Methadone: It isn't just for junkies anymore

Start your day the Methadone way. Better living through chemistry.

Yet another weapon has been deployed in the war on EFD’s chronic pain. This morning I took 5 mg of Methadone as prescribed for pain. I took it about 5:30, some 1 1/2 hours before I normally get up. And I have to say that I am in much less pain than usual.

Last week I went to the VA pain clinic in Dallas for the first time. I had visited the one at the Houston VA Hospital and had undergone there an epidural steroid nerve block for the pain caused by my degenerative cervical discs. The shot didnt help.

The pain doctor whom I saw this time also determined that future steroid injections would likely be of no benefit as well. He basically had said that if I just couldn’t go on anymore, to come back and they’d try the shots. But other than that, there wasn’t much they could do for me. I didn’t completely agree with his contention. In fact, I thought the doctor was somewhat of an arrogant ass.

I had been taking the muscle relaxer Soma recently after having not taken it in more than a year. I took the drug for quite some time and when I moved to a different VA where they did not use Soma, I had no problem at all with stopping its usage. The pain doctor lectured me on his opposition to Soma use and that he does not prescribe it to his patients because of addiction potential. He kind of went on and on about this until I finally got bored and waited until he was talked out.

Needless to say, I wasn’t very happy that the doctor didn’t have any other recommendations as to possible pain therapies. There are others that exist even in the byzantine system that is the Department of Veterans Affairs, including accupuncture, which I have yet to try.

So I thought it was quite curious when my primary doctor had told me Dr. Arrogant Ass had recommended I be prescribed Methadone. I was kind of taken aback at first. I was thinking to myself: “Does this guy think I’m a junkie?” But I did some research and found that Methadone, a synthetic opiate, was originally used for pain before being widely used to treat heroin addicts.

Methadone does have some serious drawbacks. This drug is itself very habit-forming and can have particularly nasty withdrawal symptoms which I have read are often worse than those of heroin. I have even heard heroin addicts say that kicking Methadone was much more difficult than getting off heroin. It kind of made me wonder why this pharmaceutically self-righteous pain doctor would prescribe something with such addictive potential. He said after all: “Cocaine might help you but I wouldn’t prescribe it to you.”

But so far so good. I am not 100 percent pain free nor do I ever expect to be but my neck and shoulder pain seems to be cruising under the normal levels. Who knows, maybe the arrogant ass did me a favor. We shall see.

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