C4-C7 Foraminal Stenosis

Hi, In 2008, just 8 weeks after having my first child, I went back to work and was attacked by a patient at a care home I was visiting to train staff. The patient struck me on my right shoulder and caused me to buckle me to my knees. The chain reaction caused the vertebrae in the top of my neck to lock and the foramen started to close up. I was diagnosed through an MRI scan in 2012 after being told that the pain, loss of feeling in my arms, hands and legs and reduced blood pressure were 'all in my head'. At the end of 2012, I had another son and I collapsed in hospital. They prescribed Tramadol, Codeine and Paracetamol. I dropped the Codeine and eventually the Paracetamol. I take Tramadol when needed rather than when prescribed. Sometimes this can be 50-100mg per day or the full dose of 400mg per day depending on how bad I am. I haven't been on Tramadol for almost 18 months now as I am due another baby any moment and I have been told that I will no longer be able to have the Tramadol when the baby is born. I am not sure why these people telling me this know more than my OS who has told me that it is either Tramadol for life or surgery with a paralysis risk of 85%....... These non-PHD people have even suggested I visit the PMU and the physio!! Like I haven't done that within the last 7 years!! Obviously these people can see I am coping but cannot see how much pain I am in and I am just waiting for the day I pick up my new Tramadol prescription to feel relief for the first time in ages. It's amazing how underproductive I have been whilst I have been in so much pain despite being on Co-Codamol.

Thank you for reading and listening to my rant.........  

8 Replies

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  • Perhaps you should talk to your specialist about using 'Pregabalin' for pain management. 

  • Hi, why did you stop the Paracetamol and Codeine but continue Tramadol? It seems you've 'done it the wrong way around'!

    Generally, taking Paracetamol regularly and then adding in Codeine if needed is a 'good' baseline and then you add in the stronger meds after that as you need to.

    I should imagine that just asking for Tramadol is setting off alarm bells so maybe restart the Paracetamol and ask for separate Codeine; I take 60mg, for when the pain increases. Then going onto the Tramadol is the usual 'pattern'.

    I can imagine it's so hard looking after two children, expecting another and being in constant pain! Obviously you need to be alert for them so stronger medication isn't really an option; unless you have someone who can take over the childcare if you need to take something stronger?

    There is the option of slow release medications that once you're used to; in the childcare & alertness sense, you'll have some better constant pain relief that should help you.

    I/we all understand the frustration of being 'told' what to do/try & not do; some being so blatantly obvious that you have to check they're being serious when they say it!! If you've a good clinician on your side, it helps greatly as they can be the 'contact point/key decision maker'.

    We also know the "it's all in your head" silent sigh from nurses, doctors, consultants etc. Proving them wrong is actually quite pleasurable; the only pleasurable thing about our situations!! when an MRI or blood result for instance, comes back! You then go into overdrive wanting to tell them how so very hard it's been living with this and being believed.

     I hope you get your medication/treatment sorted soon and that you have a safe delivery of the third bubba......

    RAYJAYC

  • Dear MumofMany,

    So can I get this straight please.  You were, very badly, hurt-whilst at work?  Now you are being told that the only effective 'Meds' are being refused?  To be replaced with an ineffective one?  Leaving you, through no fault of your own, in terrible pain?  Or have I miss-understood here?

    If this IS right- then, not only, am I absolutely disgusted but also appalled!  I am not, by any means, normally an advocate of Trade Unions, but, on this occasion they might be of help.  You need professional HELP- no really, you do.

    Frankly I'm speechless-and that is not like me.

    AndrewT

  • Thank you everyone for your support. 

    I'll try to respond to everyone's key points. 

