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Several years ago, I was diagnosed by a spine specialist (surgeon) that my condition was inoperable. He wanted me to do epidural steroid injections but my PCP didn't agree, based on what I did for a living, and other factors. Instead, he chose to treat me with an opioid that I could get from my pharmacy without any problems. Since the CDC's campaign became headline news, my doctor won't write it anymore, for fear of losing his license.
I can end this life, or try the black market, but my pension(s) are supporting me and my wife.
I don't know how much longer I can stay the course, as the "pain days" are getting pretty intense. Is there any way to get the government out of my personal life beside taking it? Get back to cheap medicines that work?

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I agree that it is time for a re-evaluation as to pain meds - if not working then it might be getting into addictive stage - cut your losses & try to go a better route - opioids sound good to start with, but are bad in long run - I refused to take them home with me when I came home from bi-lateral knee replacements due to press about celebs getting into trouble taking them - I'm not sorry I chose to go with the nerve calming route [gabepenten sp?] & I recommend this over the overblown opioids

My dad is a retired physician/surgeon & he told me about a friend whose med wasn't covered because it was a lotion but the ointment [or vise versa] was but the same med so talk to the pharmasist to see how to get things covered - FYI you are paying for that info in the price of your meds so use that to your advantage
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I understand what you are going through. I have suffered from chronic back pain for the past 20 years, have had 4 surgeries and have taken all types of pain meds. A good pain clinic can find the right medication for you. There are all types of other medications that can help your pain and they may not be prescribed for pain. I have taken Suboxone that is actually used for opioid addiction. It is used as an "off-label" pain medication. I no longer take Suboxone, but am now taken Methadone, which is commonly used for heroin addiction but is also used for pain. I am very happy with Methadone that I take in a tablet form of 5 to 10mg per day. For me, it works so much better than any other pain medication I have used and I don't get that "buzz" that you would get with Oxycontin or other opioids. Yes, there is the problem of becoming addicted and having withdrawals when you stop, but so does everything else.
Lately, getting help with pain can be a difficult task in the United States. You almost feel like a criminal when you ask a doctor for pain medication, and the pharmacies are becoming more and more stringent and unreliable with their stock. Opioid addiction and abuse is a serious problem and our country is dealing with it with some extreme methods.
I moved to Mexico 5 years ago, to a location where there are thousands of American expats. And, although my reason for moving was not for seeking pain medication, it is much easier to get pain medication in Mexico, and cheaper to get medical care. There are many very good doctors here that speak English and they have excellent modern medical facilities. A doctor's visit for a specialist costs around $50 US and about $5 for a family doctor. I pay about $150 US for 100 10 mg. tablets of Methadone, which is 2 doses. So the box will last about 100 days, about a 3 month supply. So, my meds cost me about what my co-pay would be in the U.S. Same for doctor's visits.
Moving to Mexico may be extreme for you, but I have met many other expats that have moved to Mexico for health care reasons. I came because of the weather and the cost of living. And fate would have it that my pain is under control with medication.
One last note. I had a cervical disc replacement done in Mexico and all went well. My U.S. insurance footed the bill.
Whatever you do, I hope you find relief and that you do not have to go through difficult hurdles to get there.
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Agree with the medical marijuana. Those patients take the THC in pill form & do not smoke it.
I am for any pain mgmt option.
Re: traction- several years ago I developed numbness & tingling down an arm and neck pain. MRI showed cervical spine herniation. My Ortho also prescribed cervical traction and it worked 100%! I have never had a problem since (knock on wood).
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I am not sure if it's legal in your state, but have you looked into medical marijuana? You do not have to smoke it like lots of people think. It helps with pain and inflammation among other things. It keeps you calm and able to handle stress like an antianxiety medication would. There are educated pharmacists that can help find what helps you. Before going into a nursing home, my father ate edible cookies. It helped him when his medications wore off, took his constant, chronic knee pain away. He also had trouble swallowing food and when he took this, the problem went away. it is a different option that does not include medication. I just wanted to express this other option to you. Please know there are other options even though you might not feel that way right now. Please talk to someone and do research. I hope this helps you in some way, even if my just chiming in might show you we all care on here and we are here for you. This has been a great helpful website for myself and my father and i hope you give all these people a chance to help!
Peace to you.
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My wife has had pain issues for years. Tulsa, OK is the nearest place we have found to get some relief. In fact, she is getting her ablations done mid upper back two weeks apart and that is for not only upper back pain but referred pain to her abdomen. NOW, she also has a Medtronic pain stimulator in place for her lower back and right leg pain. WHO did we find? Pain Management doctor who has practiced anesthesia first and then now is in pain management. The laws for dispensing too much pain medication is what they are exposing, but going to a group of physicians for pain management is to her and me the answer. I am a retired RN and know many of the challenges that the doctors face. Demanding is NOT the answer. She also has oral pain meds and is also on a pain patch. Help is there - find a Christian doctor who cares and treat them as you would want to be treated. The police is frequently parked outside there large office building and my question to the staff was: "why"? So many times there are druggies who demand medications was the answer. Enough said.
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My mother has had five neck and back surgeries. Her spine is practically made of titanium. She was prescribed a ton of Norco which ended up becoming a disaster (for several reasons). To make a long story short, I took her to a pain management doctor. The doctor put her on a Butrans patch. The patch worked out well since it slowly releases the painkiller. She puts on a new patch once a week. There are other patches that work the same way but have different painkillers. I thought that I should share this with you since this is another option. Bringing my mom to the pain management doctor changed her life.
Also, I agree with what others said about a second opinion from a surgeon. My brother is a neurosurgeon (and very good one) and performs spinal surgery all the time. He operates on many patients who were previously told that there condition was inoperable. Don't dispair, there is always a solution.
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Those that suggested Canada drugs or other mail order. I have been unable in the three states i have lived to get narcotics mailed at all. Either thru insurance ir not. Dont know if its national but am betting it is. If not it soon will be.
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With all the focused attention on opiods, has also come information..... they were never designed to be for long term pain control due to the extreme addictiveness and negative side effects on the body. Pain management specialists look for alternative (often multi discipline) methods to help manage pain without addiction issues. I would suggest seeing what is available to manage pain and increase your quality of life.
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If one has back pain that includes a disk, and you get that shooting pain down your leg, the best thing I ever did as "traction". I was on pain pills and walking with a cane, even wore a machine that would zap the pain. Physical therapy didn't help at all :(

