Home use of Gas and air

I had an interesting chat with my GP last week. I have chronic pain, and often find myself in the awful situation of being in so much pain, knowing that I need to move slightly to make it slightly easier, but also knowing that to physically move is going to cause even more pain temporarily. This is worse during the night. Also , although i am on morphine 24hrs a day, actually getting out of bed in the morning is agony and i have to lay there for ages just waiting for the morning dose of oramorph to kick in so i can get up. Anyway, it dawned on me that being able to use gas and air at home just to get me past those temporary hitches would be very effective, safe, and much better than having to take more morphine. And - my lovely doctor actually AGREED with me. She could totally see how much better it would be. BUT - apparently gas and air is not used for home. I dont know why. Is it really the case that they would prefer us to be on extra opiates, when actually some people just need that extra boost of pain relief for just a few minutes? I dont know if i have explained this well, but obviously the MST is for the main pain relief, the oramorph for breakthrough pain. Its just those brief moments when its difficult to actually get moving to start with that gas and air would be useful. So - anybody got any thoughts??

21 Replies

  • Dear jaffa7

    Nice to meet you

    I am in a similar situation I have OxyContin instead of your MST and Oxynorm instead of your oramorph .i do find that sometimes I wait in pain to take the Oxynorm I can be desperate then take it and before it's worked the pain goes off . I have had gas and air in an ambulance and one time it helped and one time it did not but you've come up with an excellent idea that would definitely help me to.,and many more .

    You sound like you live a life in terrible pain like I do maybe one day the medical proffesion will realise we know our pain and what helps and what does nt

    Take care

    Squeak xx🐷🐭

  • Thanks squeak. I think many of us live with our 'baseline' pain, that is there 24/7 that we have to take the opiates for. We also then have the 'breakthrough' pain, which we take the oramorph etc for as and when. But as you say - sometimes you end up taking it for what turns out to be fairly acute flare-ups or situations like just needing to get through the extra pain that has been caused by just getting up to go to the loo. So you end up having taken something that will be in your system for about 4 hours when you really only needed help for 10 minutes. So yes, to me, the obvious solution would be gas and air - it works immediately, but wears off quickly with no side effects, unlike the opiates

  • Hi Jaffa7,

    I was in the same position as you in that to get out of bed to get to my medication was inposible due to the pain of trying to get out of bed was to much for me to cope with without my meds it use to be I could not get out of bed around 1 -2 days a week but over the last couple of years it became that I could not manage to get out of bed and the days I could I could not manage to get dressed 4 -5 days a week which was one of the reasons I was becoming depressed with it so in the end I went out (sat down with the computer) and bought myself a electric bed which tilts the head end of the bed up so I am sat upright if I do it slow enough then I can cope with getting up I had got to the position that I was spending so many days just lay there that I was in bed more than I was out which is not good for you, I had not thought about trying gas and air myself but I do know that it does not remove pain it just makes it so you do not care about it it is just laughing gas along with oxygen which clears your head (I know from past use of oxygen after a late night out)

    The reason your doctor will not prescribe it is it is to easy to become dependent on it more than the opiats they can give to you your normal doctor is restricted on what they are allowed to prescribe and if you need a stronger item than they can give you they have to send you to a local pain management clinic where they can prescribe stronger medication.

    good luck with finding something that helps you manage your pain.

    Regards Poppy Ann.

  • Never heard of gas and oxygen. Never. I live in USA

  • No I just was using the oxygen no gas was used the oxygen just helps you clear your head but you have to be careful not to use to much oxygen as you can die from to much oxygen just as easy as no oxygen, their was no pain relief involved in it just clearing your head caused by to late a night combined with to much alcohol.

    Regards Poppy Ann.

  • Oh jeez, oxygen is regulated big time in the USA.. I wonder though. Would be amazing to have an amount to clear the head several times a day with all of these pain medicines prescribed. It's sickening isn't it?

