Tramadol to morphine?: Hi, just signed up as I... - Pain Concern

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Tramadol to morphine?

Hi, just signed up as I suffer chronic pain after falling from a 5th floor window 4 years ago. I've taken tramadol and gabapentine since then and have a very painful back which seizes up at every available moment. A few months ago I changed to extended release tramadol as the usual dose had stopped working. Now after a short time the ER tramadol isn't giving much relief and the dr said the next step is morphine.

Have others found that morphine worked for them? I'm not keen to take it as the gabapentine makes me scattier than normal (which is really very scatty) and am worried I'll end up zonked out every day.

37 Replies

I took morphine for 3 1/2 weeks. ( Low dose, only 10mg twice a day) Coming off them was horrendous, 3 weeks of nausea, whole body aches, night sweatsetc. I also took oramorph once a day for the first 2 days and that knocked me out, I was drifting in an out of sleep the whole time so stopped it. The worst bit, it didn't help with my pain anyway. I would NEVER take it again.

That's my worry too. I take eight Co-Codamol a day and Amitryptiline and don't get the same pain relief I once did . I'm told that morphine is the next step up, but I'm uneasy about. I'm 73 and just want a few decent years. It's a problem. I hope you find a way that suits you.

Philip profile image
Philip in reply to Bennett1943

It's the same as anything else, they stop working and with mine I didn't ask anything, she said you have RA and you'll need them lol.

If you don't need it really try leave it and maybe find something else. Works well for my Fibro lol.

Pfeffer1 profile image
Pfeffer1 in reply to Bennett1943

I too am on eight Co-Codamol a day and on Amitryptiline, due to crevical stenosis. I am 81 years old. My pain reliefs are no longer working. However, I tried morphine patches and they did not agree with me. Any advice? My advice to you is don't start with morphine. It can make you quite ill.

Dear Jennie

I rarely make comments but saw this and thought I have to. I have been suffering with chronic pain since November. Nothing to the degree that you are having. However to get to the point. I was on Tramadol in tablet form. When that no longer gave any pain relief my GP put me on oral morphine to supplement them. When that also did not help he put me on Morphine via tablets supplemented by the oral Liquid morphine. I became more distressed and confused, weeping continuously, threatening to harm myself to the point of the Mental Health Crisis Team coming out to me everyday for about three weeks as the after effects continued when I stopped the morphine. But for me the worse side effect was (I apologise in advance for graphic nature) constipation. After eleven days I was in agony. Again GP just over the phone prescribed some disgusting powder to put into water and tablets for the dreadful nausea I was also suffering. So long story short by the late evening of the eleventh day I was taken into A&E by ambulance and after sitting in a wheelchair for around three hours where I was in obvious agony because of the severe constipation along with the added agony of my back injury. I was given pesseries without any effect and then eventually an enema which I have never had before and which was (for me) agonizing. To the point where I was screaming for the nurse to stop.

However my point is to give a word of caution. I can only imagine what your pain is like but please be aware of these two very worrying side effects of morphine. They can have an adverse effect on your mental wellbeing and they have a very constipating effect. Please if you are going ahead with them prepare a plan with your doctors to countermand this. I ended up literally dragging out my pooh with my fingers in desperation. One of the lowest points in my life.

I am now on Gabapentin and awaiting nerve block injections to my spine.

All the best to you. I hope that you do achieve pain relief one way or another.


That sounds like a terrible experience for you Colleen, what I do not understand is when doctors prescribe morphine surely they know that this will cause constipation so I do not understand why they do not prescribe laxatives alongside this, they also need to really point out how addictive morphine is! Good for you Colleen for having the courage to tell your story and good luck with the nerve block injections.xx

Many thanks Mimimouse. Just wanted to give a cautionary side for others. No my GP did not monitor me at all not warm me. The A&E dept infact blamed me for not drinking enough! I came immediately off the morphine to zero pain relief whilst another GP weaned me onto gabapentin. I'm lucky because I have Benenden Health Care so I have been able to move the whole process from MRI to injections on VERY fast. With NHS I would still be waiting till end April earliest to see an Orthopaedic Consultant. Who do we blame GP's are overworked and NHS stretched beyond its limits!

