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Due to the opioid epidemic, my mother's NP has prescribed 2 caplets a day of Norco. My mother is 94 and is in severe pain everyday. When I have asked the NP to increase the dosage or add another pain med in addition to the norco, she always recites how she's worried about addiction. I think this is so ridiculous. Who really cares if a 94 year old woman becomes addicted to a med if it relieves her suffering? My mother mons every morning and during the day from bursitis. Does anyone know of an over the counter med that is effective in between taking the norco? She already lives on a heating pad. Additionally physical therapy has never helped her before. I'm lost.

It makes me so angry that people and especially the elderly are under treated for pain. I’m a retired registered nurse and full time caregiver for my husband who suffers with Multiple Sclerosis and chronic pain. First: is Mom getting any anti inflammatory meds—Aleve, Advil, Ibuprofen? These are all OTC. Inflammation is a major cause of pain in bursitis, so these can help a lot, and can be taken with Norco (2 tabs daily is useless). Second: stop the heating pad and switch to cold packs 15 minutes on/ 15 minutes off. Heat only aggravates the inflammation. Third: People who are using opioids to treat physical pain (and not to get high) do not become addicts! And I agree, at 94 years old, so what? Finally: consider getting Hospice/Palliative care at home. They are much better about managing pain as they’re goal is comfort care. They don’t flip out over giving opiates. I had my ML on hospice for several years. (She died at home last March at 98 years old.) I hope this is helpful to you and your Mom. Warm regards.
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TNtechie Jan 25, 2020
I had a problem with the PCP doctor discontinuing pain medication for my 87 year old father with osteoporosis living in MC. I asked how he was suppose to abuse the time released OxyContin when he never had more than a single dose delivered as prescribed by the MC staff - at that point he had been on the same low 5mg dose for over 3 years. The PCP stated because my father was only taking 2 doses a day 12 hours apart he didn't really need the medication at all since a therapeutic dosage was every 6 hours. Fortunately, his heart specialist wrote a new script when he heard about it.
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Every single person's 'pain' is THEIR pain--just b/c you came home from a surgery and needed only Tylenol and it was effective DOES NOT mean that everyone has that same kind of pain tolerance. Chronic pain takes the absolute soul out of you--when you can only lay in bed and cannot walk, exercise--even get UP b/c the pain from whatever is so bad--then why would your dr withhold an opiate? Keeping the pain cycle under control is the goal of most caring doctors. Once it's out of control it takes a long time to get it 'back'.

And yes, drug addicts and 'street dealers' are still getting their stuff. The 'war on opiates' has been an epic fail. You know who abuses drugs more than anyone? People in the healthcare field. Drs and nurses---anesthesiologists are the 'worst'. And I know this b/c my DIL IS an anesthesiologist and when she goes to conferences--this ALWAYS comes up.

I have to see my PCP every 3 months to renew my scrip for Tylenol 3. I have arthritis in every joint in my body. Ibuprofen has caused me to have some kidney function issues and my PCP is very judicious in prescribing. I WAS on Norco until 2 back surgeries fixed the back problems, but the arthritis is a lifelong problem and isn't getting better. B/c it's throughout my whole body, covering myself in some gel or putting cold packs on the 'sore spots' and trying to function on Tylenol alone? I'd spend everyday, all day chasing down the 'hotspots'.

Nobody's pain is like mine and mine is not like someone else's. I wish we didn't even have to have these discussions. I'm 100% functional and feel capable of doing in a day what needs doing.

I won't live to 90, but I HOPE I will be allowed to manage my pain with the compassionate care of a good dr. Arthritis does NOT 'get better' as we age.
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cherokeegrrl54 Jan 25, 2020
Thank you, Midkid, you took the words right outta my mouth!! Im in your shoes regarding the arthritis all over so i sure understand! Hope you are continuing to recover your strength and are feeling much better each day.,,Liz
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Essie, I sympathize with you and your mom. While I wholeheartedly agree—she’s 94, let her have her meds and live out the rest of her days pain free, the FDA doesn’t agree with that. I think most are now aware that they’ve changed their guidelines and they are really cracking down on doctors that prescribe too many opioids. Because of this, many doctors are really adhering to the guidelines and their patients are suffering in pain because doctors don’t want to get in trouble. Have you thought about having your mom evaluated for hospice? I think her age alone would be a qualifier. Since she’s not dying, it would be palliative at this point, they would just make sure she’s comfortable all the time.
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Good point about addiction and withdrawal cwillie. My husband was on norco for years because of a significantly herniated disc in his lower back and last October, workman’s comp decided he had been on it long enough so the pain management doctor refused to keep prescribing it. The first few weeks were horrible because of the withdrawl. I didn’t realize it until much later that it wasn’t the pain causing certain things, it was withdrawl effects. I can only go by what i witnessed and what my husband experienced but it does not seem that doctors care much. They did cut back my husbands monthly allotment of norco for a month or two and then cut him off completely. And they didn’t give him anything else until he started pleading for anything—not opioids but anything to help with the excruciating pain. Pain so bad he spent most of his days laying face down in bed because the pain was so bad and that position was the only one that he tolerate. He was given muscle relaxants which made him sleep but didn’t touch the pain. Prescription strength Advil which was the same as 4 OTC Advils. Patches. He even tried a TENS machine. Nothing helped.

