Constipation Relief & Effectiveness of Spinal Nerve Blocks (Epidurals) for Pain

Updated on February 24, 2008
K.V. asks from Kennesaw, GA
22 answers

I am on a regiment of perscription medications called Lyrica & Ultram ER (may be generic?) for joint pain & stiffness as well as some nerve pain. Doctor is currently diagnosing fibromyalgia for lack of a better diagnosis but still doing more testing, particularly in the area of disc degeneration. I also seem to have carpal tunnel in one hand & sciatica (hip & leg). I am under the care of an orthopedist as well as a chiropractor. I have experienced much relief through the medication for my joint stiffness & sciatica symptoms-though I do not like being on the medication, and very expensive. I have developed severe constipation. My doctor also has me taking daily doses of Myralax and I have added a stool softener, however, though an uncomfortable subject...my regularity is still only a/b once every 3-5 days, and takes alot of effort, and very painful. Also my doc is reccomending I have a series of epidurals (a course of 3 spaced 2 weeks apart). My question is has anyone undergone this procedure with success for similar diagnosis, and does anyone have any helpful suggestions for the constipation issue.

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E.B.

answers from Atlanta on

Hi K.,
I have suffered with fibromyalgia for over 20 years. I have stuck with a regiment of anti-inflamatory medications and muscle relaxors every day. Due to taking muscle relaxors every day, I too have suffered from constipation. After taking different fiber supplements and laxatives, I found an herbal tea that has a natural laxative in it. I followed the directions of drinking a cup after every meal for a short time and found out that I was spending way to much time on the toilet! After getting used to drinking it everyday, I now drink one cup of tea before bedtime and usually will have a bowel movement in the morning. I would swear by this tea! I have gone out of town before and forgot to take it with me and have not had a bowel movement without it. You can purchase it directly from the manufacturer. You go to www.unclelee.com. Look for "lemon dieter tea" in the yellow box. I believe it is $4.99 per box. I have also started another herbal supplement called "super Curcumin" it is supposed to be a natural anti-inflamatory/pain reliever. I have been taking it for less than one month and can tell the difference. I got so tired of taking all those prescriptions and figured natural stuff has to be better for you!

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L.B.

answers from Atlanta on

Ask if your Chiropractor has a massage therapist on staff and if you can get massages. Most time insurance will cover the costs. It will help your muscles to relax and give you more comfort. Do research on line about the medications you are taking...together. Lots of people go through what you are going through. You are not alone. Try looking into alternative remedies. I utilize our doctors for references, I don't put all our health in their hands. They do a pretty good job diagnosing and then I take it from there.
Good luck.

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S.

answers from Spartanburg on

K., for constipation I can only recommend to drink, drink and drink all day long! Water is key to keep the stool soft and make it comfortable to go...ok with stool softner and miralax when you have need for relief but water and easy to digest veggies are really important. I found that cabbage, beans, broccoli & similar give me too much gas and make my tummy swell, I am taking Benefiber multiple times a day (it has no taste at all and it's my excuse to drink more water), stool softner at night, bran cereal in the morning and it seems to work well. Good luck with everything!

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N.T.

answers from Spartanburg on

Hi K.-

I know you said that you were under the care of a chiro, and that's good. I go to a chiro in Duncan that does a very different technique called cervical something. Anyway, it's based on the theory that when your spine is out of line, it causes pressure on your brain stem, which causes all kinds of other problems, especially ones like yours where there's a lot of mysterious symptoms. He's helped people with cerebral palsy, diabetes, you name it. He takes X-rays of you at the beginning and then follows up with another round in like 6 weeks to see where you are with things. That's nice b/c a lot of chiro's still just adjust until the symptoms are alleviated. He's out there to actually fix it, so you don't have to be dependent on meds or drs or chiros for the rest of your life. His name is Jon J Moser, at Wellness Chiropractic. Phone number is ###-###-####. I hope you'll give that a chance. I've seen people walk out of his office who were not able to walk at all just 4 weeks before.

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D.S.

answers from Myrtle Beach on

I had constipation really bad before I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and still have a little difficulty from time to time. I normally take fiber pills to help.

Considering your medical situation, I found a website with natural cures for constipation.

http://www.indianchild.com/home_remedies_for_constipation...

Here is what it said:

natural cures for constipation, home remedy for constipation cure, treatment :

Bale fruit is the best laxative of all fruits. It cleans and tones up the intestines & gives constipation relief.

Constipation in toddlers, infants and older children may be relieved by giving bran cereal
Guava when eaten with seeds provides roughage to diet can give relief from constipation

Add more fruits to the diet prunes pears, grapes, Orange juice & Papaya.

