de-Zombie-fy me, please !

For more than 6 months now I have been taking a cocktail of painkillers for a lower spine/sciatica severe pain. And in the course of which turning myself into a perambulating zombie - but, I ask, which tablet/s is/are most likely to be often reducing me to an energy-deprived, twitching, sleepy-head, with balance problems ?

I take ( at various times) Zomorph, Lyrica, Tramadol, Codeine - all GP prescribed - the first 2 for regular daily use, the other 2 for breakthru use. I'm a 74 years young male.

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22 Replies

  • my goodness me. your far to old to be taking all those tablets without feeling like a zombie i know that if i take a sleeping tablet im falling all over the place and im 65. do you need all those tablets? i know the doctor gave you them but all of them would cause side effects and effect your balance especially at your age.. i wonder if you could find out about alternative therapies like acupuncture and try something like that and see if it helps and maybe cut down the use of so many pain killers, if your tablets are helping your pain then that is good but it would be better if you could find out about other things that would help along with some pain relief..i used to get thai massage that was very good for my pain. of course its all expensive.with thai massage your lying down on your back and the person moves all of your body in ways that you would never be able to do yourself and give the body the most wonderful stretch.the thing is when we get older it takes our body a lot longer to detoxify from medicines. and iv seen elderly people in overdose wards who have taken the medication correctly but it has built up in thier system because they are older and has made them overdose accidentally.some medicine's have long half life's im not sure about the ones your on. although i'v had most of them myself but only on short term basis. i think zomorph is the strongest. maybe someone else will come along with some better suggestions. i do hope so. if you can afford it i would definately try out either accupuncture or thai massage as i found that they both helped me with my pain. wishing you well. love grace xoxoxo

  • I am on small/tiny amounts, and they do indeed reduce disabling pain to almost zero most days.

    Zomoprph is 40 mg twice daily, while Lyrica/pregabalin is 50 mg twice daily. Plus either one Tramadol 50 mg OR one codeine 15 mg for "breakthrough" pain events, when required. Without this I am unable to look after a semi-disabled wife, who is unable to do very much for herself.

    I really wish to avoid the apparently 6 hour back operation the medics want to do on me called a "Spinal Decompression" if I possibly can - a set of simpler back injections gave me 3 months relief, and I'm lined up for another set asap.

  • I wouldn't call 80mg's morphine a day plus breakthrough a tiny amount. But if it reduces the pain to almost zero it is doing its job.

    Could you not choose between either the Tramadol or codeine for breakthrough. If you are only taking one or the other would this not make sense ?

    Do you know which medication makes you feel this way - there are alternatives to lyrica if that is causing the zombie feeling ?

    If it is the opiates, and lyrica isn't causing problems there is always scope to increase this in hope of reducing the opioid.

  • Before I got the meds. sorted out it was so painful that at times I had to crawl on the floor to avoid the pain when walking upright. I don't always take the full 80mg/day, now mostly 30mg Zomorph mornings gives me relief for the whole day, plus 10mg evenings gives me a peaceful night.

    I have tried to divine between Tramadol and Codeine; currently I'm breaking the tiny codeine tablet into tinyer pieces, so taking less than full dose - it often works.

    I am in real doubt about the Lyrica - I have to say that I have felt better off it than on it. I stopped using it yesterday and felt more energetic within 24 hours. It is supposed to help my neuropathic pain more than an opiate.

  • getting codeine phosphate syrup (with a child medicine syringe to measure it out) allows you to adjust the dose a lot easier than pills do.

  • Seems quite a high dose.

    And yes - I am sure that Lyrica and pregabalin are the same. I understand it is a "Neuropathic" (nerve) pain treatment among other uses.

  • well dan im pleased to hear that your pain is reduced to almost zero most days. and i can certainly go along with you about 6 hour operation or any hour operation for your back as once you have the operation your stuck with the outcome. good news that your up for another set of of back injections that gave you 3 months relief. i cant say much about medications as i dont know much about them i only know how im affected and i'v had all the medications that your on except the lyrica. love grace xoxoxo

  • Agree with all above- excellent advice. My tuppence worth (I'm in similar situation ) is to use cold packs for 20 mins on the site. I find this gives the best relief even with opiates etc. I got a great one in lidl/aldi with its own belt- just keep it in the fridge - no danger with 'burning'.

    Glad you find the injections good -I'm up for one in 2 days time. Scared stiff with all the horror stories I'm hearing. Glad to hear a good result. Thanks.

  • Wow tramadol leaves me like zombie, never take it now got liquid morphine from gp

  • Interesting contribution - ta indeed !

  • Worth talking to gp, the liquid morphine doesn't upset stomach as much as CoCodamol either

  • Interesting. I'll give Paracetamol another try but from previous experience it is not all that effective for me, and I do need something stronger. My GP started off treating my sciatica with paracetamol but even at its maximum dose it had little effect on my pain.

  • Yes I have - she gave me my first and so far only nerve-block and facet joint injections - which gave me about 3 months relief.

  • Thanks indeed. I have sent a copy to my Consultant asking him if it has any relevance to my condition in view of my very recent MRI scan earlier this month.

    I will report back if/when he gives me a response !

  • No one so far has commented on the occasional involuntary twitching of my hands I mentioned in my original post. Does this give anyone any clues. It is definately not shaking hands as in Parkinson's but an occasional twitch of one hand or the other, a sort of tiny jump. I don't know if it is drug related or an offshoot of my sciatica.

  • Everyone is different. So the answer to your question it is a matter of experimentation. You may be better of seeing a chiropractor and Alexander Teacher who can help with postural problems that cause your pain.

    Yoga may be a good activity to take up to help with exercising muscles and learning to use muscles that you may have lost the use of.

    Hope this is helpful.

  • I'm looking for a local practitioner - difficult to find as I live out in the sticks, in a small town in East Anglia, where there are not many "physio. etc." - type practitioners.

  • Hi,i have sciatica and fibromyalgia and M.E. I have had the meds that you describe often all at the same time.I originally had lyrica before all the other meds and i almost instantly started twitching.I have since had my meds ananged to include the fentanyl patch and i still take lyrica and continue with the twitches.I stopped lyrica once for six months and the twitching stopped.i restarted lyrica and the twitches started again.Hope this helps

    Best of luck.

  • It helps - I'm trying to cut down on my meds. still consistent with minimal discomfort. Yes, it does seem as if the Lyrica may well be the culprit, as I'm twitching less these last few days taking less L., and its not affecting my pain levels, the reduction.

  • Further to all of my comments above. Something good seems to be happening to my Sciatica - I had been experimenting with current meds to find the lowest level I could live with.

    I felt I was taking too much as prescribed,turning me into a somewhat zombie figure.

    Well - I have slowly discontinued the Tramadol and Lyrica completely, and now only use at present 10mg Zoomorph plus some Co-codamol

    I don't know if this improvement is temporary of will become permanent; can Sciatica just improve on its own ?; I have done nothing except find a tolerable level of pills, consistent with pain-free days.

  • I too suffer from chronic pain via the Sciattica nerve

    And was taking similar drugs with no affect now to reducing pain .Decided to try going to the swimming baths I do gentle exercise in the water and after 4 weeks I can now swim 2 lengths of the pool this for me is working although my nights are still a problem .I also find pacing my day a big help .

    Anything is worth trying although exercise when your in pain seems daft BUT IT CAN WORK for some people 👍

  • I had also been walking up the street to a local egg seller (I'm in a Country area), most days for some forced exercise, needing a stick for support as have some minor but probably permanent balance problems as well.

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