Friday, October 31, 2014

Saturday, August 02, 2008 Tommy59, Community Member, asks

Q: Are some people 'resistant' to opiate medications, and find no relief from pain?

Hi, I have been having a lot of problems finding a drug that will relieve my back pain. I have 2 herniated discs in my lumbar back, but a new disc in my cervical (C6) back has left me totally overtaken by constant severe pain in my neck, back (at C6) and my right shoulder, bycep, forearm and hand. It is constant stabbing, throbing pain that starts in my neck and moves outward through my right arm. Nothing stops this pain. NOTHING. It doesn't matter if I am standing, sitting, lying down, using Ice, or heat, day or night, or what medications I take. I have been given Gabapentin, Prednisone, Cyclobenzapr, oxycodone, dullaudid, MS Contin, and Fentanyl patches. It doesn't matter how much of the opiate drugs I take (within reason, I'm not out to OD) I simply have no response to the medications. Now I'm 48, I understand drugs, getting high, etc. and I know what high feels like. I feel nothing. with the dullaudid, oxycodone, and morphine I feel no effects at all, no dizziness, lightheadedness, uphoria, drowsiness, nothing, let alone relief from my pain. I have taken up to 10 4mg dullaudid at one time with NO effects whatsoever. My oxycodone dosage is 10 MG every 4 hours and it takes care of my lumbar pain fine, but does nothing for the nerve pain in my C6 no matter how much I take. I did however find some relief from pain with Fentanyl, but it was suckers given by a friend that he uses to treat cancer pain but it's dosage was strong enough to put an oxen to sleep.  I do NOT advise or suggest that anyone take these drugs in these amounts, I am simply at my wits end trying to find relief, and cannot find any. My question is this: are some people by the shear nature of their chemical makeup resistant to the effects of pain medications? If so, how do these people get relief? Could the reason simply be that because I take oxycodone 10 mg every 4 to 6 hours for the past 6 months built up a tolerance to opiate meds? I am so worn out from being in severe pain 24 hours a day, I am ready to do anything. Please help, Thanks..Tommy

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Answers (20)
Cort, Health Guide
8/ 4/08 8:37pm

Yes opiate resistance does occur (unfortunately). Check out the below link for a paper on opiate resistance in AIDS patients.  This physician reccomends continuing to use opiates but boosting their effectiveness with other agents. He does not believe that long-term use of opiates causes tolerance. The problem may very well be genetic; researchers are beginning to disentangle genetic differences in fibromyalgia patients, for instance, that cause some of them to respond to one type of pain medication better than another.


You really need to find a really sharp specialist to address your pain. Some hospitals have special pain management centers.


Check out this article that suggests that opioid resistance is common in fibromyalgia patients. The presence of an injury does not mean you might not have FM as well which is characterized by widespread pain. FM is treated differently than other types of pain.  You might want to check out the FM section of this website.



This is going to take some research. Good luck!

Mag1, Community Member
8/11/08 2:26pm

Yes.  As well as making folk sick (as in my own case) opiates sometimes have absolutely NO effect at all on some.  My own Dr told me of anothr of his patients who  is absolutely unmoved by opiates in any way.  She is,apparently, doing very well on Prialt(Ziconitide). Unfortunately it is VERY expensive.  I tried it to no availe, it made me sick, just like everything else.


RickJay, Community Member
5/23/09 11:26pm

Just to add to the discussion, opiates do not and have never had substantial effect on me.  I've never had chronic pain issues, but on maybe half a dozen occasions in my life have been prescibed opiates for temporarily severe problems - a bad root canal, hopsitalized for migraine, a temporary back injury, stuff like that.  They had no more effect on me than, say, a couple of Advils. 


Conversely, my father, if he takes something like that, can barely stand up thirty minutes later.  Go figure.




kat4552, Community Member
10/28/14 2:03pm

It all depends on your DNA and there are test now that will tell you what medicines will and will not work on you.  I was a real eye opener for me.

kat4552, Community Member
10/28/14 2:28pm

One other mention since you mentioned your dad.  I don't know how old dad is, but many older people can have severe reactions to opiates, pain meds.  Many become paranoid.  My father in law was telling his wife that there must be a conspiricy at the hospital because people were leaving and never coming back.  :)  but this is a serious problem and kids have to watch out for this to happen to their parents. 



