Pain, an update

pain medicine

I finished my second round of Physical Therapy sessions over two weeks ago. That meant I have completed 24 sessions of the back strengthening program. Was it successful? Well, it helped me. Definitely. I can stand straight and walk, I sleep better.

About a week or so before I finished with my sessions, the pain started coming back, and more often too. I told my therapist about it, but she couldn’t offer me anything really. I decided to just take it up with the doctor when I see him. Then I remembered that I will need to go see a different doctor; my HMO no longer allowed me to have outpatient services at St. Luke’s QC (the hospital a stone’s throw away from home, and where I was born too).

So seeing the doctor took awhile. I only went in to see the new doctor last week and only because I’d been complaining of the pain more and more lately. My new doctor looks very respectable, and credible. But he made me wait four hours. Today, I waited almost three hours. More reading time for me. So he’s good, I think he is. He asked me if I was ready to have my back opened, I said no. “Of course”, he said, “I think we can try another combination of medicines.”

He gave me what I call Pain Medication v.2. Instead of one tablet of Arcoxia daily, I now take Cerebrex twice daily, with Lyrica. Lyrica, I was told, desensitizes my nerves so I don’t feel pain too easily. If the pain is still a little too much to handle, I get to take Dolcet upto four times a day. So far I’ve only had to take Dolcet twice (just took a pop while typing this). Lyrica also tends to make one drowsy. So I’ve been sleeping a lot, which maybe also tricks me into thinking my back hasn’t been painful, because I’m not awake to feel it. Ha!

His advise also includes losing 30-40 pounds. That would likely allow me to escape the need for an operation. Like it was that easy! Ugh.

I was advised to check myself into the hospital in case the pain persisted until Saturday (first visit was Thursday), otherwise I was to report back to the clinic on Tuesday the 27th. I was also to take an LOA from work for one to two weeks pending treatment. That was the toughest advise, I think. Although I love any excuse to stay home, I just can’t leave work for very long. But I wasn’t about to argue with the doctor; I don’t want my back condition to worsen. 

Saturday came. I wasn’t in too much pain so I decided to stay home. Tuesday came and I headed to the hospital early. 30 mins prior the 10AM clinic opening hour, I was already there. Armed with a book, I waited. Almost three hours later, I met with the Doc again. He obviously read my file already, and he said that it looks like the combo of medicine was good for me. After all, I didn’t rush to the hospital on Saturday. I said yes, it seems the pain level decreased. When I felt pain, I just adjusted my position.

The verdict: keep taking the meds, but I shouldn’t take Cerebrex for more than a month. After a month, I’ll have to rest before taking it again. I should also go back for more PT. After the sessions, the rehab doctor can give a recommendation for fit to work (although I think I’ve already decided to go back after only a week and a half of rest, we’ll see). If after another round of therapy I still am not happy with the results, I am to go back to the Doc with the PT’s assessment.

If after this third round I am not happy, I’d seriously consider an operation. Ugh.