    I am understanding the whole concept entirely with needing to have gas though to knock yourself out so the physical therapist can break down scar tissue or even move your body when it is in a can't move situation.

  • the oxygen I use to use was just for workshop use for gas welding/cutting not quite the normal medical standard but as long as you just blew it across the face for a couple of seconds whilst you breath normal it did clear the head very well but I doubt your doctor would approve.

    Regards Poppy Ann.

  • That's exactly what I'm like first thing in the morning too!! I have to set my alarm extra early just to fail miserably at doing my stretches (how can we be expected to do these excersise when it hurts too much to move?!?!) so that I can get my little girl up and get us both ready on time for the school run! I am so sleep deprived though as I work evening shifts so I don't get home til between 12.30-1am, I need to have a 'normal' after work routine i.e. come home, have tea and wind down for an hour before I can go to bed so it's often 2-2.30am when I get to bed and then I'm soooooo sore from such a long day!!

    I also have a hiatus hernia, the mst, gabapentin & amitryptiline usually mask a lot of the pain that this causes but sometimes that pain is too much and I end up being awake in unbearable agony all night!!!!!

    I wasn't aware that oramorph was an option but can I ask, how does it make you feel? I refused the mst for the longest time as I was terrified that it would leave me unable to function (having only ever had morphine injections previously when admitted to hospital). I live 3 miles away from school and 12 miles from work so my only transport options are to drive. I very much like your gas and air idea but when ive had in in hospital before i spent a fair bit of time hallucinating! I'd be skeptical of it helping me get up in the morning but it would definitely help me to actually get some sleep!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Does it last so you can fall asleep?

  • I have not had gas and air but if you have not tried the morphine patches, I would recommend them. I find that the deal quite well with baseline pain. Benefits include the fact that you don't get the 'peaks & troughs' of tablets wearing off and that they don't affect your stomach adversely. They do make you tired when you first start them but you then get used to them. I tried Oxycontin and hated it. If I get breakthrough pain, I up the Solpadol (Paracetamol 500 / Codeine 30) which seems to do the trick most of the time. I also use a TENS machine and my last option is an urgent visit to the Osteopath or Sports Massage Therapist.

    That's the physiological part. The other but most important part is the mental part. I feel that as long as I know that I have a range of options to help me, I can cope most of the time. Yes, I do have down hours or days when I feel angry, frustrated, scared and depressed. I find that anti-depressants help but my biggest help is my wonderful wife who understands me.

    I hope that this information is of use to you.

    Best regards,


  • Thank you Dave your comments/information were so helpful...... You are very lucky to have such a supportive wife my partner of nine years as abandoned me which as you can imagine as caused me a big flare up

  • I am very sorry to hear that. I hope that your pain becomes liveable. Someone once said to be that living with long term pain means that we have to come to terms with a new "normal". That struck a chord with me. All the best.

  • Unfortunately, I cannot advise you - I don't have your level of pain. However, there is going to be a three week radio 4 programme on pain, starting this Monday at 4 p.m. I will be listening. I am hoping it will be of help to everyone who is experiencing all and any levels of pain. LellyDK

  • Urgent! I am so sorry, I have given the incorrect day and time for the radio programme. It begins tonight at 8 p.m. LellyDK

  • Hi Jaffa, When I read your Post today, I can identify/empathise & sympathise so much with your situation! I am also on a very high dose of MST, twice a day, plus Oralmorph for break-through pain!

    I have various pain conditions/syndromes, Fibro/ME/CFS, Oesteophrosis Elhers-Danlos Syndrome which is very rare, not even many Doctors have heard of it! I have many dislocations/sublactions of Joints due to EDS (connective tissue disorder, I lack in Collagen, which is why I have so many dislocations!) A&E give me Gas &Air whilst trying to manipulate Joint back in which I find so effective! I can"t have them put Joint back without Gas & AIr!

    Your idea of having Gas & Air @ home is a fantastic one & with the agreement of your GP thinking it would benefit you, it just does"nt seem @ all fair that you are not allowed it @ home!