rockabillychick, Community Member
8/16/08 10:59am

I really feel for you!  I have been seeing a pain doc and many other docs for a year now with a torn and leaking disk, siatica, and for some reason yet desided- missed periods or periods that last 20 days and give terrible pelvic pain.  i have been on several different opiates, norco (stopped working after 6 months), percocet only works well with another long acting medicine too), fentantly patch (left me with open sores and did not help), opana (helped!!! but i couldn't pee!) and now oxycotin (seems to be helping a bit with the percocet as well and gapabentin.  i am also complelty resisitant to morphin.  i always tell my docs that- i have had 3 surgeries where i came out of them on morphin screaming like hell and they kept giving me more, finally they believe me and switch to something else- the last time i ended up in the hospital after a outpatient surgery for 1 week just to get on top of the pain.  don't give up!!!! you are not abnormal.  one thing that has really made a difference for me is getting a full nights sleep every night- and i understand that may not seem possible, my pain is at its worse when i lay down too.  but i fianlly was prescribed a sleeping med- ambian cr.  it really works and i never feel groggy when i get up!  it has taken my pain level down to a 6!

lvm6, Community Member
4/13/10 2:45pm

i think some people must have some kind of "natural" tolerance. or people like me who need more than what is considered normal for most people. in my case, opiates do not make me tired or down, they completely wire me and cause insomnia. they also make me feel like i have extra energy that needs to be expended.


i went through a similiar experience as you did after 2 surgerys. one was a simple laparotomy in my early 20's - i awoke in recovery room screaming in pain and they thought i was simply being a difficult patient. then after a csection (which i wasnt expecting) i had a terrible immediate recovery period and an extended stay due to extreme pain. before the section, i was given a spinal block. during the operation i received an injection of fentynol. afterwards i spent several hours in recovery and couldnt even be sent to a room due to lack of control of my pain. i was writhing in agony and delirious until several injections later. morphine and probably some other stuff, i dont remember now. the ob doc said never before had he needed to give so much pain medication after a c section. i was not even well enough to hold my babies until the 3rd day after my surgery. but once i got home, i felt fine within a week which was much faster than my previous vaginal delivery. i had a 4rth degree tear and could barely walk when i got home.

kat4552, Community Member
10/28/14 2:22pm

My pain doctor in San Antonio, Texas Dr. Donald Bacon found two leaking disc and mended them with one procedure.  No problems after that.  (with those disc)   Also since you mentioned it,  When I was put on too high of a dose of Oxycontin and Oxycodone, because nothing was stopping my pain,   I started breaking out with sores all over the top of my back.  They would heal but before they all healed up entirely my lower back would break out in sores.  It kept doing this for a couple of years.   Doctor always want for you to tell them all the drugs you are on, and I always do, but I really wonder if they take a look at the info. I went to an Internal Medicine Doctor and a Dermatologist and neither of them found out what the problem was.     My son was the first to say.  "Mom you are taking too much medication".  As I reduced the oxys my sore healed up nd never came back. 

As for sleep, You are 100% correct.  You have to get good sleep, but with pain that seem almost impossible.  You were lucky that Ambien worked for you.  I had terrible hallucinations, but one of my doctors prescribed Klonipin and it was wonderful.  It even stopped my bruxism.  (clenching teeth)  and it let me sleep.  I have no idea why doctors never prescribed muscle relaxers for me, but I am now taking flexiril and it has stopped a lot of pain.  Just think of how stressed you get suffering from pain.  Do you think your muscles will not tense up?  They do and they cause you more pain.   One doctor made me get off on Klonipin before he would prescribe opiates for me, because that group of drugs is suppose to increase the need for more opiates sooner than normal.  Than they couldn't find any opiates that would work on me  so I plan to go back on the Klonipin again.   


Boyo, Community Member
1/31/09 4:05am

           I feel your pain! (Sorry couldn't help it)

I have this spinal weirdness going on that is a real combination platter. L-3456 screwed up - then a fracture of C-11 I think- mid back where it is actually leaning on the spinal canal. My doctor is a champ but at a loss what to do . The theory put forth was  functional stenosis, with several other terms- point is I never know when the little monster is going to put me down. Point is I took tylenol 4 for two years and alternated it - with Tramadol 50 mg. X 8 a day. The tramadol beat out the tylenol 4 and even the vicoden  he put me on just recently. Problem is the tramadol you must watch since it takes more for the effect so to speak, over time. But if it's in your system it seems to help (the pain is always there) and it numbs me some from throat to groin and feet somehow. I was so pissed off at one point I took 6 tylenol 4 in front of my wife and all I got was this bloated feeling, trying to make her understand something was wrong with the meds or my body-  I do believe that some of us are imune to certain drugs. I believe that somehow the body percieves it as a threat and runs it right threw intact so to speaak  on a moleculer level. The switching back and forth  was my own attempt to keep from addiction since  I have 21 years sobriety so to speak and I am angry since the whole scenario has me feeling threatened. I did however  see a phsychiatrist to oversee me since I was really getting depressed etc... but for the most part to oversee my behavior becuase of my compulsive nature. I still have horrible insomnia from the pain and general malaise - but try tramadol and alternate aproaches - I am trying to figure out how to clean out the old thinking and go for acupuncture or an alternate- wich generally doesn't sit well with the crusty single headed establishment  but my doc is cool with it.- good luck -B

