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Suffering from severe back pain caused by arthritis. Is it safe to take methadone? What are the other solutions?

Jul 2013
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Answered by

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 1996
Answered : 2148 Questions
Hi! I am 64 year old female with severe back pain caused by arthritis in my lower discs. My doc prescribes 3 10 mg (blue) vicadin a day along with 4 tramadol's and ibuprofen to take daily as well. But I need 6 does daily and often I have to take two 10 mg vicadins at a time if I am gardening, grocery shopping, going to the mall, etc. Obviously, I have to buy the extra vicadins off the street each month and this is costly. My boyfriend is INSISTING I go to the local methadone clinic but I'm hesitant to stand in line every morning with hard core addicts. And my blood pressure is always 100 0ver 70. I do take a prescription for my lazy thyroid as well. Just over the past 3 months, my condition has worsened to the point I now have to walk with a cane. And I am very depressed over my declining mobility. My passion is outdoor gardening and I love it so much but I struggled this past summer and realized I had to ask for help with the spading of the earth, the planting of the flowers, and carrying the watering can. Going up steps is a challenge Is methadone safe for me to take? Are there other solutions? I currently weigh 260 pounds and my family phnysican claims that if I lose a hundred pounds, my problem will be solved. I've already lost 60 pounds but it took me two years to do that and I can't wait that long. Please help! Thanks!, .
Posted Sun, 8 Dec 2013 in Back Pain
Answered by Dr. K. Naga Ravi Prasad 40 minutes later
Brief Answer: Methadone is not a completely safe medication. Detailed Answer: Hi, thanks for writing to XXXXXXX Though Methadone is classified as an opioid analgesic that is used severe pain, it is basically used in the long-term maintenance treatment of narcotic addiction. Also, prolonged treatment with Methodone is associated with numerous systemic adverse reactions, mainly of the cardiovascular, respiratory and central nervous system disturbances. So, I personally feel that Methadone is not the right choice for treating your back pain. I suggest you to follow the below mentioned measures to reduce your back pain- - Usually 1-2 days of bed rest will calm severe back pain. Do not stay off your feet for longer, though. - Avoid lifting weights as it imparts more strain on your back - Change your daily activities so that you avoid movements that can cause further pain, especially bending forward and lifting as it will worsen the intervertebral disc problems. if you want to bend forwards, do it with your hips and knees flexed. - Use a lumbosacral back support to stabilize your spinal muscles and to provide support for your spinal column. - After the initial pain has subsided, remedial exercises to strengthen the spine are very important to restore normal spinal movements and muscle strength. The main aim of exercise is to encourage mobility, reduce muscle spasm, prevent further deterioration in the muscles and speed recovery. - You should maintain an optimum body weight to decrease the strain on your vertebral column causing more degeneration and arthritic changes. - At times, spinal steroid injections and Facet blocks will help in alleviating the lower back pain. - Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is another procedure which is used to reduce pain. RFA can be used to help patients with chronic (long-lasting) low-back and neck pain and pain related to the degeneration of joints from arthritis. The degree of pain relief varies, depending on the cause and location of the pain. Pain relief from RFA can last from six to 12 months and in some cases, relief can last for years. More than 70% of patients treated with RFA experience pain relief. I personally feel that your symptoms will improve with the above measures and you can go well with all your regular activities of daily living. Hope I have addressed your query. Happy to help further Regards
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