Thank you for such full and frank reply. I will probably now avoid morphine and find other ways to cope. Best wishes to you.

Bennett morphine has its place definitely but I feel that it must be used with proper support from the doctors and full monitoring. If you are fully informed and have the aforementioned then the help in can provide in pain relief is valuable. However my worry is that stronger pain relief is being prescribed to ease the burden on medical staff. I do hope you can also find relief from your pain. 💖

Hello, I'm in the process of sending a letter to the Practice Manager at my health centre asking for a referral to a pain clinic because my G P refuses to. I just want a proper appraisal of my condition and find treatment that provides more relief than the Co-Codamol and Amitryptiline, if indeed I'm taking now, assuming there is. At Lear I can accept the situation and get on as best I can.

Hi, sorry to hear about your pain and meds issues.

I have weekly 10mg morphine replacement patches, and if I run out before collecting another prescription, I don't have any side effects at all. Just need to take extra pills. I can only take one Tramadol at a time, as any more makes my face itch! Strange because I used to take two with no problems.

Amitriptylene works at night for me, it knocks me out and I sleep a lot longer.

TBH, I didn't like Gabapentin because they cause weight gain for some people.

It's awful to have to accept that our lives now revolve around pain relief, as any drug taken long term can't be good for you.

Get similar constipation side effects but go now every 4 or 5 days 1 day I was in agony I too was trying to extract it by hand, Never had constipation in my life before Morphine first time I went to hospital as I was in agony and didnt know why, used to have bowel urgencies 3 2 1 too late but as I hardly leave the house unless its too the stables I was OK most of the time but had several very embarrassing episodes trying to get home even from a few doors down the road


I've just been re-reading your reply to a recent query and I'd like to thank you. I've decided to steer clear of morphine and to find some other way of dealing with my situation. Once again thank you

Sounds as bad as I suspected! What alternatives are there?

I came off tramadol and went on to zomorph, slow release morphine. It wasn't as bad as I was expecting but did withdraw slowly from tramadol. I stopped taking tramadol as it had caused chronic serotonin syndrome as I had been taking it with nortryptaline for around 10 years and to much serotonin had built up in my brain.....anyway the zomorph is ok, takes the edge of the pain but i need to also take ibuprofen. I've been on zomorph around 7 months and I'm now at the stage I think the dose needs to be increased but it does help more than the tramadol did

I also suffered constipation...not as bad as Coleen but did also have to take .....a liquid laxative .....forgot its name, very sweet and sennokot together to get things moving although the constipation side effect eased after a couple of months. I am a bit of a zombie at times but I am also on gabapentin!

I had a good gp who wanted to see me every 2 weeks through the transition of the medication so hopefully you will have the same and be reassured.

Hope you find the right combination to get you some relief


behappy1 profile image
behappy1 in reply to Joanne1972

Hi there di you mind me asking what your symptoms of serotonin syndrome where please x

Joanne1972 profile image
Joanne1972 in reply to behappy1


My main problem is with my brain processing what I was seeing or hearing, it's like when I walked past a wall my brain would see.....brick brick brick brick and with each step, it's like it had to notice every single detail, then it felt like my brain was doing roly polys inside my head trying to catch up processing all my eyes had seen. Autumn was terrible with all leaves on the floor. I'd have to stop after a few steps close my eyes to stop anymore visual input coming in to let the brain catch up. I'd start rocking and going dizzy. It was people walking towards me, their clothing, couldn't look out of window on the bus. It was easier for me to count how many steps I could take with my eyes closed without banging into anything than it was to walk with eyes open.

It was also sounds as well but less traumatic than visual input but car stereos, different sounding engine noises, noisy cafes.....nothing racist here but foreign languages being spoken as it often sounds fast paced talking.

It's slowly improving since stopping the medication, about 9 months ago. my brain re remembering familiar things so doesn't have to notice everything like seeing it for first time. Fast moving things and crowds still difficult or if I move my head to quickly with eyes open

Just want to say it is chronic serotonin syndrome I have not the acute medical emergency version which more like an allergic reaction to to much serotonin. My serotonin built up slowly effecting brain..