kat4552, Community Member
10/28/14 3:20pm

My doctor threatened to shoot me :)  he was so upset that he didn't know where all my pain was coming from.   He found out and I have a list of 32 areas.  Some of the people here might need to see if they are suffering from Neuropathic pain or musculoskeletal pain.  The drug Lamictal helped both my dad and me control neuropathic pain along with capsaicin on his feet.  The pain dad had on his feet was neuropathic and it felt like his feet were burning.  Look up Fibromyalgia and see if it looks like something you have.  Muscle pain take muscle relaxers. (flexiril is great for me)   Look into RadioFrequency ablations for spine pain.  They may work for 6 months (longer and short sometimes) My best one lasted for 18 months.    I have spinal stenosis (cervical)  &  have had all of my cervical spine fused.  I've had a  laminectomy  to help   alleviate  the spinal stenosis.   I'm sure plenty of you have  spondylosis  (severe arthritis.    Get MRI done on your spine if your back pain is chronic.  I have scoliosis, kyphosis, and lordosis.  There is no C-11.     C1- C7 then the thoracic (largest area) then the lumbar.    Any opiate will need to be increased over time, but some drugs like benzos (klonopin , valium etc)  increase the need faster.    Make sure your sleeping.  NO  SLEEP = MORE PAIN.   You didn't say if your doctor was a Pain Management doctor and that is what you need to have.  Insist on a MRI of your entire spine or a CT (a little at a time due to radiation)  A Neurosurgeon maybe in your future.  You might look into a spinal cord stimulator, but get a neurosurgeon to do it since you mentioned spine injuries.  Since you have a fracture you may need to look into  Kyphoplasty Surgery.   Push for your doctor to do all kinds of test just to figure out all the things wrong with your spine.  Take the offense and keep educating yourself on the internet.  Not necessarily from blogs, but look on sites like   or 

Harvard, or John Hopkins, or Mayo Clinic. 

To find the best doctors in town, find out who the head of that department is,  at the hospital systems in your city.  For instance,  the head of the  Neurosurgery  Department at the Methodist Hospital system.  Then call his office and  even if he doesn't install spinal cord stimulator he will refer you to,  most likely,  the best doctor in that city that does that type of surgery.   Got to look out for number one,  no one else will do as good a job as you will.  :) 








25. TROCHANTERIC BURSITIS is a painful hip syndrome most noticeable when hip is in motion or with pressure from having weight on it







kat4552, Community Member
10/28/14 3:41pm

Didn't mean to leave part of my list on the post.  meant to erase it but forgot.

kat4552, Community Member
10/28/14 3:35pm

One other item.  Back when my mother was still alive there were no pain medicines to speak of.  She was one of the first patients to be operated on for scoliosis at Standford in California.   Mom had fibromyalgia I have no doubt of,  along with other spine problems that caused her pain.   No pain meds ment she turned to alcohol.  I would have to,  had I been in her place, but I'm not,  and I'm not about to take up drinking to stop my pain.  Mom died at least 10 years before she should have.  She died of cirrosis of the liver and that has got to be one of the worst ways to die.  :(

& watch out for tylenol, it will destroy your liver.  Make sure you have your liver tested at least every six months or so.   People in pain will suffer depression to some extent, listen to music you like and open the windows and let the sun shine in.   Go for walks or just lay in a lounger outside in the sun.  If you suffer fatigue I mentioned Co-enzyme A in another reply below.  Co-enzyme A can stop the fatigue you feel when you have pain.  Just make sure you take it on an empty stomach.  Watch your blood pressure.  As pain goes up so does blood pressure. 