    Like you I cannot get out of bed, my husband literally has to lift me out! I try to only take the Oral Morphine when I am absolutely desperate! Which is one of those days! I also have 3/4/5th Slipped/bulging Discs in my spine! I woke this am reduced to tears with the debilitating, insidious pain in my spine, it feels as if one or more of my Discs have "slipped out!" which is fiesable with EDS! So reluctantly I just had to take Oralmorph early hours this am & throughout the day!

    I agree totally with you re Gas & Air to help relieve us of chronic pain, rather than take all the Opiates we have to, to try and elevate pain! I would say we are more likely to be dependant on the Strong Opiates, which do dreadful things to our breathing ect. rather than having a few puffs of Gas & Air which does"nt destroy our internal organs or make chronic fatigue even worse!

    I always say to Doctors if I could just "Plug!" my pain in to you for just an hour, they would"nt even last the duration & would understand the pain we endure!

    I believe if they had our pain, they would soon Prescribe Gas & Air @ home??!!

    I have tried almost every Analgesic or Patches there is to try but find the combination of MTS, Oral Morphine, Pregablin, Amytriptaline, Steraline, Diazepam (for Nerve pain), plus Lidocaine Patches on Site of the Pain the most effective to date!! BUT still agree with you on the Gas & Air, even if just to take in the morning to help us get out of bed! Tremendous shame you have been denied this most excellent idea of yours!!

    I sincerely hope you find some relief from your chronic pain?!

    Sending you positive, healing, comforting vibes!

    Take care of yourself.

    Best wishes BB X PS Apologies for such a long reply!!!!

  • What a bloody Brilliant idea!!! i totally agree with you and don't understand why they prefer us to be doped up on morphine rather than us having some gas and air. Silly in my eyes

  • Heya,

    I very much identify with your problem.

    I have chronic background pain which I manage with tramadol and opiates, but I have pain spikes that can send my pain level from 2/10 - 10/10 in 5 minutes. Obviously, even fast-acting opiates don't kick in that quickly. Gas and air does, and on the occasions when I've called an ambulance I've been given it and its been very effective. However, I've had exactly the same problem as you in getting it prescribed for home use. I've been given several reasons for this, none of which I've found very convincing. I've been told that its very addictive and that it can have side-effects, especially if used long term (it can deplete your vitamin B12 levels, for instance). This is definitely true, but its also true of opiates, and I've never been given an adequate explanation as to why opiates are acceptable for use at home but gas and air isn't. I've also been told that it's flammable, because it contains oxygen, but people with respiratory problems use oxygen at home. The nearest I've got to a good reason is that its a gas mix (60% nitrous oxide, 40% oxygen) and that gas mixes can be tricky to handle and need specialist knowledge - but again, I used to volunteer for a first-aid organisation and its (lay) members were equipped with it after some basic training - and I don't see why they couldn't do as much for patients. Sadly, whatever the reasons, I have met with a complete refusal to look into prescribing gas and air at all levels of the medical profession - from GPs to consultants.

    In desperation, I resorted to non-medical channels, but I must make it clear I DO NOT ADVISE YOU TRY THIS and, if you do, its ENTIRELY AT YOUR OWN RISK. You can get small ampules of nitrous oxide to load into cream-whippers (the metal sort used by catering professionals, designed for you to load in cream + an ampule, which squirts out as whipped cream). If you just load in an ampule and no cream, then put a balloon over the nozzle where the cream would normally come out, you get a balloon full of nitrous oxide gas, which you can inhale. THIS HAS SEVERAL DRAWBACKS. Medical nitrous is gas AND AIR (oxygen), whereas this do-it-yourself method involves inhaling pure nitrous. YOU MUST TAKE BREATHS OF AIR BETWEEN BREATHS FROM A BALLOON or you RISK SUFFOCATION. I found that it was advisable to have someone else with you, just in case. The other important drawback is that this method uses FOOD GRADE NOT MEDICAL GRADE NITROUS - it is not designed for inhalation and can have contaminants. I can tell you from experience that, if you do try this method, medical professionals will not be happy!