I know when my doctor first mentioned traction I thought of some med-evil type of torture machine. Actually it was an easy machine to be hooked up to, and two sessions my back pain went away.... that was almost 25 years ago and I never had an issue since.

I realize that not all back pain is created equal, so this may or may not work. Worth a try if your doctor says it is ok.
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Believe it or not, the best pain remedy is actually through your diet. Look at what's going in your mouth and how much of it. If you're badly neglecting one area or another, it'll definitely cause more pain than necessary depending on what you're facing. For simple arthritis, I would switch to a mostly or all natural diet of mostly plant-based with a little meat here and there. Another thing you'll want to consider is the possibility of upping your water intake if you don't already drinking off throughout the day as the human body need 64 fluid ounces and also get more into dairy if you're not already. Whole milk is actually better than skim
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Just want to mention what I found out about meds and insurance companies. My nephew was taking an ADD med that his prescription plan said he needed to replace it with something similar because they were no longer covering it. So his Dr. called them and said my nephew had already tried the alternatives and that this particular med was the only one that worked so the prescription company allowed it. Our local Office of the Aging helps people on Medicaid insurance, which my nephew had. We went to see them and we were told, at the time, that for $5 a month my nephew could go up a tier and that med would be covered. So we did it and never had a problem having that med covered. The cost did go up every year. Not sure if this type of thing can be done with all companies or not.
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Sorry, I should say that it was Oxycodone (Oxycotin) the opiod I meant by my post. I agree with the posts you need to see what is "new" out there for pain therapy.
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When I had a double knee replacement the best pain killer was not an opiod but a med that is also used by epiletics that calms the nerves called 'gabapenten' [sp?] - after I left hospital that was all I needed plus extra strength tylenol - maybe time for an overhaul on meds anyway if you are having that many pain days
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This is getting ridiculous. Seniors who have few yrs left anyway, being denied
pain meds. Soon marijuana will be legal everywhere. Personally, I hate narcodics. I came off cold turkey and just wanted to die as it was horrible.
I have a terrible feeling about drs who cave to the govt. Drs know our pain.
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Just want to address the over prescribing opiods. These are a DEA controlled substance. A doctor can prescribe all he wants to a patient but...the pharmacy should catch it. I worked for a parmacutical wholesaler. A DEA drug could not be gotten without sending in the order by mail. No Xerox copies no faxes. The pharmacists has to prove to the DEA that for every drug he ordered thru us he had a presription for. If a pharmacist saw a customer was getting too much it should be questioned. Many a pharmacist has caught a med mistake by a doctor. Yes, opiods should have not been used the way they have been. They were manufactured to be used on terminal patients. NJ makes it seem that this is a new thing, I haven't worked for that company in 14 yrs and  opiods were a problem back then. Over seven yrs ago a local woman was campaigning against them and had local doctors signing off saying they wouldn't prescribe them. Her BFF lost two out of three sons to drug overdoses.
To the OP. Like said, you need to see a pain management doctor. You probably already have an addiction.
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Definitely go back to the doctor or call - there could very well be another pain medicine that will work equally well and be available.
Another option is a neighboring state might still be selling the pills.

My DH was taken off Tramadol and put on Lortab - but other than the name, it worked just as well without the risk factor.

I do know people that order from Canada and/or Mexico - so you still have options - but I'd start with calling the doctor first.
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I have to agree with those who say you need to seek a pain management specialist who specializes in spinal procedures. There is so much help now. I had back surgery last June. I was in so much pain, I could not imagine how people coped years ago without it. I still have some issues; but I am no longer in pain and do not take pain meds. I also had an steroid epidural months before I had the surgery and it was a tremendous help, it got me up and walking. I don't understand why you were told not to do it.

