Dealing with chronic pain
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What pain relief works

graimacgraimac Member Posts: 2 Listener
Hi I havent been on for a while, a lot has been going on . I was just wondering what pain relief people are on as I suffer with chronic back pain and sciatic pain in my leg , combined with degenerate disc disease.  I'm on pregabalin and zapain but no relief at my wits end , any advice please 


  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    Back pain is usually muscular related but sciatica is nerve related so probably need different pain killers. There are 4 alterantives to Pregabalin but all of this type (nerve pain killers) require a few weeks to build up before giving realistic results so doctors only increase them slowly. If your level isn't working then speak to your GP and, if they don't suggest an increase try suggesting Amitryptylene, Nortryptylene, Duloxetine or Gebapentin as alternative options. Zapain are based on paracetamol and codeine (opiate). Most doctors start these at low dosage of 500/10 but can go higher to 500/50 in stages. Depending on your current dosage they might be increased or you could move onto a different opiate such as Tramadol. There is another Codeine family (Dihydrocodeine) but these are regarded as stronger than Tramadol and doctors prefer to try Tramadol first.

    There is another possibility though. As most drugs and medications are sold under trade names this means that each different make is slightly different chemically for copyright reasons. Sometimes one version of a medication won't work and a different one will. I have this problem with Pregabalin. I cannot tolerate much of the cheap generic Pregabalin but get on a lot better with a named one. This might also be worth thinking about and discussing but first discuss dosage levels with the GP and consider this last.

    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
    I recommend talking to your doctor. Different types of pain require different treatment methods. Are you seeing a pain specialist or not? If so, ask for their advice. They should be able to help you. 
  • pink_princesspink_princess Member Posts: 131 Pioneering
    edited August 2019
    Hi @graimac

    Sorry to hear about your pain difficulties I am one of the community champions here at scope who volunteer we help and support people offering advice to people on the community. I don’t know much about medications so I’m just wondering if you have tried heat pads or wheat pads these are sometimes scented with lavender and come in different shapes and sizes as heat is proven to relax muscles and help pain also Epsom salts in a bath if that’s possible for you can also help reduce pain

    I would recommend talking to your local pain management clinic they may be able to help you with this I think you can referred by your GP if you’re not already seeing a specialist.

    I thought some links maybe useful to places that maybe able to answer any questions you have.

    Scope also have a chronic pain adviser

     Hope this helps 😀

  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
    Also exercise helps. Light exercise can be as effective as traditional medication for pain control. Swimming especially is recommended for pain sufferers. Try other techniques that work like distraction and art therapy. Some times talking to a friend or professional can work. Hang in there. 
  • EmmaBEmmaB Member Posts: 263 Pioneering
    Dear @graimac

    I think one of the problems is that pain killers aren't necessarily effective for chronic pain ie you need to take more and more of them for them to have an effect and that comes with its own problems...

    It may not be appropriate for you but I find one of the best pain killers for me is stretches, recommended by a physio - though in my experience a good physio is a rare thing!

    Another thing you could consider is mindfulness... I thought it was a load of old rubbish when I first heard about it but there's definitely something in it.  This book is well worth a read even if you only read the first part of it, which explains what pain is, how it works [primary and secondary pain] and how mindfulness could help - then at least you have a greater understanding of how pain works:

    Mindfulness for Health: A practical guide to relieving pain, reducing stress and restoring wellbeing
    by Vidyamala Burch  (Author), Danny Penman (Author)

    It's available in paperback, on kindle or there's even an audible version.

    I hope that helps and I hope you find something that works for you, because I know pain can be an all consuming thing until you can start to manage it, rather than it managing you.

    Best wishes.

  • veritercveriterc Member Posts: 197 Pioneering
    I feel or you - and would echo others when they say to see a Consultant, but make sure it is a proper consultant based at a hospital.  I thought my GP could help, until I reached the top of the referral list and actually go an appointment with the hospital's head honcho - and boy what a difference.  What he advised and has done is incredible - but everyone is different so you need to get your own advice tailored to your needs.  Two simple things that also helped were 1.  heated underblanket in bed - bliss!  and 2.  exercise yes - but ask for hydrotherapy as the warm water soothes whilst you are exercising;  a double whammy!
  • johnmuller75johnmuller75 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    graimac said:
    Hi I havent been on for a while, a lot has been going on . I was just wondering what pain relief people are on as I suffer with chronic back pain and sciatic pain in my leg , combined with degenerate disc disease.  I'm on pregabalin and zapain but no relief at my wits end , any advice please 
    Pain killer is not good for health. You can take physiotherapy treatment and do some exercise to relieve your pain at home.
  • deb74deb74 Member Posts: 754 Pioneering
    HI @graimac. I have spina bifida and scoliosis. I have taken lots of painkillers over the years. I used to struggle to walk when the pain was really bad. I did hardly any exercise at the time then I moved house I now live in the middle of nowhere and don't drive so had to walk everywhere. It was hard at first but got easier and I found that my back pain got better and I no longer had problems walking. I decided to try and come off painkillers. I found that the pain was now manageable without painkillers. I now have very little pain and have started to use pain relief gel if I feel any pain I can't manage by exercise alone.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger

    Pain killer is not good for health. You can take physiotherapy treatment and do some exercise to relieve your pain at home.
    Any form of exercise only ever makes my chronic pain worse, which is why i avoid it at all costs.
    Proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice I have given to members here on the community.
  • EmmaBEmmaB Member Posts: 263 Pioneering
    Hi @poppy123456
    I think it's important to perhaps separate out exercise from movement.
    I have limited mobility so can't do many forms of exercise but I think it's important to keep moving and stretching in some way otherwise the body [and mind] just deteriorate. 
    It's just a question of finding what movement works for you as of course everyone is different.  Most people, even those with severe pain, could probably benefit from moving around in water as it is non weight bearing for example.
    There's a big move [no pun intended] to get disabled people moving eg  because the benefits of trying to move in whatever way you can far outweigh the costs of not doing so.  I don't think it needs to be about marathons but just doing whatever you can really and sometimes that means moving through the pain barrier.  A good physio [and yes I know they are VERY hard to find] should be able to help with this.
    All the best.
  • EmmaBEmmaB Member Posts: 263 Pioneering
    Hi @deb74
    It's great to hear how walking has improved your physical wellbeing.  I think it can be quite a big deal to make the decision to get more active and to reduce painkillers, particularly if you've been used to being inactive and on them for a while. 
    Of course for some people making that change represents a whole new way of being so it's great to hear you've done it and are reaping the benefits of having done so. 
    All the best.
  • veritercveriterc Member Posts: 197 Pioneering
    I have found hydrotherapy keeps me mobile, and whilst I lived in London had no trouble in accessing it weekly.  However, now I have moved to Oxfordshire there is a draconian post-code lottery, and even though I have had hydro prescribed in writing by six of my consultants, I can't get any more.  This is a disgrace that one can get help in one NHS area, but not in another.
  • deb74deb74 Member Posts: 754 Pioneering
    Hi veriterc. I agree with you about the postcode lottery. I live in Wales and had to have an operation on my shoulder. I was seeing a consultant in Shropshire and he put me on his list. He told my if had been put on a list in Wales I would have had to wait at least six months for the operation but because I was under a consultant in England I only had to wait a month for the operation
  • veritercveriterc Member Posts: 197 Pioneering
    I think it disgusting that we have to depend on faceless officials who might, or might not, bother to negotiate better care for those of us living in their area.  I think money should be allocated equally across the country..  Wonder what other members think?
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @graimac, how are you doing?
    Community Partner

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