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Severe back pain/prolapsed discs/Amitriptyline

(41 Posts)
Flammingstar Fri 20-Oct-17 17:41:26

Hi I wonder if anyone could offer any advice or have any experience.
I have a old injury (falling from a horse age 16/17) and then later manual handling patient's which has caused two prolapsed discs over the years.

The last 3/4/5 years (since late 30's) the pain in my back seems to be getting worse and the instances where it becomes 'unmanageable' or unbearable getting more frequent.
The pain is always present, it's usually around lumbar 4/5 (bra strap area) but can be lower back too (or both)
Xrays and mri scan have shown a partially 'bulging' disk at lumbar 5 (few years ago)
The most recent episode apart from now was hideous, one of the worst ever (April 2017, before that November 2016)
I was bawling in pain just getting out of bed to use the bathroom.
The GP was called and prescribed diazepam and co-codamol......finally the pain was relieved (mostly) however 2 days later I had a very bad allergic reaction.
I was plastered in itchy awful hives that made me want to rip my skin off.
The GP told me to immediately stop the diazepam and the co-dyramol and gave me co-codamol, the same reaction.
So I was then given Naproxen which seems to be the only Analgesic that I can tolerate.
It isnt anywhere near as effective as the former, but it does help make the pain more bearable when I have a bad flare up (approx twice a year sometimes more)
So I woke up through the night in hideous pain again last night and dosed up enough to be able to make a quick trip to GP (naproxen didn't seem to be doing the trick this time)
I saw a new GP who was covering emergencies and he suggested Amitriptyline as I can't take regular analgesics. He suggested this because he said that it is likely that the disc has popped out further and is likely 'pressing on' a nerve which is causing the pain.
I would almost take anything that worked to relieve the pain because it is absolutely bloody hideous, but I am not sure about Amitriptyline - I have heard that it's got pretty nasty side effects and it can make people feel pretty rubbish. I don't want to go from severe pain to all sorts of nasty side effects. Plus it's an anti-depressant and I hate the 'numb', emotionless, zombie like feeling that AD's give. Does this one do that? It is 10mg that I have been prescribed and told to take those with the naproxen, paracetamol and ibuprofen if required??

Any help would be so appreciated. I am at the end of my tether with it.

Flammingstar Fri 20-Oct-17 21:50:33

Anyone have any advice, please?

LovingLola Fri 20-Oct-17 21:55:36

I have a friend who takes it for nerve pain (sciatica). She finds it very effective. I think she is on 25mg. She was worried about the anti-d effect but the dose is so low that she has had none of those problems.

gingergenius Fri 20-Oct-17 21:58:05

I used to take it for the same reason but made me feel permanently groggy so stopped taking it. Didn’t really manage the pain, either.

IrregularCommentary Fri 20-Oct-17 21:58:42

I had it a few years ago for a double slipped disc, before being upgraded to buprenorphine patches.

If it's recurring, if there a more permanent solution they can offer? I had a nerve block for mine to allow it to recover and I've been fine since (7yrs).

IrregularCommentary Fri 20-Oct-17 22:00:17

Sorry, didn't really answer the question! I took a small dose at night to help me get to sleep, and I found that quite effective. I don't remember any major side effects, but my memories of about 6 months are very hazy due to the buprenorphine anyway...

SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower Fri 20-Oct-17 22:01:13

I'm suprised you've not taken it before, it's extremely effective for this kind of pain. The main side effect is drowsiness, you sleep really well on it. 10mg is a tiny dose, but I found it did make me feel a bit off/low for a few days, but it's nothing like taking a normal antidepressant dose.

I'd highly recommend taking it, try 10mg for a week and see how you go. I found it helped the pain almost instantly, I slept really well, and while I did initially feel a bit low, that went after a few days.

Take it about 10 hours before you need to get up - it can make you sluggish in the morning to start with.

SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower Fri 20-Oct-17 22:02:39

It's fine with all those meds btw, but you're not taking naproxen and ibuprofen at the same time are you?

Wolfiefan Fri 20-Oct-17 22:04:24

Oh god yes! The relief! When my back pain was at its worst it was the ONLY thing that let me sleep. A small dose works as a muscle relaxant I think. At a low dose it isn't used as an anti depressant.
In the end I went private and had the injections in my back. That and physio means if I stay active i am pretty much pain free. Good luck Op.

SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower Fri 20-Oct-17 22:05:52

Wolfiefan - what injections did you have in your back? I've got the pain clinic soon and I've heard about injections /blocks but don't know that they are

Shockers Fri 20-Oct-17 22:08:00

I was prescribed this a few days ago because I have shingles on my head.

I googled it and the prescribed dose for depression starts at 75mg, then can increase. I've been prescribed 10mg too- for 28 days. I think the dose for pain is so low there is very little chance of feeling numb.

I took it for 2 days and felt fine, but on the second day I didn't need a wee from 7am till 8pm. This could be completely unconnected, but I looked into alternatives anyway.

