Has anyone found a good alternative to Tramad... - Pain Concern

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Has anyone found a good alternative to Tramadol for spinal pain relief?

jonesyc21 profile image

Have been dealing with a sever ruptured disc for 5 months which has formed a lump and is crushing a nerve in my spine, this is causing me awful back pain no surprises. Finally after trying a few various things, I was offered Tramadol which has been really helping to get me through the day. As the back ache has become so bad the last 4 weeks I have started taking the most recommended by my doctor which is 100mg 4 times a day.

Just been for a repeat of these and the doctor isn't keen on me being on these long term as they are dangerous and highly addictive, he even threw in reports of instant death to really scare me to bits! I personally haven't felt like I rely on them or addicted in any way but took his suggestion of trying something else and have been supplied Co Drydamal, which really arent cutting it. I am literally counting down the hours until I am allowed another dose. I have added ibuprofen to it as recommended by my GP but that hasn't really helped.

Have people found anything better or been ok with Tramadol longer than a few months? I have another month until my 2nd MRI but the specialist has already implied because of my age (36) and that my leg is just numb and not painful, he wants to try physio before trying surgery. This means he is likely to refer me back to my GP for them to refer me for this and so going to be months before I get anywhere.

I wont be able to cope without pain relief and honestly debating on getting in to debt to go private, if anyone has recommendations for this please also chip in!

Any advice from people on this would be hugely appreciated, thank you in advance.

22 Replies

Oh how i can relate to you ! I have osteopenia in my hip and two prolapsed discs middle to lower back, onset of osteoarthritis, and abnormal bone growth around the hip socket.

I was refered to physio, but no way could I even do any of the exercises, I went home after my first appointment and my left leg was on fire, I can't take any painkillers other than paracetamol due to health reasons,

My dr prescribed me gabapentin 2 weeks ago .

Now you may find you can cope with the side effects, some people can tolerate them others like me couldnt ,

I struggle in the day anyway and evening but the gabapentin made me comatose, was awful. So it's now back to square one with another trip to my GP .. I can do relate to your pain . Hope you find something that works.

Someone has suggested I try an ear stud or acupuncture.

I’ve been in tramadol on and off (mostly on) for ten years and once you get past the first few months your body adjusts, if you find it helps then I would say try and push through the side effects it does get better x

Thank you for this. That's the thing, don't have any side effects on it, just pain relief! The doctor just scared me with the risks of it.

Oh I read it wrong lol but yeah because I’ve been on it so long they don’t question it but they don’t like new people going on it long term but at the end of the day if it’s helping your pain and nothing else is they can’t say no x

Don’t know if this is helpful but try a really good herbalist at least for helping to get to sleep. They have sleep herbs that got me off my sleeping drugs

What sleep herbs do you drink? X

I was on tramadol and it also really helped with my spine pain, I was on them long term and I tolerated them unfortunately I had to come off them when my dr prescribed me an anti depressant and mixed together I ended up with chronic serotonin syndrome. I was prescribed zomorph to replace the tramadol, it's a slow release morphine. It isn't quite as good as tramadol but i find they do help. I'm also on pregabalin but that more helps with the pain that comes off of the spine rather than the spine itself.

Just to add I came off the tramadol fine even after years of use, reduced a tablet every 2 weeks until was no longer on them.

I'd say tramadol was 9/10 pain relief and zomorph is 8/10 but if you can have monthly physio on top then maybe that could get you up a bit.

Its a shame at the moment we are going through a strong pain relief crisis with our Drs because of some abuse by a few. I'd prefer to go back on to the tramadol but I daren't ask my dr in case she decides to review the zomorph instead and take me off that for something useless. At least im getting some pain relief so will keep quiet for now

Really hope you find something that helps

Oh one other thing I do that helps, heat, I have an electric blanketon my sofa with a throw over it, one on my bed, electric hot water bottle, I can't be without heat on my spine for long, I even have the electric blanket on in this heatwave. I find heat great pain relief, if you can keep your skin cool, open windows, a fan it isn't uncomfortable.

Hope you find some relief


Hi, it sounds awful for you.

My husband was in similar pain for a year. Doctor insisted on physio before referral, months of waiting for the physio. On morphine, gabopentin etc etc

One day he couldn’t walk, taken to hospital they gave emergency MRI, needed to see neurosurgeon, another wait!

We paid £240 to see neurosurgeon in 2 days, operation 6 weeks later paid by NHS in private hospital. Operation wasn’t successful had repeated 3 months later again in private hospital paid by NHS, ( microdisectomy) 6 months later he has his life back, albeit has to be careful.

Pay to see consultant they will do on NHS if they think you need the treatment urgently.

