IS there an alternative to morphine

I have been in pain with my back since 1977. I have always work until July last year as a bus driver in London and on European coaches for 32 years being medically retired due to heart disease and chronic back pain i have now been told i have Scheuermann's disease doctor put me gabapentin and morphine and baclofen i take them as prescribed but find myself in more pain i don't want to relie on drugs anyone can suggest an alternative

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25 Replies

  • So sorry!!!

  • Alternative to morphine would be methadone-dolophine 5-10mg tablets

  • Such a lot for you to deal with tec2tec!

    Non-medication wise, you could maybe try massage, acupuncture, yoga, pilates, physio, hydrotherapy or counselling?

    Do you have access to a Pain Management Team in your area - via your GP? They generally have a Psychologist who specialises in chronic pain.

    Having to rely on or just be offered medication is hard but unfortunately we have to be proactive in seeking alternatives sometimes.

    Good for you for asking for something other than medication!!!!


  • seeing pain management soon

  • I have tried all the drugs you have named and more but some take the edge of it but nothing I have had helps the pain that much. Like you I do a similar job which doesn't help. However, I have managed to get completely pain free on numerous occasions over the past 5 years with nerve root block injections. They are uncomfortable uncomfortable but when they work are brilliant. Some I have had last for as long as 9 months others only 6 weeks but worth it x

  • i will find out thank you

  • I reacted badly to the drugs at first. I discussed it with my GP and we kept changing the cocktail and strength until we hit on something which gave some relief and minimised the side effects. There has been no magic bullet and I needed to change the change the combination every few months, but things did improve. Surgery last year helped a lot and I enjoy the good days.

  • Try Tai chi but do find a person who understands injuries etc.

  • interesting will look into that thank you

  • Swimming is the best physio

    Walking in water is great for the back

  • time to get the pool filled up thank you

  • It defo works

    Big time

  • Hi! I'm in a similar position and I too carried on in spite of pain for years until I couldn't anymore. I recommend trying to find a pain management (emphasis on management) specialist. Have you had any pain education from your dr? It's very useful in understanding why you have pain and where it's coming from, then you can start altering the way you perceive pain, and it's supposed to make it better and easier to deal with...I say 'supposed' to as I'm still in the process of doing that, but I have been assured that a complete reduction in pain killers is possible. It sounds like you have an element of centralised pain, which is a problem with your central nervous system and is what can be left after an injury is healed. The pain receptors are switched on and you feel pain although the initial cause of the pain, such as a back injury, has been removed. This is what the gabapentin is for. There are two pathways that pain can take, one can be reduced by antiepileptics (gabapentin) and the other by antidepressants (such as amitriptyline) sometimes a combination of the two can help. I personally started with amitriptyline, and when that didn't give a complete reduction in pain they put me on pregabelin (an antiepileptic) as well. This gave me some worrying side effects and I had to come off it. I'm still on amitriptyline and I take strong opiates too, along with the max dose of paracetamol which my pain specialist recommended. If you are really keen to reduce your pain killers I would request a referral to a pain management program, there aren't many of them in the country so there is a long wait (there is one in London called INPUT at guys and st Thomas' hospital) but they deal with you as a whole person, not just your individual diagnoses. They teach you about pain, they look at physio and they do cognitive behavioural therapy to help you control your pain signals. I have to admit when I was first told about centralised pain and behavioural therapy, I thought they were saying it was all psychological and i wasn't really in pain, but when they explained it to me, I understood it all and my initial thoughts were completely wrong. It isn't anything to do with psychology, it involves a mis-firing of nerve signals and a misinterpretation of the situation by the brain, but they can teach you how to correct the brain and override the signals. Once you can do that you don't need the pain killers anymore! That's my goal as I hate the opiates! I hope my waffling has helped a little! There is hope, and there are other treatment options other than drugs, it's unfortunate that not all Drs are up to date with the research into pain, and not all pain specialists are either! I've spoken to lots of other patients over the years and it seems to be the norm to have tried several pain specialists before finding the right one! There definitely isn't a one size fits all treatment strategy when dealing with pain! Hope you get sorted soon!