Try One tablespoonful of corn syrup added to 8oz of water to cure constipation

Another natural remedy for constipation is to add a little extra sugar or some honey a glass of milk. Drink twice a day

I hope this helps!

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K.B.

answers from Spartanburg on

I can't speak about the epidural but I can about the constipation. I have been prone to that since I was a kid finding myself in the ER in pain only for my mother to be told I was as backed up as one could be. I am 42 now. I have taken a product called Her-lax for about 23 years. It is non habit forming and I only had to increase my dosage at the end of my pregnancies. If you want more info just let me know. I couldn't live without this product and it helps over all health as the longer waste sits the worse it is for our health! That stuff is toxic. Okay... I won't get gross and say any more! I have some info on fibromyalgia and dealing with is in natural ways if you want to read/hear it. I am fascinated by nutritional healing. One of my favorite books is The Nutritional Prescription for Healing. ( by Balch and Balch) I truly hope you can find some natural things to do to help. I hear what your saying about the cost of prescriptions not to mention being not liking the idea of being on it in the first place. If you look at a natural approach make sure you use whole food supplements and not something man made though! Our bodies respond to real food and nutrients and not so much to something made in a test tube! Hope that helps a little. I am praying for you! Illness can take it's tole for sure!

Blessings!

K.

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A.A.

answers from Atlanta on

K.,
As a woman whose family has a hx of intestinal blockage, I can speak on this subject. My sister had two surgeries to remove blockages, but it didn't cure it. The pain medications that were prescribed to me kept me doped up and didn't cure anything either. My herbal doctor has helped me tremendously through this regiment: Water and lots of it (that helped with the night sweats too); flax seed - which I put on grits, oatmeal, spaghetti, salad, etcetera. (you can buy the granules or the ground kind from either Mother Natures, Sevananda, or other real herb shops.) I take calcium supplements 3 times a week, for my bones since a drunk driver hit me. Next incorporate more fresh veggies and fruits into your diet. Apples are great, as is fresh brocolli, romaine lettuce and raw carrots. I don't eat pork (those trichnide worms are too scary), and limit my red to meat to very lean cuts and once a month only. Alcohol and beer are probably a problem for you too, as your system already cannot push the food through, they can make it extra hard for you. Sodas are also a no-no, they add no nutritional value to your life and THEY TAKE CALCIUM FROM YOUR BONES. True. I wouldn't kid ya. We cannot afford that. I don't have any constipation or intestinal pains at all anymore. The medicines that you're taking are actually causing the constipation and increased menopausal symptoms. None of these healthy suggestions will make you sleepy, tired or gain weight. In fact, when I reached my two months of my new eating plan (i neva call it a diet, eva!) I had lost 8 pounds. That was an added bonus. K., you have to take control of your body and make yourself feel great again, and this is your chance to start. If the medicine is too expensize, ask for the generic equivalent, it's your right. The doctors work for you, so change medicines until you find one that's right for you. Plus Wal-mart and places like Kroger have the $4.00 monthly supplies of lots of medicines. Going broke trying to feel better, obviously won't make you feel better, so you can make some adjustments. This coupled with Saturday and Sunday walking of 30 minutes each day, along with taking the stairs and parking out so I have to walk a little to buildings I go to have netted a 20 pound weight loss total!! It's so worth it and so are you. So, get our there are make those changes mom. You can do it, and let me know in a couple of months how much better you feel.

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J.L.

answers from Atlanta on

K.-I work for a really great chiropractor! In my opinion DO NOT DO THE EPIDURALS! They only block the pain as well as the medications, they are not getting to the root of the problem, and what is causing all of this. Also, for the constipation try magnesium--up to 750mg a day, start with the lowest dose of 250mg then go from there. I would take this while pregnant and it made me feel better. I took it at night before bed and usually by 8:00am I would go. No cramping or anything and it is all natural. YOu can get it anywhere ie: Publix, walmart etc. If you want a consult with my Chiro. just write back. Hope this helps.
Johna

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B.F.

answers from Savannah on

In reading your request , I had the feeling I had written it myself a few years back . Please see a Rheumatologist and explore the Fibromyalgia before putting yourself through the epidurals . I have been diagnosed with it for about six years now , but spent a good many years before that trying to find out what was wrong . I had surgery for carpal tunnel on both hands done , and they are fine now . The surgery is simple and done as outpatient . Lyrica has been a wonder drug for me and has taken the neuropathic pain away . Wish I could say that about the rest of the pain . I take naproxin for joint pain and inflammation. Constipation was a never ending problem that I treated with Miralax until I started taking Alli to help with weight loss . I don't lose weight , but I have regular BM ! Good luck on your health quest ..if I can be of any help to you , please feel free to contact me at [email protected]____.com ...B.

