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04/09/2009 11:44 AM

Coping with Tramadol/Ultram vs. Other pain meds?

DallasLyme
DallasLyme  
Posts: 45
Member

One of my main "symptoms" from Lyme is moderate to severe pain extending from my lower back all the way down to my feet. For about a year I complained to the doctors that it felt like someone was literally squeezing my bones! Of course, they had no clue and diagnosed me with sciatica, fibro., etc. But it's in my BONES, not muscles, etc.

I am currently on a very low dose of Tramadol/Ultram (50mg 2x/day is what the pain management doc prescribed). The doesn't cut it, however I do not like to take more because of the slight effects on Serotonin that this drug has (I do NOT do well on antidepressants). I was on it last year for about 3-4 months, taking up to 200-250 mg/day (4-5 pills, believe the max dosage is 6 pills or 300 mg). I weened myself off S-L-O-W-L-Y (slower than the doc recommended) because I knew how Serotonin drugs affect me. I got brain zaps like CRAZY. For a week straight, it was misery - definitely made the Lyme (didn't know it was Lyme then) feel 10x worse. I swore I'd never take them again... the docs seem to think this med is not addicting but I am here to say it CAN be! I hit a huge depression about 2 months ago when I was turned down by the "top ID doc in Dallas" and told there was nothing they could do because it did not sound like an ID (a few weeks later I tested positive for Lyme). Knowing the slight serotonin properties of this drug, I weighed my options and decided to take it again on a much smaller scale (figured it had to be better than the rock bottom depression I was feeling). So I went back to my doc and he prescribed it 50mg 2x/day. Even at this low of a dosage if I get off of it I can feel tiny "brain zaps". But I am thankful of the depression it got me out of.

Now that I'm out of that depression, I am interested in switching pain meds. I would have to take so much Tramadol to ease the level of pain I'm in that it's just not worth it given my sensitivity to this drug. I have taken Hydrocodone before and it works much better at lower dosages. I realize the stigma attached with narcotics, however I've gone through semi-long term treatment with Hydrocodone before (about 1-2 months) and did not have much trouble at all coming off of it.

I wouldn't even mind switching up the meds if the docs are afraid of "addiction". I'd be happy to take something less potent (like tramadol) when possible, and then only take the Hydrocodone when pain is more severe.

However it has been really difficult to find a doc who truly understands the level of pain I'm in (or Lyme at all...). It will be another month or so before I can get into see a LLMD. I hear he is ok with prescribing this medicine... I am hoping this is the case and that he will work with me on this issue while I'm undergoing antibiotic treatment.

Not quite sure what I'm looking for here.... This has just been weighing on my mind. I really dislike the stigma of taking pain medication (and would MUCH rather live without it!), however the pain can be disabling. It's a struggle I find within myself...

How have you dealt with needing/deciding to take pain medication?

What worked for you? What didn't? Was your doctor willing to work with you?

P.S. I also take daily baths, do stretching exercises, take Fish Oil & Tumeric for inflammation relief. And yet still the pain persists Sad

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04/09/2009 02:13 PM
Canuck
Canuck  
Posts: 1674
Senior Member

Lots of advice on this one too. Shoot you're even going to Mexico. I am a sly one. Of course my wheels are spinning.

Will get back on this one too. Kratom is a good opiate alternative. We have a lot of posts on it, I have one or two in Lyme Med/treatments I think..

Pain is a HUGE issue for all of us and I can't stand it when docs just don't have a clue.

Ultram is an opiate, they won't advertise it as such nor will a doc really tell you that, but it is. You can take more than 50 mg. Hmm, will get back to you on this one.

One thing is this- DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE STIGMA.... We Lymies will live with 'stigmas'all of our lives. It's more guilt for us and we don't deserve it as we have every RIGHT to have need for analgesics.

Don't ever feel guilty.


04/09/2009 02:15 PM
Canuck
Canuck  
Posts: 1674
Senior Member


04/09/2009 04:08 PM
DallasLyme
DallasLyme  
Posts: 45
Member

Thanks Canuck. Yes, I am guilty by nature - it's a terrible habit Tongue I seriously HATE feeling GUILTY for taking the pain meds that make me feel OK. Doesn't help that docs look at you like you're crazy if you try and request an opiate... but yet Tramadol is just fine... yeah, RIGHT. It is so similar to opiates, and in my opinion and my own experience, more addicting.

People in chronic pain don't see it as getting "high", and luckily the pain societies (can't remember what the leading one is right now, my brain is on the fritz right now) are starting to recognize that, as well as the fact that it is very rare that patients with chronic pain become "addicted" to opiates. Hell, I don't want to abuse or sell the stuff, and don't like the side effects; but they make life bearable!

I did some snooping awhile back on this forum and saw Kratom discussed. I will go check that out some more.