    Saz x

  • thank you saz im seeing PMT in two days so hopefully they can help

  • Hi tec2tec,

    you've done so well keeping working all this time - its not easy with pain. As someone suggested, you need to see a pain management clinic if you haven't already done so particularly if the cocktail of drugs is not working for you! Baclofen is for spasm - is spasm a feature of your back pain? And if you are no longer working is your pain less? Gabapentin doesn't help everyone - my consultant told me it helps about a third of patients so if it is not helping you it would be good to get medical advice to scale back.

    On wiki it suggests your disease could be helped with the schroth method. If you google that there is somewhere in London I believe who may be able to help. The use special exercises to offload the worst pressures that the acute kyphosis produces.. this is what it says,

    In Germany, a standard treatment for both Scheuermann's disease and lumbar kyphosis is the Schroth method, a system of specialized physical therapy for scoliosis and related spinal deformities. The method has been shown to reduce pain and decrease kyphotic angle significantly during an inpatient treatment program.

    Hope this helps.

    best wishes

  • thank you so much will look in to it and yes when i lie down i get spasm

  • When you lie down do you support yourself with pillows? If your kyphosis is very pronounced presumably it would transfer a lot of strain to your lumbar and neck region so extra pillow support may help....

  • i have a bed frame that helps to keep on a tilt to try and ease the pain but just make it harder to sleep

  • thank you just hoping to get pain under control then try and get back to work hope fully the P M T can help with the pain

  • Have you tried anti-inflammatories?

  • yes but no good

  • See an Alexander Teacher. for more information.

  • thank you

  • You'll have been to the pain management clinic by now so I hope you are starting to move forward with that.

    I can thoroughly recommend the acupuncture someone else mentioned, if you can find a good acupuncturist.

    Cranial osteopathy might help.  Again, though, it relies upon finding a good practitioner - word of mouth recommendation would help.  I have been to 2 different specialists.  The first time was bliss, the second (closer to home, less practised but not much cheaper) made hardly any difference at all.

    Hydrotherapy might be a good option if you have somewhere local - better than swimming, though swimming is good all the same.

    A heat pad helps, obviously, but sometimes a cool pad is better.

    Diet can play an important role in pain management.  The body's natural ph is around 7.4, the alkaline side of neutral.  Whilst this is maintained whatever you eat, an acid diet can have an adverse effect.  Do a google search on 'eat yourself out of pain' for sites like as a starting point.

    Coconut oil acts like a natural version of Tylenol — it is has both anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect  It should also help with mobility.  You'll have to make up your own mind on whether it is heart healthy or not.  It certainly helps improve cholesterol ratios, raising levels of HDL (aka good cholesterol).

    If you don't fancy coconut oil, try (grass-fed) ghee.  In reality this possibly has more benefits, it can certainly be used to cook at higher temperatures and has a wonderful buttery flavour.

    Both these oils can be used on the outside as well as eaten and, warmed, make a wonderfully effective massage oil.  Whichever oil you prefer try adding one or other of the pain relieving essential oils to the mix  I swear by lavender (but it isn't always to everyone's taste) or black pepper.

    Look up natural painkillers like hawthorn and sour cherries (an acid food unfortunately).

    If nothing else searching on google might take your mind off the pain for a while - if only you can get comfortable to start with :)

    Best of luck

  • Dear tec2tec,

    I'm NOT too sure if this might be worth trying-heck surly anything is!- but have you had a 'GP' referral, to the local gym?  NOT a silly idea, on a 'GP' referral, you are fully assessed, by people who do actually know what they are doing, then, again combined with your own input, given a short series of exercises to try.  The 'Assessor' will probably be, she was in my case anyway, with you, on your first 'circuit.  As I recall after about six sections you are 'reviewed, not as bad as it sounds!, and the exercises adjusted accordingly.  Thereafter, and I have been going there for about two years now, further 'reviews/adjustments' are made at your request.

    I have found regular visits to the gym have helped keep ME 'regular' too-yes it really does work!

    Anyway please do, at least, make enquiries tec2tec.  I hope that, by whatever means, you start to feel better soon-in any event.

    Kindest wishes AndrewT

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