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Pain Management/Cronic pain/medications

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Question
First let me say that I have OPMD which is a very rare form of muscular dystrophy.  The onset of the disease is around 50.  I am 63 and still walking but not sure how much longer.  My question is this.  I take Vicodin for degenerative discs in my neck.  Not all the time but only when the pain is severe.  Usually in the morning after getting out of bed.  I was given flexeril (muscle relaxant) when I strained my calf muscle while attempting to lift something back in April.  It worked wonders on the calf muscle but also made a big difference in my muscle pain associated with my muscular dystrophy.  But I was only given enough for two weeks.  I would like to use flexeril on a regular basis to help with my muscle pain and to relax the muscles that are trying to compensate for the muscles that are failing.  I would only use in in the late afternoon and evening.  Is it safe to take both flexeril and Vicodin?  Most likely I would be using the Vicodin in the mornings and flexeril in the evenings.  Thanks for any help you might give me.

Answer
Gary,
since I'm a nurse, I am not supposed to give advice , however, I have seen doctors prescribe Flexeril with Vicodin and other narcotics. Flexeril (and all the muscle relaxants) cause a great deal of drowsiness and dizziness, as you know, so you should be cautious to only use the Flexeril at night or while you plan to sleep. Your pharmacist would probably warn you about taking them both together, however, as I said, I have seen doctors prescribe them both. It appears that you have a lot of insight on your condition, so I feel comfortable giving you this information. Simply tell the physician what you've told me, and ask if you can begin taking the Flexeril on a nightly basis WITH the Vicodin. He/she will no doubt prescribe you more. Be honest and open, and address the fact that it helps immensely, and that you know the risks of mixing them, and assure the doctor that you will only take them together at night. I hope I have answered your question. If you need anything further I hope you will let me know.

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Patricia M

Expertise

I welcome questions from people who may want a "nurse's perspective" on the subject of chronic pain and pain management. I am a nurse, NOT a physician (MD).I can answer questions on medications, alternative approaches, and the various organs and body systems. There are many avenues to explore with chronic pain. I am against seeing patients suffer simply because healthcare professionals might suspect they are "drug seekers". There are methods of identifying true pain, and this makes patients feel as if they are taken seriously, which they should be.

Experience

Over 25 years working experience in Internal Medicine, Adult Cardiology, Post-Surgery care, Cancer, psychiatry and some experience as a lay-counselor in addictive medicine (dependence to alcohol and/or drugs, both legal and illegal drugs).

Organizations
I am an Expert with AllExperts in several areas: Pharmacy, Internal Medicine, Medical Errors. Feel free to check my Q&A history as well as my ratings, which are very high.

Education/Credentials
Diploma from hospital-based nursing school. Additional courses in pharmacology. I keep current in continuing education. Am currently working as lay-counselor which can lead to my certification as Substance Abuse Counselor.

Awards and Honors
Dean's List while in college.

Past/Present Clients
Internal medicine patients, cardiology patients recovering from heart disease and/or open-heart surgery, cancer, as well as recently working as a lay-counselor to individuals dealing with addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. NOTE: Just because I attempt to help patients with addictive diseases, I have over 25 years in Internal Medicine, have nursed patients with great deal of pain, and I am compassionate. I never label anyone as a "drug seeker". I have seen that done for years, and am against it. All patients should be evaluated for pain in a fair and comprehensive manner. Am an Expert with AllExperts in three other medical categories; feel free to check my ratings, which are high.

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