Today I have started taking a magnesium blend- it might be worth a Google as a supplement.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Fri 20-Oct-17 22:08:33

For it to have the antidepressant effect, it's a significantly higher dose than for pain relief. I take low dose and have now been prescribed higher for migraine prevention and neuropathic neck pain. It makes me very drowsy to begin with, but that wears off after a few days of taking it.

Don't suffer the pain, try the medication.

RicottaPancakes Fri 20-Oct-17 22:10:05

Take it about 7pm so that you don't feel too sleepy in the morning.

Flammingstar Fri 20-Oct-17 22:15:02

What are the injections/blocks? I've never heard of that. What do they involve and do they help?
I am totally sick to death of the pain suddenly going from bad (and manageable....just) to very severe for no apparent reason because it floors me and puts a halt to almost everything especially as I am so restricted with the meds that I can take.
The doctor told me that Naproxen and ibrofen are fine together? Although I was in a bit of a haze as I was in so much pain when I went to the surgery so I may be wrong.

Dildals Fri 20-Oct-17 22:15:31

I used it for pain relief at both 10 and 25mg, never affected my mood but it did make me sleepy so I took it before bed. I think the worse side effect I had was a dry mouth, try it OP and see how you get on. Amitryptilline was initially used as an AD but it turns out it’s effectively for other things and no longer used for depression anymore.

SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower Fri 20-Oct-17 22:18:54

Naproxen and ibuprofen are definitely not ok to take together, both OK to take on their own with paracetamol, and amytriptyline

Do try the amitriptyline, the side effects aren't anything to worry about and the level of pain relief is just astonishing

TheWildOnes Fri 20-Oct-17 22:21:18

I was put on amitriptyline for the same reason as you op and they absolutely messed my head up, I felt completely out of it. The only combination that worked for me with regards to the pain was tramadol and naproxen.

Wolfiefan Fri 20-Oct-17 22:21:28

I think it's a mixture of steroids and local anaesthetic injected into the site. I first had the slipped discs injected but then had arthritis done. In my case it was the arthritis that was the issue. I was told it may need redoing in 6 months. Haven't had it done again though.
I went from burning, prickling bloody awful pain that went from really rather painful to fucking unbearable to sometimes needing a paracetamol. For me it was a miracle.
Also physio. I had no core at all. The more I move the less I hurt.
Hoping some of that ramble is helpful!

SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower Fri 20-Oct-17 22:22:26

Thanks Wolfie, it is smile

Pother Fri 20-Oct-17 22:23:03

Naproxen and Ibuprofen are both NSAIDs, so same mode of action, therefore you could overdose if you take both.

You can safely take Paracetamol and NSAIDs at the same time. Are you sure the GP said Naproxen and Ibuprofen? I would phone and ask for clarification, or at least check with a pharmacist, before taking both.

BillyDaveysDaughter Fri 20-Oct-17 22:24:02

I've taken 10mg amitriptyline a day for 10 yrs + for chronic migraine. No side effects at all, quite effective.

And, er, my dog takes it alongside gabapentin for chronic spinal pain. Works well for her too smile

SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower Fri 20-Oct-17 22:25:55

What doses of everything are you taking? I can help you with that if you're unsure.

Just in case you missed it - do NOT take ibuprofen and naproxen at the same time (or voltarol gel/diclofenac)

Tramadol is Ok though, but be prepared to feel like a space cadet on it for a bit grin

Flammingstar Fri 20-Oct-17 22:36:03

@sheRaaaaa and @Pother and others thank you. Also just to say that thank you for the clarification on Naproxen and ibrofen. I did think it was a little strange at the time, but I was in a haze so maybe I misunderstood.
I definitely won't be taking the 2 together so don't worry.
The dosages are 10mg amitriptyline, 500mg of Naproxen 2x per day and 500mg paracetamol once a day if needed.
I have just had some light food and a cuppa and taken the above.....inc the Amitriptyline and I am off to bed again.
It doesn't matter if i am a little groggy tomorrow, I don't have to do anything.....damn back has again put a stop to any plans I would have had for the weekend anyway.
Thank you all.

QuackDuckQuack Fri 20-Oct-17 22:57:41

Ive taken 50mg of amitriptyline a day for a few years (built up from a low dose gradually) for neuropathic pain and it works well for me. I get a bit of a dry mouth, but otherwise no side effects that I am aware of. If I forget to take it then I don’t sleep very well. But it beats the pain I had hands down. I know someone else who tried it and couldn’t get on with it at all, so it probably is something to try but accept if it isn’t the right thing for you.

Skittlesandbeer Fri 20-Oct-17 22:58:11

Amitriptyline was miraculous for my pain from disc loss and hip issues. One day I’m sobbing in pain and also because of walking like a 93yo, the next I’m my old self but with better sleep.

The side effects are very doable, unless you’re someone who needs to be very alert very early or does shift work? I suppose if I were 23 and wanted to party it would be a hassle, but it fits well if you have small dc and a fairly regular routine.

I thank the medical people who developed it every time I fill a prescription, I don’t care if I have to take it every day for life. I was facing a 75% reduction in movement and quality of life, this solved it.

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