Hope this makes sense, not been sleeping very well lately.....flippin pain!


behappy1 profile image
behappy1 in reply to Joanne1972

Sorry for delayed reply Jo. Thank for explaining about it. Poor you, it sounds awful. I am currently weaning down as I feel it affects my sensory and makes me manic. The problem is that it relieves my pain more than morphine so I'm limited. I really hope that your symptoms pass quickly now and that you manage to get some better sleep. Insomnia and pour Sleep is one of my biggest problems. Xx

My doctor decided to change my tramadol to morphine patches 6 months ago now, I was on 5 ml to begin with but found this to have no effect on my pain, I am now up to 20ml once a week and still it doesn't have the desired effect, I am now having to go back to my doctor and she says the next step is the pain clinic, I just wondered if any one has been to a pain clinic and what they can do for me, I had an MRI a few months ago and it came back with the results that said I have 2 prolapsed discs and severe arthritis in my spine, am I to live with this chronic pain for the rest of my life? It is so bad it interferes with the quality of my life, sometimes it's so bad that I cannot put one foot in front of the other, will I have to continue on morphine patches for the rest of my life, I am worried that if I try to come off them that I will have the same withdrawal symptoms I had when I came off the tramadol, has anyone had the same or similar problems as mine

maymee4 profile image
maymee4 in reply to Nin123

I go through pain management and it is better than gp. They have more tools to help you. With myself having back issues depending on how bad yours are will most likely start you on a round of injections to find out if it works for you. Ive had over a dozen injections in the last year and 2 disco grams. I am going to be having rf done after i have my upcoming surgery. They have more options than meds, but dont get me wrong they will probably put you on more and see what works for you. Good luck, as a person with back issues as well i know how it feels.

I used to worry that the ''Morphine' would make me even more dopier than normal... :o)

But the doses just aren't that strong.

I use the patches. ... sometimes I'm still climbing the walls with pain but it eventuality levels off.... the pain is always there but sometimes its more comfortable.

I too used Tramadol for quite a few years its only when I stopped taking them did I realise I just wasn't able to alwsys think straight.

I'd find myself in shops trying to count out my loose change and I just couldn't do it. ... very embarrassing.

I was also looking after my children..... thinking back, if I'd realised how the Tramadol was effecting me......

Good luck...


You are absolutely right in being wary about moving to this class of medication. Opiates/opioids are one of the last lines of defence in the fight to control chronic pain.

As can be seen from your responses, some find them intolerable whilst others find them helpful. Side effects are associated with almost all drugs and this is a major consideration along with the addictive aspect.

You need to find solutions that suit you and you will need an open mind approach in your search. You may also have to settle for compromise since complete relief does not exist.

Good Luck


You have tried the pain medication and you have found it does not work. Your doctor is proposing more of the same of different substances for a procedure that has failed to work. You need to start to look at the mechanical solutions which at a guess you have not yet tried.

You need to research into fascia, muscle trains, Alexander Technique, McTimony chiropractic, meditation and mindfulness. You need to develop tools into doing your own investigation on yourself. The medical profession do not have enough ability to give you what you need to do into order to develop management skills to handle your health disability.

I have said enough at this point for you to begin enquiries.

Can I just add tramadol is one of the worst drugs you can take. Morphine isn't great but it's safer than tramadol. I was on morphine for 5 years but it stopped me eating to the point I nearly died but I'm now on oxycodone and find it much better. You must come off the tramadol slowly. 1 example; my daughter was on tramadol for just over 3 weeks and now going back to codeine. She is going through horrendous withdrawal from the tramadol. It's a nasty drug. Good luck 😉

Sarah xx

I take morphine and have had no side effects at all with it. However, it's not the miracle pain relife that you may envisage. I hope that is gives you some relife as it only takes the edge off my EDS pain. Don't take tramoadol at the same time as it it does cause sickness, and I dry heave if I'm desperate and take both. Good luck!