    When I was attacked, I was working for my own family business as a self employed trainer in multiple care homes. I was 13 years in the TA where I trained to train others (I am a professional teacher who teaches teachers to teach) and fell into the care industry. Unfortunately this was the worst position to be injured as there is no union, there is no support and now I find myself not working. I like looking after my children which is good but the pain makes it difficult. I grow very very good humans so that's a bonus. :)

    Because the other side denied responsibility to ensure my safety whilst on their premises, I didn't get a penny for the entire 3 years it took to get them to pay. Also, whilst not being able to work, I was told to pay for a private MRI scan as I was claiming privately. Obviously with one self employed wage coming in that was reduced to part time as my husband needed to be on-call to help me on a bad day, I could not afford to pay for an MRI scan which would have proved I was more injured than I seemed to be. It was only when the other side paid my expenses (not compensating me for loss of earnings as there was no proof I could not earn money through injury) and the claim was done, the NHS immediately sent me for a scan. Tough. Very tough.

  • I was on codeine and paracetamol for 3 years as that was the only thing they would give me because I was not injured enough to warrant anything stronger. I found codeine to taste foul and no matter how I took it, it made me very sick from the taste. 

    The difference with the Tramadol is that my prescribed dose is 100mg x 4 times a day. In reality I take 50-100mg once or twice a day if at all because my pain is random. Some mornings I wake feeling fine but by 11am I may need to take the edge off with 50mg. Some nights I wake in agony and take 100mg and then wake in the morning and have to wait for the full 6 hours before I can take my next dose. Some people will wonder why I don't take a maintenance dose but it is because I don't want people telling me I am hooked. I only know that when I need it, it works, so I take it. It also helps with my blood pressure which is so low, they wonder how I manage to stand. Right now I am on co-codamol and I cannot stand long enough to bake a cake for my children. I also cannot stand long enough to make anything more than a few sandwiches to feed anyone. That obviously has a lot to do with the pregnancy (I'm being induced on Thursday) but I can be having a moderately good day and then bam!! I have to lay down before I fall.

    The people telling me I won't be allowed my normal meds are not doctors, that's what is really upsetting me. I now have to see a new DR and hope they are as good as my old one and understand. I don't mind if there is something out there that is better for me than Tramadol, I'm willing to try but telling me paracetamol is enough to manage the pain I am feeling is not a helpful suggestion because they have no idea how brave I am being, trying to mask the pain. Pretending I am ok makes me cry. Being told I can't have what I need makes me cry. Blasted hormones make me cry!! lol

  • What an awful state you're in through no fault of your own!

    I'm a little confused; your original post said you dropped the Paracetamol and Codeine but then said that you take Co-Codamol? They're the same combination and how are you managing to take it if you taking the Codeine on its own made you sick? I'm not trying to catch you out just thinking of what to suggest asking for next!

    If you're breastfeeding then anything more than Paracetamol or Ibuprofen is out; can you take Ibuprofen? It's great for inflammation; not so great as a pain reliever.

     If you're not breastfeeding and find your next GP/pain specialist is kind then maybe you could go for regular Paracetamol, regular Codeine with an anti sickness tablet and continue with your Tramadol on an as required basis. You could ask for Oramorph (oral Morphine Sulphate) but would need someone to look after the brood after taking it. Maybe Diazepam too to help you relax a little?

    Good luck Thursday!!

    RAYJAYC

  • Oh no, I'm not allergic to codeine, just when I tried to take the tablets on their own, the insanely bitter taste made me sick. I take co-codamol in capsule form so there is no taste to them. Unfortunately the 30mg/500mg combination is just not effective enough for the level of pain I am in. Even when I take 60mg/1000mg (ie 2 capsules) at a time, the dose quite often isn't enough so I need something stronger. As I cannot overdose on paracetamol and codeine because it would be dangerous, I'd rather take less but stronger.....

  • What is PMU?  Physio is unlikely to work as the physios use one size fits all.  You need to look at Alexander Technique lessons and McTimony Chiropractic.  There is a good chance that the pain is being caused by muscle over contraction which has remained over contracted.  You need to investigate if this is the case or not.  Unfortunately, the medical profession have no or very little training in how to deal with over contracted muscle problems.

    Hope this has been able to be helpful.

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