You said you were diagnosed years ago. A lot has changed. Get a another opinion from a spine center or a doctor that is using advanced technologies. There is help out there.
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I would return to the Physician who specializes in spinal problems and also visit a pain control center.
It does not sound like your Primary Care Physician thought your spinal problem through.
Also, please be aware of the impropriety of Doctor Shopping for pain killers.
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As an RN, I have seen this happening more frequently. You need to be referred to a pain management specialist. They are permitted to write prescriptions for long term use of opoids and they are required to oversee the patient to assess pain levels. I know it is discouraging, but hang in there....you may get even better relief.
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I too suffer from chronic pain, and all I can say is that you present a difficult issue with many factors (diagnosis, pain levels, pain tolerance, insurance coverage, physician access, addiction risk, alternative therapies, the ongoing opioid epidemic crackdown, etc.) and no single best answer.

First, if you are considering suicide, please seek new help for both your suicidal thoughts and your pain. If your insurance offers it, talk to a (nurse) case-manager, and seek out a referral to a pain management specialist from either that case manager or your primary care physician. If your pain was well controlled on your opioid regimen without other impairment of function, then you should be able to get into a pain management program that will allow you to continue with that therapy.

However, once the immediate pain is under control, it would be worthwhile to start from scratch, obtain a thorough re-evaluation, and seek other therapeutic options. As you are the primary steward of your own body, you need to become educated on your symptoms, diagnosis, and possible treatments. Thankfully, that is easier to do via the Internet, now-a-days, but it still takes time and effort. As the opioid epidemic crackdown is not going to stop, it is likely to become even harder to obtain opioid medications going forward, particularly from primary care providers for non-terminal diagnoses. You need to anticipate as much.

Best of luck to you.
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I have been on opioid for a very long time for osteoarthritis throughout my body and sjogrens. I have had no addiction or abuse. I have been extremely worried about your issue of no longer getting. It gets harder to get refill everytime. I take muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories and none allow me to be a caretaker and activites of daily living without the opiod staying ahead of pain. Once again the abuse of some affect those of us that can't function without. I depend on donated care so I do not have access to a pain mgmt doctor or ortho for back issues. I appreciate the physicians that care for me but they also are being scared by government crackdown. Please look other places for answers so you can help those of us facing same issues. I so hope you find answers without taking your life. Let us know what you find out.
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My back pain has been helped enormously by the following: Physical therapy that I do every day at home, including stretches and strengthening exercises; daily workouts on my stationary recumbent bike; Tai Chi practice; and I recently started a ketogenic eating plan and much of my inflammation is already gone -- I even broke into a trot the other day - something that been unthinkable for several years. Realizing my solutions are just that -- my solutions -- I share them in case there are any you have not yet tried. The pills are definitely easier, but the advantage of the list above is that the results get better over time instead of wearing off like a pill does. Pain sucks the energy out of us, so I hold you in prayer as you find your way through this dilemma. While taking our own life can be tempting, you are wise and loving to realize that the impact on the wife you love would be devastating emotionally, not just financially. Keep searching, and try things that may seem counterintuitive - we never know which thing is going to restore our balance and life quality, but there are many non-prescription things out there that do just that. To your health!
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Please take a deep breath and seek out another doctor...pain mgmt, neuro, etc and please let us know how you are
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This has to be terribly challenging, and I'm with lilacalani, it will be very good for you to seek out an acupuncturist (and physical therapy, if you haven't already taken advantage of that). The body gets out of whack and you deserve something song with just numbing. Good luck.
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Consider trying a naturopathic practitioner, such as an acupuncturist or chiropractor. Sometimes they have effective solutions that conventional medical doctors lack.
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Myaching; Have you been to physical therapy for this condition?
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Yes, can you describe your symptoms and diagnosis? Where is your pain?
Maybe re-evaluate and agree to the injections if you aren't working climbing poles,etc.
Good Pain Mgmt doctors will work with you to find what works for you but this entire national clamp down and additional laws for opiates are very detrimental to this with chronic pain.
I wish every state would identify & investigate certain practices in pain mgmt by demo/zip code and run status reports on those practices quarterly or something. Leave the centers with good statistics and patient outcomes alone!
Try another provider. Make sure the provider is in your insurance network so you don't get hit with more expensive co-pays.
Please as you mentioned in your post - call the suicide hotline where ever you are - you can always get another doctor but there is only one you....Seek help.
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You should get to a pain management specialist immediately. But I agree that your doctor is not telling you everything, I am on opioids. My doctor will only prescribe me a 100 pills non-refillable at a time. He writes a new prescription every time I need a refill and he sees me every 6 months to assess my pain. But he has never even hinted to not prescribing me the opioid. I don't have crippling pain, but I do have arthritis.
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Ok, maybe I did not have enough information. Saw your other post.
Is your condition due to muscle spasms?

What do you know as the cause if what you have said:  "Crippling eleavator ani spasms?".
Maybe someone on here knows.  Is that your diagnosis?  Do you have sciatica-pain down a leg?

Have you tried ice, heating pads, massage, to decrease your need for pain meds?
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