Taking Oxycodone And Ms Contin For Chronic Back Pain Due To Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

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Penelope Says:


I have been having chronic back pain for 4 years now. It started after my son was born. After seeing many doctors and specialists and having MRI's and CT scans (neither of which revealed any obvious issues) I was finally diagnosed with having Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction which are problems with my SI Joints in my hips - my doctor said it had something to do with my pregnancy. I have had several inj's. in my back and a few procedures where the nerves are burned - none of this has helped. For 4 years now I have been on many different types of pain medications and even tried medications that treat Fibromyalgia. Currently I have a prescription for 15mg of Oxycodone that I take 2 pills every 4 hours and a prescription for 30mg of MS Contin that I take every 8 hours. It seems like my pain medications aren't really helping with my pain like they should be. The mornings are the absolute worst - when I take my medication in the morning (my 30mg of MS Contin and 30mg of Oxy) it doesn't even touch the pain. So about 30 minutes after I take my morning meds I take a half of another Oxy and I take the other half about 30 minutes after that (I'm afraid to take 3 pills at once - I don't want to OD or anything like that). I'll admit that I don't take my Oxy as is prescribed by my doctor and I dare not tell him.

Since I have been taking some type of pain medication for 4 years now I know that addiction is an obvious issue although it is not a deliberate choice, it just happens with the nature of these medications. I don't misuse my medication and I don't take them to feel "high", I'm totally functional as I have 2 children to care for so I can't be a zombie sleeping on the couch all day. I'm scared to discuss this with my doctor but my meds aren't working like they used to. I also have a high tolerance to pain medication (so does my dad). I'm not sure if there are other medications that would work better for me. I have tried the Fentanyl patch but I would sometimes get dizzy and lightheaded if I did any strenuous activity where I would get "overheated" so they switched me to MS Contin (which made me unbelievably itchy at first but my body got used to it) Nobody can tell me if I will have this pain for the rest of my life or if there is some fantastic procedure that will make me normal again. My quality of life is not what it should be - I'm only 37 but I feel like I'm 87. Is there anyone who has similar issues or any suggestions for different pain meds and how I would go about discussing that with my doctor. I just want some sort of hope that someday I will be "normal" again and able to do the things I used to do and enjoy activities with my kids. I feel like I'm letting my kids down and they are suffering more than their mama. I try to do as much as I can with them even if I know I will suffer for it later.



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Verwon Says:

Hello, Penelope! How are you? I'm very sorry that you're in so much pain.

First, unless you're abusing them, what is usually experienced is dependence, not addiction. Dependence happens when your body gets used to the regular ingestion of a substance and a sudden withdrawal of it can cause some minor withdrawal effects. However, they are not usually as severe as those encountered by someone that's addicted who's been taking high amounts of something. I hope that makes you feel better about taking them. Dependence occurs with anything, including someone's regular morning coffee or their blood pressure medications.

Second, you really do need to be honest with your doctor about the current doses not working for you. If you don't tell them, they can't possibly know that you're having a problem. You could simply just tell them that you're still in pain, even after taking your prescribed doses. A slight dosage adjustment of one or the other medication might be enough to help.

This is a narcotic analgesic, so it has the potential to be habit forming and may cause side effects, such as nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth and constipation.

As to a procedure that might help permanently, I think only a specialist will be able to let you know if there is something that can be done.

What type of doctor have you been seeing?

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Penelope Says:
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Hi Verwon - thank you for the clarification on dependence and addiction. I saw my doctor today (he is a pain management doctor) and I was honest with him and I was very nervous. Of course he gave me a lecture that I wasn't taking them as prescribed. The prescription says to take 1-2 Oxycodone every 4 hours. I think this is up for interpretation since I don't sleep much because I always wake up with excruciating pain and I can't fall back asleep. So I told him that there are days where I take up to 10. He did question me if I thought I had an addiction problem and I told him more than likely I have a dependence issue but not an issue with addiction. He requested that I take another UA and I had just taken one 2 months ago. He had me take one when I first started seeing him and then a year later. I felt like he was treating me like some trashy pill poppin junkie. Anybody who knows me would tell you I don't look like that. I'm a 37 year old married women with 2 children, my hair is always nice, makeup is done and I dress pretty nice for a mom in her late 30's (sorry, that is totally off the subject - it sounds like I'm posting on a singles add). Anywho - it made me feel pretty bad. And he said after I took the UA he would give me my prescriptions. I told him that my back pain has been getting worse so he decided to try something different. He took me off Oxy and is starting me on 4mg of Dilaudid 1-2 pills every 4 hours and keeping me on the MS Contin. I'm not sure if the Dilaudid pills are immediate release like my Oxy was. As I had mentioned before I would cut my Oxy's and take 2 1/2 at times. I'm not sure if I can cut the Dilaudid in half or not. I'm going to start them tomorrow morning and just start with one 4mg pill to see what that does. I know that Dilaudid is stronger than Oxy so you don't need to take as much. I have had Dilaudid in the ER and it made me feel really good - that was through an IV so I'm guessing I won't get that feeling taking a pill. I still have some Oxy left and I wonder if I can take that in between taking the Dilaudid. He wants to see me in two weeks and see how these new meds are working.