    Rather than doing this, I would recommend that you ask your GP to refer you to a chronic pain specialist (if you haven't been already). Explain the problem to the specialist and ask about your options. For example, you may be able to use fast acting opiates, so you don't have to wait for ages for oromorph to kick in, or you may be able to use opiate patches, so that you have a constant level of pain relief on-board. Don't give up! Persist and kick up a fuss as necessary until you get the help you need.

  • I think if I had gas and air first thing I'd probs fall out of bed and hurt myself! like you all waking up to reality is affronting and nearly as bad as wanting to go to bed at night to relieve pain. I start with moving the bits that don't hurt. My hands. I wiggle fingers, open and close fists, circle wrists and work my way down. By the time I'm sitting up I place both feet into the carpet and ground my feet. Wiggle toes and when my legs feel strong enough I take weight into mt feet, ankles, knees, hips until I'm up. Sounds stupid but I think all the focus on bits that are ok helps distract me from the 'other' bits.... I also cherish my first cuppa so I'm motivated to get my chops downstairs..... I know this isn't for everyone but it might help a few... 😜

  • Sounds like a good idea to me x

  • This is probably the answer for someone with a pain scale that goes like this.

    Sitting, laying down pain scale registers very low to non existent

    Standing still even for a short time registers a very high level of pain.

    In some cases the pain will cause me to fall to the ground.

    To walking any distance over 400 feet my back gives out and the

    pain is unimaginable.

    but sitting, laying down will bring the pain down to near zero again.

    So I must have a pain killer to work through this one but I dislike that I

    have to put my organs at risk or have to feel high? when I am having

    no pain at all. The contrast in pain to non pain is just too great. I will

    pass out. I have no motivation to put myself through that kind of agony

    without pain pills.

    How it feels to go from zero pain to a solid 10.

    It's like someone throwing ice cold water in your face unexpectedly

    It's like suddenly touching the hot stove

    Your spinal reflexes kick into high gear and jerk away from the stimulation.

    There is no control at all for you.

    There is no way that you can get through this pain without deadening

    that spinal reflex action.

    You might need a laughing gas with or without oxygen.

    Then it can quickly be reversed by taking the laughing gas away.

    If you have Chronic pain then this would be what I call a piggy back drug.

    I'm not so sure how safe it would be without trained supervision.

    I don't see how it can sit un-monitored.. I would be devastated to find

    someone using it for amusement or to just get high. If I were a doctor

    I wouldn't let this be available - probably in my case above or in this case.

    Can anyone change my mind about everyday use while patient is taking

    strong narcotics and using this? I see it as teaching the body to depend

    on substances (narcotics) rather than the body producing it's own

    "morphine" - and it really does have a great ability to produce endorphin's

    and it can learn to block out pain of all sorts in it's normal, natural state.

    Overloading the body with painkillers will in turn start working against

    the cause after some time so I think that it's just too much... too much

    reliance on chemicals disabling the natural ability to shut out pain.

    Someone please tell me otherwise. I would love to hear opposition on

    this.. me being against it's use daily. =)

  • Roaring like a volcano down below

    Roaring like thunder in the distance

    Like a thunderstorm right overhead

    Like little raindrops

    Like a good steady, constant rain

    Like rain coming down hard and sideways, with wind

    Like hail, little pebbled, golfball size, grapefruit size falling hard

    Like just after the storm, a little lingering but mostly gone.

    Like a tornado

    Like a good strong wind blowing, knocking over things

    Like a hurricane

    Light breeze

    Like my body has fever all over it

    burning inside, scorching heat

    Like I am on fire all over inside and outside.

    Like I've been burned - sunburned feeling

    Like I am standing in a pot of boiling water or my limb is in one

    Sweating with it running down my face from hurting

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