am finally exercising muscles that I had been avoiding for years becuase it elevated the pain.  That is how the Roxi came into the mix.  I wanted something that could knock the skyrocketing pain after the daily PT but that didn't last as long as the Oxycontin.  

I am just coming off of a week of being ill with the flu and I have not done the PT so my pain shouldn't be up too badly but I find that the Roxi has my tolerance way up again.  I have spent the week getting it back down, taking 1/2 a 15mg at night and 1/2 in the morning and taking the Norco in 1/2 pill increments no more than every 2hrs.  In order to do even this, I have been pretty much bed-ridden.

I meet with my PM Dr. again next week and I will bring this up with him.  Thank you for the information and I wish you the best with your situation.
Avatar universal
I hated the way anything with oxycodone made me feel! It made me severly agitated! It made me feel horrible and made my tolerance so high too.

Five years we do have a lot in commen. Thats why I replyed to you. I am pretty much bedridden b/c of my pain. I can't excersise or go out and do things that I wan to do. The only way I could somewhat function was when I was on Norco/vicodin. I would have to take 2 1/2 norco b/c my tolerance is so high. I have chronic interstitial cystis and vulvodynia and IBS probelms. Basicly severe pelvic pain....muscle pain and nerve pain. It's hell. I have taken all non narcotic pain meds and mucles relaxers, lyrica, nuerontin, elavil and nothing works. I am supposed to go to PT to help stretch out those muscles down there. I hope it helps but I heard its very painful. They only have one PT that specializes in that area in Louisiana. I hope everything works out for you. Good luck!
Avatar universal
My pain is upper spin/shoulder area and I am not nearly that limited but has so far required narcotics over the years.  Recently an electronic STIM unit has been helpful.  It feels like a TENS unit (which kills me) but you only use it for 40min max 2X/day and it has been awesome.  It looks like a TENS and uses the same pads but for some reason it is different.

For the first two years of my problems, my spine and the nerve pain was the most severe.  There is nothing worse than nerve pain because the meds follow the blood stream and do little to get into the nerves.  I have tried most of what you mentioned, besides lyrica, but I have been on 46 different medications in 80 different doses.  The artificial disc replacement of my L5/S1 cured 100% of the spine pain but the shoulder was left over.  The last three years have been devoted to that.  Thank you so much for the information and I wish you the very best.

FYI - After 2 months my latest PT is still BRUTAL but worth it!  Prior to this diagnosis, I couldn't have designed a better program to elevate my pain.  I knew it was going to be a slow process, as in 3 month minimum before seeing any improvement.  I do it daily and I know it *****.  That is how the roxi came into the mix a 2 months ago.  Now it doesn't work like it used to and I stupidly have one more problem in the mix by jacking my tolerance back up.
Avatar universal
Meeting with my PM Dr. tomorrow and I was wondering if anyone had any advice.  You both seem to have been in the same boat as me so I have three conflicting goals.  

First, the pain needs to be kept low enough to keep doing the PT.  Second, the PT elevates the pain severely, but in the long run it will be the thing that brings the pain down to its best and final level.  Finally, I am in panic mode, which shoots the pain up and causes vomiting, about the narcotics because they are the only thing that has given me relief over years.

I don't even know if I am asking a question, I'm just going to lay it on the table for him.  I have been trying to avoid time-released meds like the plague but I'm reaching a point where I am barely able to do PT and at cost of laying in bed for the rest of the day.

At the very least, I want to go on a week-by-week monitored basis for the medication.  My pain has always been fluid and it can skyrocket without warning.  This is what I live in fear of.

Thank you all for your time and support.
Avatar universal
What are your thoughts about pain meds and quality of life?.... I mean it's one thing to have chronic drug use with a quality of life.... vs. suffering and being miserable and unable to do anything. My thought is, why do I HAVE to be in pain just because we are worried I MAY become dependent?, not guaranteed. I am too young and life is too short. I am 28 and have been taking pain meds for endometriosis and suspected adhesions for over 5 years with significant pain management on the meds. I have been suffering since I was 17 with pain, endo. Any ideas are greatly appreciated. I have also tried Lyrica and am on Cymbalta, which helps with pain-associated depression. I hated LYRICA, it made me crazy, slow, tired, and twitchy. I regret ever trying it, just because a doctor I only saw once told me to take it. I was on it for 6 months and felt like those months were a blur and regret ever taking it! Remember, that Jesus is there, we just have to talk... he's always listening.

God Bless,
Pained in Ohio
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