And as far why patients are left suffering in pain.....that is America for you. Sure there are definitely doctors that are overprescribing but the solution isn’t to cut off people with documented painful conditions. Unfortunately what is happening in this country is that people are being cut off from opioids and left to suffer debilitating pain and what is happening is that many of them suffer until they can’t take it anymore and they commit suicide.

I can understand why doctors are afraid to prescribe opioids these days but.....cutting people off isn’t the answer. Most people who OD on them obtained them illegally in the first place.
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Isthisrealyreal Jan 25, 2020
And studies show that it is on 7% of the prescribed users that are a problem.

Punishing the other 93% is just like our over reactive powers that be.

Laws only change when a lawmaker is affected personally.
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I would request a referral to a pain management doctor.

They will actually treat her pain.
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It is safe to take both ibuprofen and acetaminophen, usually alternately, so I would ask for that at the very least. People have also mentioned pain patches - I have no experience with them but they might be a good alternative to oral meds. Frankly this NP's worries about addiction in a 94 yr old with chronic pain makes me think s/he is a bit of a quack, you could ask for an opinion from a pain specialist.
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Midkid58 Jan 23, 2020
Amen to that!!
A good doctor will evaluate each patient and prescribe pain meds for THEIR NEEDS.. the so called 'opioid epidemic' has been blown WAY out of proportion and leaves a huge segment of the population in chronic, unbearable pain, when the judicious management of pain is the best way to ensure a decent quality of life. (Said by someone with chronic systemic arthritis that, if untreated, leaves me basically unable to function at all!)

The pendulum will swing the other way, soon enough and docs won't have to be hamstrung by policies that frighten them into underprescribing for the chronically 'in pain'.

BTW, real drug abusers will always get their drugs. Sadly, people in real need are going underprescribed.
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NTWH has mentioned diclofenac sodium gel for bursitis. I have bursitis in my foot and found that CBD lotion helped more for it than the prescription gel. Also I now take 2000mg turmeric daily which is helpful for bursitis and the pain in my foot which made it hard to walk, is much more manageable. Just a thought.
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Id like to suggest looking into Hospice pain management care,Hospice is Not just for people on there way out..its About Being Pain free and comfortable, My Family member(80yrs) has been on Hospice care,and has Medications for use to manage the Pain..What I've noticed that helps So much is Atavan..it helps to relax her..Hope my suggestion helps.
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EssieMarie, we tried pretty much everything for my 95-year-old mother's arthritis pain. From Celebrex to hydrocodone to PT to morphine and nothing was helping, or at least for very long. After hearing from one of the former nursing staff at her ALF on how well it worked for this woman's grandfather, I sought out CBD oil. I'll admit I was pretty skeptical and worried about trying it. I spoke with her doctor to make sure it wouldn't interfere with anything she was taking, and was told blood pressure meds were about the only bad interaction. While my mom isn't on any of those, she is on Lasix for CHF. A 20 mg dose around noon seems to keep her out of pain, has helped with her cognitive issues, and has mostly stopped the sundowning. There's no THC in it, but unfortunately, it's not regulated. If you decide to try it, my best advice is to start with small doses.

And if you're not happy with how it's working with the NP, try another. A second opinion never hurts. Sending hugs!
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CarolGinger Jan 25, 2020
What brand of CBD do you buy?
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My dad will be 94 in 2 days!! Last April he had a severe case of Bursitis in his upper arm. Very painful. Trouble eating, dressing and loosing his balance. They first gave him the Lidocane patch but also Rx for him to have PT.
I honestly didn't think it would do squat BUT it did!!. He went to outpatient PT 2 X a week for 8 sessions.They gave me exercises for him to follow up at home each day too.( stretchy bands, etc)
While my dad was not happy to do them, I cheerleadered him on. It did take a few months but he has no issues now. I still have him do his few exercises 3X each day, he needs to stay strong to stay with me. ( been here 13 yrs after a stroke)
Good luck with your mom. Susan from Indiana
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