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Verwon Says:

Oh Penelope! I'm so very sorry that he made you feel that way, however, he really doesn't have a choice. If he didn't do that stuff, the government would be carrying on and asking him way, so do try to give him some benefit of the doubt.

As to the Dilaudid, no it is not time released, they are just regular release like the others were. The time released formulation of it is called Exalgo and carries a warning not to break, crush or chew.

How are they working for you?

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Penelope Says:
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The Dialaudid didn't help at all - it made me nauseous and very sleepy. I remember receiving Dialaudid in an IV before and it helped with the pain. I called my doctor to let him know how the new medication was making me feel and he told me to stop taking it. He gave me a refill of Oxy - same mg and same dosage even though he knew I was having increased pain so I'm back at square one until my next appointment. I know that he is required to have his patients take UA's and I'm not taking anything I'm not supposed to so I'm not worried that I won't "pass" - it just made me feel so lousy having to take one only a few months after my last one. But it's done and over with - I was just upset at the time and it's not worth my energy to dwell on it. I have always had a very good relationship with my doctor and have been honest with him so hopefully my next appointment will go smoothly. He suggested at my last appointment that I could have my SI joints fused together. He said he was going to talk to a specialist that performs those type of procedures and discuss if that could possibly be a solution. My baby boy turned 4 last week and it reminded me that I have been in constant pain since he was born. Something needs to happen or someone just needs to tell me that I'm probably going to have this pain forever so I can come to terms with it and get off my medication because I can't see myself taking this for the rest of my life. Thank you for taking the time to respond to my posts - I truly appreciate it.

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Verwon Says:

I am genuinely so very sorry and it's so hard when you have a child that you want to play with and enjoy.

But yes, to some point, you likely always will have some pain and will not get full relief. It's very rare that someone does, most people do still have to live with some pain and just get help enough to take the edge off.

I've been in pain management before, so I'm speaking from experience here. I wish I had better news for you, but I'm afraid I don't.

But life is worth living, I can tell you that. Though I still experience pain and misery, sometimes, my little man is almost 20 now and I am so happy to see him growing up, experiencing life and dating. No matter how bad I felt, at any point, he always made it worth it.

Please post back and let me know how you're doing. Thanks!

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Tracy Says:

Hi Penelope. I actually do have bilateral SI joint dysfunction from an injury. After 7 years of dealing with docs who couldn't make a correct diagnosis. I finally saw an orthopedic surgeon who stated I had, for the last 7 years, needed my SI joint fused. It helped tremendously but I still don't want the other joint fused. I am still in a lot of pain.....especially on the non fused side, but have flare ups on the fused side. Waiting for PT to see if they can calm that side down. Google doctors in your area who are specialized in this procedure.....Orthopedic surgeon is your best option......you may end up with a better result than I did even tho we have had the problem the same length of time. Let me know if you need my surgeons name and number....I am in minnesota and he is truly amazing! I will help you in any way I can. I had a very difficult time getting pain MEDS to work until after my surgery and I didn't need the MS Contin anymore.

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Jules Says:

Hello Penelope- Hoping you're on the right track now to attend to your pain issues and to get some relief! I am also a chronic pain patient and have many years of experience with both Dilaudid and Oxycontin, as well as other pain meds that were tried as they were prescribed by my pain specialist. I just wanted to be sure that your doctor or other health care professional has told you to NEVER cut the Oxycontin pills...! You mentioned that you sometimes 'cut them into quarters' and take a different dose. These are time-release pills and it is not only very dangerous to cut them or to expose the inner pill beneath the coating in any way before you take them, but it will also tend to give you a 'buzz' or 'rush' which is the feeling many addicts seek. Please be very, very careful not to EVER do this. If the coating is gone and the inner pill exposed, you will get the effect of the time-release pill all at once, and you could overdose or experience other very serious effects! Time release, or extended release pills, as you likely know, are meant to give you steady pain relief for several hours. This is one reason why this med, IF taken as prescribed and not abused, is such a valuable med for treating chronic, intractable pain. In the bottle by themselves, they are very rarely 'damaged' (nicked, scraped, cut, broken) in this way without intentional human intervention, but I still check before I take the Oxycontin that I've been prescribed. I've never experienced any kind of 'change in feeling, 'rush',' or 'buzz' from taking this med (or the Dilaudid, which is prescribed for break- through pain, in my case,)and I don't want that feeling from any med I take, so I'm extra careful, (bordering on hyper-vigilant,) to make sure none of the coated ,time-release pills have been accidentally damaged in any way before I take them! As someone who has lived with serious pain for many years, having tried many alternative treatments before medications, I realize what a gift it is to have a med available that will reduce the amount of pain I feel to the extent that Oxycontin does. I find it so sad that this med has been so widely abused, as it is a true Godsend for those of us who have been given much of our lives back because of it. I do not take it's highly addictive nature lightly. It is BECAUSE of that that I am so very cautious to follow my Physician's instructions to the letter.I don't want to lose this med as a tool to help me live a more normal life with the burden of chronic pain. Also you mentioned that you thought your Doctor's written prescription( telling you the number of pills to take and the frequency with which you could take them )was "open to interpretation." That is seriously scary thinking ! One to two pills every four (to six, I'm guessing?) hours, means exactly that. It sounds to me as if you've found a Doctor who is willing to work with you, even after you were honest with him and told him what you'd really been taking. Its not a judgement of you to ask you to do another UA. It is his job to find out where your levels are.They can ask for a UA at any time. This should not be a stressful event, if you're doing what your Doctor has asked. Be patient. It does take time to get your levels right when starting a new med, or a new dose.(or a med you've reportedly been on before, but not with him or her as your Physician.) He sounds very good. Count your blessings. I know you think the dose should be raised right away since it isn't covering your pain. But he does know what he's doing. Allow him to keep you safe and just be thankful you are working with a good physician who is taking the necessary steps to get you on a dose that will help you and will improve your life. You may not have your pain disappear completely. It doesn't in all cases. Mine hasn't. But for me and for the countless others like me who understand how much our lives have been improved, these meds and others like them are a blessing. Abuse it, and it will be taken away; not just from you, but ultimately, from all of us, including those of us who take it the way our doctors have written it, and don't second guess him or her. Also, with the Dilaudid, just give it some time. It's my experience, as well as others' I know, that the initial nausea and sort-of 'spinny' feeling you can experience at the start will disappear within a week or so at the longest as your body gets used to it. It's more likely that you won't notice any more side-effects like that from about the sixth or seventh time you take it, probably sooner. Listen to your Doc and follow his or her instruction, no second-guessing. I wish you nothing but the best! Take care!

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Angry 65 year old Says:

Be aware that Oxy WILL rot your teeth from the inside out. Many posts from others confirm this. I'd love to sue Purdue Pharma but apparently in very small writing they admit it may impact your teeth. So no suing. I wonder, if it did this to my teeth, is that why I have no normal neck bones and need surgical intervention. Teeth and bones use calcium..Maybe Oxy effects your bodies ability to uptake calcium. Humm
Doctor, can You chime in on this ???

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Sam Says:

Penelope -
Greetings, look, please take care of how you taking your meds, you have it good, you have a pain doctor that seems to take care of you well, I have a bad S1, cervical stenosis, spinal stenosis, DDD and bad scoliosis. I am on medicare and get only generic meds. I have taken 30 mg of oxycodone, 6 a day for many years,I can't get anymore and generics are eratic, this month ,I got a batch that are weak.
They don't last long, if you have a heath care plan where you get brand name ,make sue your doc always write for brand name only, it sounds like your pain doc is good,try to take your meds as prescribed. I am 64, so with all of the problems I have, I am not going to have surgery, you might want consider a fusion if you are real young, like in your 20s. Best
Sam


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Sam Says:

Re: Angry 65 year old (# 8)

Hi,
The reason people who take oxycontin have teeth problems is because it gives you a dry mouth. You need to keep your mouth moist by drinking plenty of water, biotene used to work well, but they changed ingredients, both cvs and rite aid make a copy of biotene, which has the original ingredients. I have been using either one.

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