Prescription Medications Can Help with Pain Management: My Experiment

Medications

Source

The Experiment

I've had some major health issues in the last several months and have been on and off a ton of medications. Presently I've been taking prescriptions for tramadol, tramacet and ibuprofen for my most recent injury. I experimented and went off the medications to see if they actually work, and here is that story.

The Issue

So I've had a heck of a ride on the health train for the last 19 months, admitted into the hospital 13 times, 4 surgeries and one more to go, only one I hope. Right now the biggest and most pressing issue is my shattered femur and broken pelvis. I'm in pool therapy and physio several times a week and am relearning how to walk. The pain has been an issue, a big issue. And then again, eight weeks ago I landed in the hospital for an obstructed bowel; a reoccurring emergency as a result of last years perforated bowel surgeries. This visit put me back about a week as far as my mobility recovery goes, maybe more.

Tramadol

Source

Tramacet

Source

Off the Pain Meds

When I got out of the hospital I decided I wasn't going to take the pain medications as often as they were prescribed. I wanted to stop feeling like I was drugged up constantly and in that place of being surrounded by a soft body pillow. I decided I would only take them when I was really in pain. Of course I hadn't taken into account all the prescriptions I was on for the week in the hospital were contributing to my feeling of fogginess, and maybe I wasn't making this decision with a clear head, but I made up my mind. I was leaving the hospital wanting to get all the prescription drugs out of my system. Besides, I wanted to know if the pain medications really did address the pain that weight bearing brought with it.

Immobility

So that was 3 weeks ago. The days have been long and my mobility really stopped progressing. The pain has been so bad in the last 3 weeks that I had to walk with more supports than usual; I couldn't just use the cane. I needed the scooter more than ever to get around. Getting out of bed in the middle of the night was torture. I had stopped doing very much around the house because it took too much effort and I had become so slow at doing anything - again. When I went off the medication, although I was trying to regulate myself by limiting my activity, it backfired. I need to still be able to exercise, even if it is the form of stretches, moving around the house and my therapies. I was quickly becoming not only limited in my range of motion but in my willingness to try to push myself because it was too painful. I had also started to become depressed because of the lack of progress or regression.

I met with my surgeon and I'm not healing as fast as I could, apparently it was a really bad break. So he is going to wait 5 more months then remove all of the hardware. He said I may have a limp for the rest of my life. He also said that I have until surgery to get as good as I can. After the surgery I'll have a few more bonus healing months but that's it. So in my mind if I can't move forward in my healing due to pain I won't heal properly - ever.

Medications

the Answers

So 4 days ago I decided to start taking the pain medications as prescribed again. Yesterday my depression left me. I started to be able to function again without too much pain again after 2 days on the medication. I still am in pain at the end of the day but not so much at the beginning. I wake up and am able to get to the bathroom with relative ease (for my condition). I've started to be able to cook and do dishes again. I am not spending all day thinking about the pain either.

So from this experiment I realize that even though I don't want to take pharmaceutical drugs and rely on them to help me get through the day, they are benefiting me. I have gone off and on them enough to know that I won't become addicted. I can definitely identify exactly how they are helping my body cope with the trauma. If these drugs are going to help me strengthen my muscles and ligaments, allow my bones to regrow and heal, if they allow me to exercise the muscles needed to make them functional again, I need to take them until I can walk again without the limp - like it or not.

Your Say

Have you been taking medications longer than you'd like to be?

  • yes
  • no
See results without voting

Update

So I didn't have to remain on medications until the surgery. I stopped the prescription medications completely 2 months after this was written.

I went to an alternative health practitioner who completely relieved ALL PAIN after 3 acupuncture treatments. My hip was 100% pain free after one treatment and a second session took care of areas of my leg that needed extra help. My shoulders and neck have some reoccurring mild pain from using the cane but not nearly as severe as it had been for the last year.

I will be going into surgery clear headed and physically in the best shape that I can be. Being off the medications this long has brought me back to myself again. I can think, remember, make decisions without being foggy and I have got my creative side back. I can think on multiple levels and solve conceptual problems. If I am am not physically back yet my mental state will help me get through the rest of this.

The prescription medications were good to help get me past the acute pain, and I am thankful they exist for that reason, but I am very glad to be off them.

I believe that the acupuncture treatments I received as well as breathing techniques I was taught by Lars Fenske were and are instrumental in helping me deal with and manage my pain and I will continue using acupuncture when needed. I hope to minimize the drugs put back into my body for as long as possible.

Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is not a substitute or replacement for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician or alternative health care provider before taking any herbal supplements, home remedies, new products or changing your health regime. Even though we are responsible for our own health, we need the guidance of trained professionals.

© 2012 eye say

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Comments 15 comments

Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

Right now I wish I was physically there to help you. I had no idea it was so bad. With the kind of injuries you have you can't survive without those meds. I need to warn you that Ibuprofen constipates you. I had the experience of taking it and had to be given a special tablet to send me to the bathroom after surgery.

Take it easy and get better. I am praying for you. You have too much on your plate to add depression to it. I am glad you decided to take the meds again.

Lots of love and hugs.


Daughter Of Maat profile image

Daughter Of Maat 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

Tramadol isn't just an opiate painkiller, it's also a slight SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) which means it raises serotonin levels in the brain. You may have had a bought with depression not only from the pain but the withdrawal of the drug as well. Tramadol isn't narcotic, but it still has addiction potential. I take it myself 3 times a day, and if I don't, I feel it. Just keep in mind, Tramadol is an opiate, and an SSRI meaning you can't take it like vicodin - as needed. Tramadol will also constipate you, and if you take any of the ones ending in cet like Ultracet, remember not to take tylenol, only ibuprofen or aleve.