Also, I didn't find it addictive at all. I could take it or leave it, so try not to worty about it! Take it when you can't take the pain, or divert your attention in staying busy etc, that way you won't be guzzling it all day. I also take 3ml via a 3ml syringe (best to take it via a syringe), each time which helps cut down the amount I take each day and night. Psychologically in taking a full syringe you fel like you've had the 5 ml does, but byt taking the second you've only actually taken 6 ml... which helps gradually, as when you start finding the morphone isn't helping ... where do you go?

Sarahk1000 profile image
Sarahk1000 in reply to DISC

Hi disc

Just reading through one of your posts. There's plenty of other pain meds that outweigh morphine. Oxycodone is a clean drug and if that doesn't help then fentanyl patches are fantastic so don't settle until you have found something that helps. Are you through your withdrawal yet? I hope it went well

Sarah xx

I've been on the morphine for about 5 years lol, only once when I forgot to put a new patch on after my shower lol and I had to drive 100 mph, and wow it hit and fortunately I wasn't too far from home but I was ill and though I was dying lol.

How these junkies cope when they run out of the drugs, I'll never know but at leased I don't have to our stealing and such lol.

I'm on the 4 day patch.

I take oramorph 100mg twice a day ,I also take co codamol ,and duloxetine for nerve pain ,I also use voltrol gel when desperate ,IV yet to encounter coming off painkillers ,to frightened to even try ,I have no side effects ,but then again I'm never pain free x

Hello all, I love reading the posts and regarding constipation. Most of the people post that they at on huge amounts of analgesics and the main side effect is impaction of the faeces. It becomes so hard it is like concrete. If someone is giving you an enema it should not hurt in the slightest. A little pushing to get the nozzle around the back of the obstruction and the enema should be at the temperature of your body. Both the phosphate enema and the micro enema work on osmosis. Using the bodies own fluids to help soften the stool and making it much easier to pass. Any one on strong analgesia should also be on Lactulose and Senna on a regular basis because Lactulose works by osmosis and Senna helps the bowel with the natural peristalsis movement. I am quite taken back by why no one has talked about severe Constipation in the past. One last thing that did make me chuckle a pessery is for the other opening on a female and a suppository goes in the rear end. The reason is that normally a pessery foams up and all I could picture is a person with foam bubbling out of their bum. Sorry again but I have a very warped sense of humour. Hope things get settled and you get the best pain relief including breakthrough pain adjustment. Oldman1952. :-)

A sense of humour's no bad thing in trying times !

I have horrible back issues as well and have been on gabapentin for years and they keep upping the dose. They just put me on 15mg er 2x a day which did nothing and upped it to 30mg 2x a day and at first it didnt do anything but after a few weeks of being in the system it provides relief. I am on a few other pain pills and such but those only last a few hours so having the morphine still in my system does help til i can take my next dose of other meds. I think between the gabapentin and morphine that the gabapentin makes me more out of it. You can always try it and see how you feel, being in constant pain is miserable so any relief is well worth it. Like i said tho it took me a couple weeks to really feel the benefits once it built up in my system. Good luck!

I'm so sorry to hear about your fall, in 2007 I had a serious fall at work, which left me with a disability, I was put on tramodal and other Meds, but my condition as worsend so I was put on oramorph and mst which is a slow release tablet which last 12 hours, I only take the liquid morphine if I feel really bad, but the 12 hour slow release one is great iv never had any side effects, so you could ask could you try them and see how you feel. Hope that helped. Good luck 👍

Hi i ave severe chronic back pain ,I'm on morphine an gabapentine been on them 3 years ,there is side effects but they wrk ,so i think u shud give it a try an see how u go

I think I'm the only person who can tolerate morphine ,cos I've never had the side effects what everyone else has had maybe i have high tolerance

Hopeless100 profile image
Hopeless100 in reply to Casey09_

Have to agree with you, I have had morphine and never had any major problems with it, like Oldman1952, an enema if constipated, done gently makes it manageable . I had a nurse do the injections for me. For those concerned about side effects, compared to the relief, I suggest trying it for several weeks before deciding to continue or stop.

I was on pain injections directly into my spine, given under X-ray. They only seemed to work for 2-3 weeks, but I could only have them every 6 months. Good luck with it, we don't all get the same result. It's not as painful as it sounds, they inject you with a pain killer first. D

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