Home \ Forums \ Suboxone and Methadone \ Treating Acute or Chronic Pain While on Suboxone

12 replies, 12 commenters Last updated by Profile photo of Super Keith Super Keith 8 months, 3 weeks ago
  • Profile photo of trappedtrapped

    i started self medicating my pain/lack of insurance. when i got insured and admitted to the doctor what i as doing i was put on suboxone and labeld an abuser. for 1 yr i consistantly complained of pain and headaches, i was ignored. afyer i finally almost put my doctor threw the wall because i couldnt take it i was diagnoosed with a 2 1/2 inch blood clot in my brain and needed surgureey, 1 week later i was back on suboxone. 7 months later diagnosed with pulminary embolisms, blood clots in lungs. 1 week later back on subs. im still in extreme pain headaxhes and lower back. i keep getting ignored. is there anyway to escpe the label of being an abuser and treated like a human being?

    • Profile photo of TRTR


      I’ve been in a similar position to yours. You didn’t say what state you’re in, and I’m probably writing this too late after your post to be of any help, but you basically have to go to a lot of docs and try a lot of different treatment regimens before you find a compassionate doctor who is willing to see the situation for what it is. I must say, though, that the state in which you lives makes a big difference in terms of your ability to find a helpful doctor.

      I was in a position similar to yours a few years ago. Back in 2007, I lived in South Florida and had severe pain from an accident (was riding bicycle and was hit by drunk driver in a truck at 50mph). I had a few herniated discs before the accident and they got worse from the accident, leaving me with unbearable headaches (from discs in neck) as well as severe back pain. Since my doctor and HMO were in PA and I was living in Florida at the time (hadn’t switched things over since moving down there), I simply bought what I needed from a friend of a friend in Florida, which worked fine for a year or so, until I moved back to PA. I thought I had tapered my use down enough that I could simply stop or switch to ibuprofen, but I found out the hard way that I hadn’t. I ended up doing a 4-5 day detox at a rehab place and then simply switched to suboxone, which was able to manage my pain for a few years until the pain gradually got much worse. I explained that to the suboxone doctor, who was able to prescribe vicodin a few times, but even that barely made a dent in the pain, so I got a referral to another doc who tried physical therapy. That didn’t help, so I got a referral to another doc who did corticosteroid injections in my neck and back. Those helped the first few times (6 months or so), but then stopped working, so the doc wanted to do a more serious type of injection (not sure what, specifically, but it required a hospital rather than being able to be done in his office), As the prior injection had actually increased my pain level, I was afraid of doing that, so that doc actually referred me to a different doc who specialized in acupuncture and medication.

      I went into the pain doctor’s office and told him, truthfully, that the headaches were so bad I wanted to walk into traffic just to make my head stop hurting, that I was taking 8 advil every 4 hours and it was making me sick, and also that I had been taking suboxone previously, off-label, purely for the control of chronic, severe pain. I told him that I had elected to take suboxone rather than a typical pain medication due to my job and the fact that I didn’t want anything altering my mental function or showing up on a drug test at work (I didn’t want to have to explain an opiate showing up on a drug test, even if I were allowed to have it). That doctor actually listened, understood the situation for what it was and didn’t automatically assume suboxone use implied drug addiction or drug abuse. He prescribed oxycodone and has continued to do so for a few years now. He doctor probably saved my life, because the pain was so bad that I wouldn’t have been able to tolerate it for much longer.

      The docs I saw before my current doctor looked at me in a manner similar to that which you describe, as if I was a drug addict looking for drugs or something. And I must say, I’ve never gotten high from my medication – nauseated and sleepy at first, but never high. I just moved to yet another state, and I have 3 years of pain management records available, and I have a professional career (I have a doctorate, for christ’s sake), but still I’m treated as if I’m a drug addict when I try to schedule an appointment to see a pain doc! (and that’s without any of the suboxone stuff in my records, btw). But I digress….

      My advice to you (or others in your position):

      (1) Request your medical records from your doctors or find a way to see them. Insist that any reference to drug abuse or drug addiction be removed or replaced with clinically correct terms such as opioid dependence – anyone who takes opiates for a long time period become dependent upon them, whether they’re taking them as directed or they’re abusing them; the latter could also be termed “addicted,” whereas the former cannot. If they refuse or seem reluctant to make the changes, threaten to sue them. Make sure it’s clear in your records from the doc who prescribed suboxone that you were taking it to control chronic pain, not for addiction.

      (2) Find a new doctor. Go to multiple doctors until you find one who is able to manage your pain in one way or another. You may have to pay cash, but it may be well worth it and may only be necessary for a short time period (six months or so) – so that when a new doc asks for your records, they get the notes from the friendly doc rather than the one who says you’re a drug addict.

      (3) Make sure your suboxone doc isn’t part of your medical records – see a new primary care doc and a new suboxone doc, if necessary, and do whatever is necessary to make sure the primary care doc doesn’t even know about the existence of the suboxone doc.

      Well, those are my ideas and suggestions, for what it’s worth. I hope you were able to find an intelligent and compassionate doctor who helped you! Best of luck!

  • Profile photo of Chuck RogersChuck Rogers

    I’ve been on Suboxone for 8 yrs and recently had knee surgery..I came off with dilautid and percocet 20 days before surgery and receptors still blocked, Not much relief,with K4’s. I think fentynal patches would have been better. I couldn’t wait ti get back on Suboxone. Just be sure the pain is gone before resuming the Suboxone…..Good luck….I have to go back and have knee replaced soon ugh

    • Profile photo of DebDeb

      Like you I’ve been on suboxone for a long time – about 5 years. I was previously on Oxycontin for eight years for a nerve disorder. HIGH doses. My RSD went into remission and I detoxed at home over a long weaning period. I also have gone off and back on S for several joint replacements and same as you I can’t wait to get back to S. I have horrible withdrawals after surgery and most doctors won’t prescribe enough opioids to control the withdrawals. I’ve recently moved to South Carolina and it’s very different down here. S is only prescribed for in house rehab and only for a short time. Before I had it prescribed for pain and my insurance paid for it. I’m being treated like a junkie and I’m almost out of my S . I also have knee replacement surgery coming up and I’m desperate. S doesn’t work great on chronic pain but I won’t go back to narcotics on a daily basis. Anybody have any suggestion?

  • Profile photo of Chuck RogersChuck Rogers

    Taking 16 to 24 mg per day will block approx. 95% of your opiate receptors and the only thing to help with pain fentynal or dilaudid in high doses to slip by the suboxone.. I have been on Suboxone for 8 Yrs and just had knee surgery and couln’t wait to return tp it. I never got high but it did help with the pain. Just be sure the pain is gone before going back bevause it was hell..Good luck with everything…..Suboxone saved my life

  • Profile photo of rasel321075rasel321075

    In this type of treatment, I think with the above information rest is also a important part and the most important is to abstain from alcohol.

  • Profile photo of KristenKristen

    I am now down to 1/2 of a 1.4/3.6 tab of Zubsolv. I am an addict however suffer from chronic back/hip pain due to cancer 7yrs ago. I started weaning Monday. Wednesday is when the front of my thighs became numb & Thur night my back, hip & neck pain is back. I’m wondering if this is due to my nerves firing again or was the Zubsolv just masking my pain? I’m in pain again & it’s bringing back many CPTSD memories. Can anyone help? Thank You