Back, Spine & Neck Surgery Forum
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Avatar universal

Mobility issues with alcoholism


I'm trying to find some help for my 66 year old father whose health is degrading rapidly.  Here are his issues that I was able to collect.  He is very tired and seems to be ready to give up.  Any guidance would be appreciated.

- he has spinal stenosis.
- has major fluid retention in legs and feet.  
- no feeling in lower portions of feet (seems to be nerve issue and not circulation related)
- morbidly obese (6 feet tall and 350 lbs)
- extremely limited mobility.
- depressed, has had thoughts of suicide
- major alcoholic...drinks approx 12-15 drinks per day - been like this for 15 years.
- eats minimally
- double knee replacement ten years ago.
- all other internal functions seem to be normal per blood tests.
- has arthritis bad, especially in back
- bleeding ulcer 2 years ago that required hospitalization, also caused him to stop taking any kind
of anti-inflammatory med for arthritis.  here is a list of meds:

lasix 40mg   twice dialy
enalapril 20mg  twice daily
metoprolol 50mg xl twice daily
pantoprazole 40mg once daily
allopurinol 100mg  once daily
caduet 5/10   once daily

he takes acetaminophen for pain, almost around the clock
he doesn't like narcotic pain meds as he says they cause strange nightmares
he has tried tramadol for pain, made him vomit
tried gabapentin for nerve pain, up to 800mg three times daily with little or no pain relief

He has so many issues that my family is not even sure where to begin.  Should we have him checked into rehab for his alcoholism and then see if that improves his outlook?  Would a facility take him with his mobility issues?

Should he be checked into a physical rehab facility to try to lose weight and gain more mobility?  With his drinking, I doubt this would be feasible.  I feel if he was able to lose weight that many of his problems would decrease in severity.  

Thanks for any guidance.

2 Responses
1083596 tn?1313398276
Dear Friend,
Well he surely needs to be in a rehab center,in order to get the alcohol out of his life.
There is nothing more i can add, to this suggestion as well as request.
Once he is out of the influence of alcohol, rest all will be fine.
Please discuss, if you want any specific advice.
1569058 tn?1333231224
I wouldn't go as far as previous poster that all will be fine once he is 'dried out' but it will give the doctors a better view on what is caused by the drinking and the underlying symptons.
If that is not an option, make sure he gets enough Thiamine (Vitamine B1). Alcohol makes it hard for any B vitamines to get absorbed into the system and Thiamine is essential for nerves. These are pills you can get everywhere.
Normally we get all sorts a vitamin B from food, brown rice, whole grain foods etc. Alcoholics don't absorb those nutrients and since they get a lot of their daily calories from alcohol, they don't eat as well as they should, further limiting their vit B intake.
There's a wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korsakoff's_syndrome where under causes "inflammation of the stomach lining" (which is the cause for ulcers)  is mention as one of the contributing factors.
I'm not a doctor, please let's be totally clear about that and I don't want to sound as if Thiamine is the end to all your Dads problems, but if checking him into rehab isn't an option, imho you should give him these pills. Here in Holland doctors prescribe 25 mg of Thiamine three times a day.
I know those are mega doses compared to the recommended daily dosage, but since it is water soluble it doesn't build up in the body like vitamines A,  D,  E or K. And it would need to be a big dose to get into the body of someone with an alcohol problem.
I myself have been struggling with alcohol dependency problems for quite a few years, and in my opinion those B1 pills kept my nerves from deteriorating when I wasn't eating well.

What more can I say? google Thiamine (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiamine) and Thiamine deficiency (www.buzzle.com/articles/thiamine-deficiency-symptoms.html) to learn more about the symptons and causes.
I hope this helps your Dad.
Popular Resources
Find out if PRP therapy right for you.
Tips for preventing one of the most common types of knee injury.
Tips and moves to ease backaches
How to bounce back fast from an ankle sprain - and stay pain free.
Patellofemoral pain and what to do about it.
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.