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K.M.

answers from Sumter on

Dear K.:
Hi, I too have Fibromyalgia. I would suggest that you go to Rhematologist to be treated for your symptoms.There are a few medicines that you are not on which have been proven benefical for Fibromyalgia. It sounds like you also could hsve Degenerative Disc Disease which can only be diagnosed by getting an MRI done. Your Orthopedic Doctor could order that for you. I have DDD also in my neck and lower back. I have had the series of three Epidurals in the past a few years ago and I did find that they helped me for a period of time. I am scheduled to get another series done soon. As for you problem of constipation, as you already know it is a side effect of your medicines. I have tried many products including what you are on and it did not help me. The two best things that I have found to use is Aloe Vera (up to 500mg every night) you have to find the dosage thst works for you OR Correctal for women( the little pink pill.) Although it is not to be for contant use, my Doctor says that I need it for all of the medicines that I am on and it is NOT harmful to take it long term. It is more harmful to let all the toxins build up in your system, especially since you have Fibromyalgia. Do you take muscle relaxers? I take Parafon Forte, generic is available. It does NOT add to my fatigue level as all the other muscle relaxers I have tried. I also take Cymbalta for depression and nerve pain. Do you suffer from depression too? It is very common in people with Fibromyalgia. How long have you had Fibromyalgia? I was diagnosed in 1999. I hope I was of some help to you. Sincerely, K. from The M.O.M. Team, (my business is advertised on this site)P.S. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance to you.

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S.W.

answers from Spartanburg on

K. - I'm trying something new w/ my son. Read up a little on this website and see what you think about this. Sounds a whole lot less expensive, promising and less painful than a series of epidurals! www.naet.com

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K.W.

answers from Macon on

I am a paralegal in a personal injury/workers' compensation law practice and as such,I see many of our clients go through the epidurals. What I have seen is that most of them experience no relief after the first 1-2 and about 1/2 of them get relief after the 2-3 one. Even the ones that don't get much relief are still glad they went through them, though, b/c it at least crosses one more thing off the list to help narrow the pain problems down. Because of what I do, I have some inside knowledge on local doctors, too, if you would like to contact me at [email protected]____.com far as the constipation goes, have you tried any of the at home enimas? I had problems while I was pregnant and it actually got so severe that I passed out trying to go one day. Occasionally, they helped me(unfortunatley not always, though). My husband would actually help me out b/c I found it tough to do myself(I am overweight and was also pregnant).
Fresh fruit(or even a smoothie) helps, too b/c of the natural fiber.

Good luck!

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R.A.

answers from Spartanburg on

Hey K.,
Little about me: 2003 L5/S1 microdiscectomy and 2006 L5/S1 discectomy and spinal fusion. I had an intermittent nerve impingement that was not seen on standard recumbant MRI scan was a VERY painful source during my pregnancy, with every specialist telling me it was all in my head. It took for ever to find a doc willing to run more tests, but finally a discogram and a standing MRI was my saving grace. I have extensive nerve damage down both legs, as well as some minor bowel and bladder issues too from the nerve impingement too. I still have a 40 degree curve scoliosis and SI joint and pelvic floor dysfunction.

I have had several spinal epidural injections in the past. They helped very little and I could not substantiate the cost at $298 per injection that my insurance didnt cover. It was a somewhat painful recovery that lasted an entire day and with a baby, that was a difficult thing. There were somewhat better and certainly less expensive treatments to use. 20/20 hindsight, I wouldnt have wasted the time and money. But, I did have some relief and, what most people dont understand that when you hurt, you'll do most anything for some relief.

I am still under the care of a pain management doctor whom I love very much. I was also taking lyrica as well as flexiril and fexmid, and, of course Lortab. My husband and entertaining the thought of getting pregnant again, so I have recently weaned off most of these meds, with painful results. But I can tell you that the Lyrica definately helps me more than the epidural's ever did.

Be Careful of the Fibromyalgia diagnosis. They gave that one too me a while ago. And it was a misdiagnosis. I dont doubt for a second that the disorder does not exsist. There are people out there truly suffering from it. Unfortunately, I was not one of them. I was dieting, like you, and was drinking diet sodas. I came to find out that I was sensitive to aspertame sweetners and it was causing me the fibro symptoms. I did some internet searches, and it turns out that I wasnt the only one. It was my good ole family doc who suggested the food allergy route. Just something to consider.