Good luck

I have had this 4 13yrs. I was 35yrs old when this all started. I had 2 discs L4 & L5, I did 5 yrs of signal injections,exercises,physio & lots of different types of pain relief meds. But they did nothing & I felt like u. I would of done anything 2 take the pain away. Finally 8yrs ago I had fusion &nerve decompression. The surgery was not a success & I was put on morphine daily. I am finally morphine free as 8yrs every day made me very poorly & didn't work anymore with the pain. I was put on duloxatine & pregabalin gr8 I was almost pain free. I'd never felt so good but the pregabalin made me put weight on 2 stone in 2yrs. I am trying a new nerve pain killer with my duloxatine called tapentadol. Good so far,still have a bit of a dead leg occasionally but bareable. I go 2 work fulltime, walk my dogs & that's now my life. Where as b4 all this I'd go 2 the gym 5 times a wk & do anything I wanted. Yes sometimes gets me down but I have a wonderful husband that helps me when things are bad. Gud luck with it all. I would not recommend fusion 2 anyone.x

I had spinal decompression and fusion 9 months ago. OMG I experienced pain beyond belief my doctor has prescribed oramorph, tramadol and gabapentin. Whilst they do help, I feel constantly tired, have put on weight (which I can’t seem to lose despite having no appetite) I have nerve damage causing severe pain in my lower back on the right side going around my hip and into my groin and still have very little movement in my right leg but have severe pain like a tightening in my foot and constant burning. I have just seen the neurologist who was very compassionate and I now have an appointment with pain management clinic tomorrow so I’m hoping there is something they can do for me to help me get some sort of quality of life back. I feel for anyone experiencing back pain and I don’t think I would recommend decompression/fusion either.

Thank you all for your comments, really has been an insight. It amazes me we all have to take this as the norm, really hoped there were better solutions out there for people in this situation but I seem to hear more stories about this that shows this isn't the case.

I think we should be considered for medical marijuana. Your GP can put in special request for a licence. I've tried the legal CDB oil but it does nothing for the pain. I've spent thousands seeing private consultants and MIR scans because the NHS has such a long waiting list. My consultant said my spine is ok and doesn't recommend surgery. Just been prescribed Amytriptyline. Hoping it will help. Didn't get to sleep untili 5 am this morning. Exhausted.

jonesyc21 profile image
jonesyc21 in reply to Pepper2nd

I had Amytriptyline when I had nerve pain. In my leg, it was ok, really helps you sleep, slept so good on those lol!

I alternate between tramadol and dihydrocodeine every few months. I'm also on paracetamol as and when for breakthrough pain. I have the same condition as you. It doesn't take away all the pain but it definitely helps me to get through the day. Also helps to prevent addiction. Good luck with it all x

I also attend pain management at st Thomas hospital in London. They put an implant in my spine and helped me manage my pain. This has also helped.

Hi there ,

I just read your post and had to reply , please bear in mind that despite being a now retired but qualified marine scientist I take medication with deliberation so accept that we each have different body chemistry and thereby what works for one person , the metabolic rate of someone else can lead to different results from pharmaceutical products intended to help us .

I badly damaged my spine in 1992 , couldn’t have fusion till I reached 40 years o,d due to the apparent continual growth of the done structures themselves until we reach maturity , and have been on various medications ever since .

Sadly during a hospital stay four years ago the ward staff or physicians decided to forego the meds I went in wth , and I left on oramorph and tramadol hydrochloride amongst others .

After a year of my own gp and follow up hospital trips it was agreed the drug didn’t benefit me on a pain relief level , hence my comment about different people with different t body chemistry getting different results from the same drug .

It’s now four years on , I’m now thankfully down to just 5 tramadol doses a day from the original 12 each day , but it’s a hard and long journey because it seriously is a very additive product and not easy to even reduce .

I wish you every luck finding an alternative, there’s no quick fix I’m afraid , but since 1992 I’ve learned that if we do less we suffer more , so keep going at your own pace and if I can help with anything from my own personal learn8 g curve do shout and I’ll try to share what advice might lead you to whoever you need to speak with .

Best wishes


Hi Jonesyc21, Like you I am in alot of pain due to a herniated disc. I am seeing a surgeon soon. Like Morphalot I went from tramadol to dihydrocodeine. I am not alternating though. Tramadol made me feel hot and cold all the time so I switched to dihydrocodeine which I used before and which does help me greatly together with pregabalin.

I really don't like Tramadol and find it does not really work for me. For my chronic pain issues which is nerve pain in my legs and feet, I use 20 mg of duloxetine per day and 4x10 mg of oxycodone per day. This does not take away the apin completely but helps me function. I got this chronic pain after a back surgery to decompress two levels of my spine- T12 L1 and L2-3. Unfortunately the surgeon did not get a good decompression, and messed up my nerves as I have worse pain after the surgery. There is no liability for him (I'm in Florida ) as you have to be paralyzed or dead to sue. I realize back surgery is a practice much like past crazy medical procedures of the late 1800s and early 1900s that we look back on as barbaric. Perhaps some back surgery goes well but I read so many horror stories of people worse off after surgery of the back.

Good luck


Hi im new to post and instead of

Guyb profile image
Guyb in reply to Strangward1936

Hi I use cannabis and it beats all the opioid pain killers and far less dangerous and not addictive and you can’t overdose

there are so many alternatives and has no one (medical) suggested gabapentin?

strangely, alternating tram with paracetamol can be better for some. small dose valium for muscle relaxant. Chiropracter (only if highly qualified and with copies of xrays, scans, reports) HTH

Guyb profile image
Guyb in reply to Heorte

I’ve had gabapentin and pregabalin just put on weight

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