Right now I'm just hoping to see a doc before the wedding who can at least appropriately treat my symptoms so I can feel ok on my wedding day! We've been planning this thing for 2 years... it makes me so sick to think that I may not be able to enjoy it... no turning back now though (not to mention I won't let Lyme do that to me!).

I think right now stress is the biggest catalyst for my symptoms. And guilt. And I feel SO stressed and guilty right now, and thus SO sick. BLAH! I seriously hate feeling this way. I cannot wait to have my life back! I am strong and I know I will get there but sheesh!! I also think something is causing me to be SUPER anxious over things like this - more so than "normal"..something to do with the illness or a co-infection is my gut..

Yesterday I felt at peace for the first time in weeks because I had finally made an appointment with a doc (was in denial a bit until I watched Under Our Skin). Now I'm questioning that doc for a closer doc, like I mentioned in my first post. I am trying to decide between 1 in LA and 1 here in TX. I will try and contact your friend that you mentioned who lives here and she what she has to say. Seems like 1/2 of Texans go to one doc, and 1/2 to the one in LA... I feel so torn between the two right now. LA would be a huge hassle, but obviously I want the best treatment... Ugh it's all so confusing.

Ok I'm getting off topic in this thread! Wink

Looking forward to hearing the rest of your thoughts when you return! Smile


04/09/2009 05:56 PM
amberbaz
amberbaz  
Posts: 33
Member

i did hydrocodone for a while, lyrica and currently i use tramadol. my dr is really great in understanding i know my body and i know how much i need and when etc so if i say i am in too much pain to just take 50 she says take 100 and she has been really good about giving me different meds when i ask for them. lyrica i loved but my insurance wont pay for it. i used to feel bad about taking pain pills but i decided EVERYONE is happy when i do haha.

04/10/2009 05:37 PM
DallasLyme
DallasLyme  
Posts: 45
Member

LOL amber! I'm glad you've found some peace in dealing with this! I hope to get over this guilt/fear soon. I think finding an understanding doc would help me a lot. I think since I am young (25) they tend to look at me like I'm just out to get meds for whatever reason, not because I really NEED them... Hoping the next doc is sensitive and treats me like your doc is treating you! Smile

04/10/2009 09:26 PM
amberbaz
amberbaz  
Posts: 33
Member

i was 21 when i was diagnosised and at the beginning i was only on hydro and the reactions from the various specialists were always rolling their eyes etc etc. i did the fentynal patch for a while and it was awesome but for some reason when i tried to go back on it recently it made me sick which is how i got to tramadol.

04/11/2009 05:52 AM
toothfairy55
toothfairy55  
Posts: 3856
Senior Member

Amber

there is an older version of Lyrica.GABAPENTIN 300 MG CAPSULE I was on that one and the Lyrica. Lyrica made my hands and feet swell so I came off it.


04/11/2009 11:09 AM
dharma79
dharma79  
Posts: 1180
VIP Member

Tramadol didn't do anything for me either. Sorry. Sad

I've even tried methadone...doesn't do anything either!

I'm pretty sure nothing but a 24 hour morphine drip will cut it! LOL

Please let me know if anyone knows something else to try...

Smile


04/11/2009 12:11 PM
cmany
cmany  
Posts: 6930
Group Leader
I'm an Advocate

I have been on so many pain meds/anti-this and thats, that I cant even list them all there has been so friggen many...

I have had to sign off at the pharmacy because some of my doses were so high. And everytime they got a new pharmacist in there - they were calling my pain doc, questioning so many. She would tell them to turn and look at me...did I look OK? Of course they said yes...and her answer was...she has a high tolerance, and that is what she needs to function as a normal person...

AND I have NEVER once had any issues with additiction. Not once...I was even on 150mgs of MS CONTIN (morphine) every 12 hours...with 650/10 Lorcet 2-4 of them for break through pain...plus muscle relaxors and anti-inflamitants.

There is a trick to taking pain meds. First you have to find what works for you. I have had plenty fail. Once you find your doseage, it then is on you...

How you process the pain that you feel will directly effect how you manage your pain and how much pain that you have. Pain meds do work for those who are truly in pain....

BUT they can become a problem if we allow ourselves to succumb to the negative effects of what we feel. Been there and done that...

The less you fight what you feel, the less intense the pain is. Learning to accept and let it run its course is key. BUT BY NO MEANS EASY...

I have proven this to myself time and again - but when it feels like someone has hooked up electrodes to my spine - yea...I fight...but eventually settle in and let it run its course...

Presently - being one who was on handfuls of narcotics...I am only on Lyrica...and now occationally have to take a Lortab...I do use Kratom to manage the pain in between. But it is something that you have to work out the dosing for yourself...

I suggest reading the book A Day Without Pain...it is very insightful to the world of Chronic pain.

But pain meds do work and help those who are in pain. Many docs dont see it that way - but that is partly because of what society has done to itself.

There are MANY options with pain meds just as there are with abx...go through them with your doc, and research them...something can and will work...

Hope this helps

Christine

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