I’ve been on tramadol for over six years now. I know quite a bit about it — the maximum recommended dosage (I don’t take it, ever); the contraindications; the 411 on withdrawal (bottom line: not nearly as bad as the forums and message boards might lead you to believe). And lately, I’ve noticed a growing sense of blase “whatever”-ness about it all.
It struck me especially a few moments ago as I wrote a FB status on my wall to the effect of “I have a headache and I took an extra tramadol and some Aleve for it – anybody got any home remedies to try, since that didn’t work?”
I posted it, thinking how funny it was. And then I thought: Wow.
Isn’t that a little — off?
Shouldn’t I have started at the other end of the treatment spectrum and worked my way up, rather than at the top and then down?
Sure, I was being a little funny with the FB post. Sure, it was a little exaggerated for effect — I’m not quite that apathetic about what I put in my body. But I’ve been on it for six years now. The days of me feeling all “oh my GOD!” about it all? Long gone. I no longer worry about seizures or respiratory distress.
Maybe I should.
I also have a confession to make. For all my “take the damn pills, if you need ’em” preaching — and I still absolutely believe that pills are NOT the devils they’ve been made out to be by some — I did decide recently to cut back on my medication. Why? I can’t really tell you. I had absolutely no ill effects, no changes, nothing that would have caused a rational person to worry. (But then we’re seldom rational about medication for chronic pain, in case you haven’t noticed.)
So, I cut back within a few weeks — after six freaking years, let me remind you — and despite all the horrible nightmarish stories I read on the web in various chronic pain forums about tramadol withdrawal, I had absolutely none of any of the following:
- massive night sweats
- severe insomnia
- skin-crawling feeling
- breakthrough pain
Did it feel uncomfortable? Hell, yeah! But it wasn’t all that bad.
I don’t ever want to take those little white pills for granted, you know? Their efficacy, or their power to harm if misused.
No more tramadol for headaches for me. (Besides which – hello! – they didn’t work.)