Jlbowden profile image

Jlbowden 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

Even though I found your article about hub meds to be very interesting. I also hope that in addition while you are going through your surgeries and the future healing process, that these pain meds do make you feel much better. Depression can also be a direct result of pain experienced from chronic and constant pain. As Cardisa mentioned you have enough on your plate now, so concentrate on you. You do not need to be burdened with the depression at this time as well. Voted your article up as well and feel better soon!

Jl


eye say profile image

eye say 4 years ago from Canada Author

Cardisa, I'm taking prune juice and sennot as well as water which I know is the best, so I am trying to be as on top of it as possible. I'm not taking the ibuprofen as often as I was, so hopefully all will be good.

thanks for you're words of wisdom, helps to hear another opinion, other than my doctors


L.L. Woodard profile image

L.L. Woodard 4 years ago from Oklahoma City

I appreciate you sharing your experience with your prescription pain medications, both using them as directed and your period of abstinence from them. I hope that your recovery moves forward smoothly now.


eye say profile image

eye say 4 years ago from Canada Author

Daughter of Maat; With the timing of a combination of things happening in my life right now I believe the depression would have come on no matter what, however my doctor is very closely monitoring me and I see him as often as I need. We both believe that I won't become addicted because I have been off and on the meds several times in the last 2 years. Thanks for the heads up on the effects of the tramadol though, I didn't realize how it may be affecting me.


eye say profile image

eye say 4 years ago from Canada Author

LL Woodward, I wasn't sure what the reaction would be to me discussing my experiment, one of the other doctors in my dr's office got really mad and gave me a good lecture, however I think it honestly showed me what was actually going on and how the meds were interacting with my body. Thanks for the words of encouragement, much appreciated form everyone.


Daughter Of Maat profile image

Daughter Of Maat 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

JlBowden, I'm not saying her chronic pain didn't cause the depression, I'm sure it triggered it. I suffer from chronic pain and migraines myself and I know it can cause severe depression. I guess I should have said the tramadol exacerbated the depression. SSRI's like celexa, paxil etc, are meds you can't just stop taking and tramadol is a weak SSRI so it should be tapered. The mood swings would resemble those of withdrawal symptoms when stopped suddenly. On that note, Eye say, addiction wasn't the right word. Because of the SSRI effects I should have said dependence and dependence to tramadol can happen within the first 2 weeks of the initial dose. It's just the nature of the drug and how it works. It's also why it is so effective for treating pain. Just becareful, I know what it's like to run out of tramadol and it doesn't feel good, let me just say! :D But I hope you feel better, and that your pain subsides as quickly as possible. I wouldn't wish chronic pain on my worst enemy!


eye say profile image

eye say 4 years ago from Canada Author

I have every intention of healing completely. I have increased my pool therapy to 5 days a week, physio 2 days a week and they have started me working out in the gym.

I am very tired of the predicament I am in and after almost 2 years of medical issues I am more determined than ever to get better.

Thanks for all the wisdom and your own personal experiences, it is helping me realize this is not going to be a long term thing, but that I must be sure to take care of myself in order to heal properly.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I admire the strength you project in experimenting with a reduction in prescription pain medication, as some of them can be highly addictive. However, research has shown that patients in the degree of pain you describe, do not heal as quickly as those who manage their pain with medication. Your own research gave you all the proof you need. I hope you continue to do well and are back to normal in short order. Thank you for your excellent article.


eye say profile image

eye say 4 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks for your input, I want to heal as quickly as I can, so owill not be experimenting anymore ...


Marc Babineau profile image

Marc Babineau 4 years ago from Cornwall, Ontario, The Seaway City

Great, timely post! There are too many doctors out there that simply take out their prescription pads and write up whatever they feel is the latest, best drug for what you describe, without fear of consequence. I am a chronic pain sufferer, on lots of pain meds and a federal marijuana license holder - when i started with the marijuana, my pill intake fell less than half! For short term pain, exercise and minor med dosages will do, but for long term, chronic problems, sometimes extremes are called for.


eye say profile image

eye say 4 years ago from Canada Author

Marc thanks for that input, it's interesting to hear from someone who has experienced it all as far as pain goes. Long term use of meds can be so harmful to so many systems in the body, so it's interesting to hear that long term control can actually be achieved with a natural medicinal plant or at least have a significant impact on the number of pharmaceuticals needed, from someone who is actually monitoring the impact.

Much appreciated


editorsupremo profile image

editorsupremo 4 years ago from London, England

Oh you poor thing eye say! I empathise with your pain as I have been on oral morphine and dihydrocodeine for 3 months following major surgery. Like you I tried to see if I could cope without the drugs but after 3 days I could not bear the excrutiating pain any more and went back onto the meds. I had the silly notion that I would become dependant and addicted to prescription drugs and should not have them in my system. But, that old school notion is unfounded, and in fact the meds helped me to heal quicker because they took away the debilitating effect of pain and gave me a bouyant mental attitude for the future.

So, stay with it and let the meds do there work and get you better sooner rather than later. You can wean yourself off the meds when you are completely well.

Prune juice is good for the constipating side effect of prescription drugs, but make sure that you drink lots of water, and eat fiber found in vegetables!

Good luck for a speedy recovery.


eye say profile image

eye say 4 years ago from Canada Author

@editorsupremo: nice to have confirmation from someone else who can relate to the issues, problems and questions that come with long term use of pain meds.

Thanks for the advice, I'm trying to drink as much water as I can and I'm eating lots of veggies...

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