Wish I could help more with the constipation issue. Like said before, drinking water helps. I also take a stool softerners every night and a mild laxative on every 3 or 4 night too. That seems to help. If you find something new out, please pass it on to me, lol.

Take care and best of luck.
R.

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D.L.

answers from Atlanta on

Good morning K.,

Have you tried good ole prunes for your constipation? Also, how about Kashi which has tons of fiber.

Can you get into an aquatics class? The water may be wonderful for you.

I am on osteo-bi-flex and limbral for degenerative bone disease and osteo-arthritis and I am having great results.

Hope this helps.

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B.

answers from Augusta on

for constipation go for some extra dried fruit and fruit juices, I give my kids craizins ( those dried cranberrys) and fruit juices when they are constipated. Blue berries are like draino for my kids I don't have problems often.

try upping your fiber intake.

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D.W.

answers from Macon on

K., wow been there done that,i live with constant pain and ive been thru the medication gammit along with epidorials in my back to releive the pain of degenerated disks and arthritis, it never dawned on me when i signed the papers that i was giving up the right to sue should i become paralized. Now you should know i didnt but i also stopped getting them once i became aware of this cause i would be of no good use paralized. Please take this into consideration when making your decission. And as for the constipation. I use to go once a week at best prunes 3 to 5 a day and it works and its natural. Hope this helps

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S.K.

answers from Columbus on

Go to peachtree Natural foods and get some senna leaf tea. It takes about 12 hours to work but will definitely clear up constipation.

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O.R.

answers from Spartanburg on

Parts of your post sound as if I could have written it! I am 53 years old though! I am on Lyrica and Morphine for the back, leg, and arm pain. I have some disc problems that can not be repaired. I had one epidural for the upper back pain, it lasted for about 4 weeks. I am Diabetic and during those 4 weeks I suffered with dangerously high blood sugars that massive doses of Insulin could not contain. If you are not diabetic, I would suggest you give the epidurals a chance. According to my Neurologist they are supposed to help especially if you take a series of them. My diabetes doc told me I absoutley could not take them again.
I have also got carpal tunnel, in both arms. Life in pain is not good. I can not just lay down and take meds and not do anything as I live with and take care of my elderly parents who are both in bad health.

As for the constipation, I too suffer with that. I have found that regular daily doses of benefiber help a lot. You can get the tablets or use the powder with water or sprinkle it in or on your food. It is tasteless. I sprinkle in food as well as taking the tablets. Another real important think is to drink lots and lots of water. More water than you want to drink daily! I promise lots of water does help.

I will keep you in my prayers that you find relief from your pain and other problems.

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R.L.

answers from Charleston on

Hi K.:
The culprit is the Ultram. I recently had a family member that was on Ultram following surgery and experienced your same problem. Try Senakot with the stool softner. I think it is pretty pricey but it will do the trick and you probably need to take one every other day. Also drinks lots of water.

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M.S.

answers from Spartanburg on

Have you seen you Gyno. lately? cervical "concerns" have been linked to the back and can be undetected unless you have a PAP done.

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A.D.

answers from Atlanta on

K.,

I must tell you to becareful taken Lyrica. I have SI joint dysfuntion and sciatica. I was told I had Fybromyalgia when I was 17 years old. I turn 30 in April. Lyrica caused my legs and feet to swell and turn blue. I started having problems with my blood pressure. It would change from laying down, sitting, or standing. I also went from 99lbs to 140lbs in no time while on Lyrica. I bearly eat and kept putting weight on plus would just fall a sleep and it didn't matter where I was.I got to the point where I passed out in the shower cause my blood pressure and heart rate would drop so low. Look in to Acupuncture. I hate needles but the needles are smaller than any the doctor's offices use and it got me off walking with a cane in a month. The only medication I took was herbal from where I went to Acupuncture and it worked better than the meds the doctor was giving me. It would also help you with menopause. You may wont to try adding extra fiber to your diet and stool softeners help. Feel free to check out my web site: http://adelmolino.qhealthbeauty.com/Default.aspx
it has different organic vitamens & supplements (Nutrilite) plus a diet and fitness program called Trim Advantage which is also organic. Congrades on your weight loss. I hope this helped you out and I wish you the best of luck. I hope you have an awsome day and blessed week and weekend.

A.

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K.S.

answers from Macon on

Hi K., I feel your pain. I have a bad backmyself. I work with a company that manufactures a product for joint and pain relief specificially to keep you from taking so many prescriptions. I can get you some more information if you like. My phone number is ###-###-#### or you can visit my website to read about it. www.kristies.fourpointwellness.com. I sure hope you find something that helps. Sincerely,
K. Sansbury

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