Meryl, Community Member
12/ 4/09 10:39am

Tommy, have you gotten any results?  I am in the same boat as you.  I was in a very bad car accident 10 years ago, my leg was shattered and my C-2 was fractured.  It was nothing short of a miracle that I wasn't killed and the doctors are amazed that I am not paralyzed.  Regardless, I have spent years in chronic pain and nothing works.  I can take a dozen vicodin and it's like taking a baby aspirin for me.  Now I tore my achillies tendon and had surgery yesterday and there were other issues in my ankle and what should have been a fairly easy operation turned into major surgery.  I am in so much pain right now I want to chop my leg off and there is nothing I can do to stop the pain cause nothing works for me.  Years ago after my accident the doctors even put me on Oramorph which is oral morphine and it did nothing to help the pain, it just made me sleepy.  I am at my wit's end with this opiate resistance and no one understands the pain.  I'm hoping someone found you a miracle you can pass on to me.  Any luck?

kat4552, Community Member
10/28/14 3:52pm

Have your doctor give you a DNA test to see what medications work on you.  They take a swab of the inside of your cheeks, just like CSI.  They send it off to a lab and it comes back with the meds that will work on you and those that don't.   I had been of 4 medications that did not work on me and that is why I was taking such a high dose that I became a zombie.  The drug did not work on me, it was just so strong that it made me brain dead.  BRAIN DEAD = NO PAIN=ZOMBIE.  Vicodin, oxycodine, oxycontin, effexor and cymbalta do not work with my DNA.  Fentanyl will but it will make Fibromyalgia worse.  Have you tried Fentanyl patches?   Get that test. 


Meryl, Community Member
12/ 4/09 10:40am

Tommy, have you gotten any results?  I am in the same boat as you.  I was in a very bad car accident 10 years ago, my leg was shattered and my C-2 was fractured.  It was nothing short of a miracle that I wasn't killed and the doctors are amazed that I am not paralyzed.  Regardless, I have spent years in chronic pain and nothing works.  I can take a dozen vicodin and it's like taking a baby aspirin for me.  Now I tore my achillies tendon and had surgery yesterday and there were other issues in my ankle and what should have been a fairly easy operation turned into major surgery.  I am in so much pain right now I want to chop my leg off and there is nothing I can do to stop the pain cause nothing works for me.  Years ago after my accident the doctors even put me on Oramorph which is oral morphine and it did nothing to help the pain, it just made me sleepy.  I am at my wit's end with this opiate resistance and no one understands the pain.  I'm hoping someone found you a miracle you can pass on to me.  Any luck?

HMS25610, Community Member
2/ 3/10 7:55am

Yes it is possible. I suffer from hypermobility syndrome, which in short means my tendons and ligiments in my body are not strong enough to hold my skeleton together. As a result, the joints dislocate, the bones rub together and cause excrutisting pain. I have been on every opiod from viccodin to oxycontin and morphine. None of these drugs have any effect on the pain for very long. It will work for a couple days and then I become tolerant of the meds and reach a max dose in a matter of days. Opiod resistance also affect the ability for other meds to work as well like tranqs and hypnotics that are found in sleep aids. The doctor put me on a max dose of ambien and within 2 days I was tolerant to it to the point where it did not have any affect on me what so ever. You are not alone in this.

kat4552, Community Member
10/28/14 4:12pm

It's peope's  DNA and until there were test to prove what will work for people,  doctors just said you were opiate intolerant.  Vicodin, oxycodine, oxycontin, effexor and cymbalta do not work with my DNA.  Fentanyl will but it will make Fibromyalgia worse.   Get a DNA test to see what will work for you.  If you don't have Fibromyalgia, see if your doctor will let you try fentanyl patches while you wait for the results from the test.  Could take a month. 

Beside the











sequoiarose1979, Community Member
1/16/11 11:13pm


sequoiarose1979, Community Member
1/16/11 11:48pm

sorry about that, was not done typing and had to create an account. 


I feel like I finally found other people like me.  After 12 years of chronic pain, I started to wonder if I had some type of resistance to the pain medications.  I have experiemented with it and gone months without anything and then gone back on them and there is still no difference.  When I take vicodin or norcos, I also get more energy and do not get drowsy like it says.  They do not help with my pain at all, but when I take one, it at least helps me not to care or think about my pain for about 1 hour.  I was in a fatal car accident 12 years ago, fatal because my close friend died in it..I died as well, but was brought back to life.  It is a miracle that I am alive and walking.  I shattered my left kneecap, broke and dislocated my right hip, broke both femurs, the one on the left leg was right above my kneecap that got shattered and it was broken worse than the femur on the right leg.  I broke a few other bones and ribs and had lost 2/3rds of my blood and had a lot of internal damage.  The surgeon did an experimental surgery on my knee to save it and pieced my kneecap back together with wires and put a hinge in it so I could move it.  I had a rod put in my other leg to stableize one leg so my muscles would not atrophe.  If he had not done this to my knee, they would have amputated that leg.  That leg is now almost 1 inch shorter than the other due to the bone just fusing when it healed and not growing bone back to replace what was lost in the femur part. 


I have had chronic pain ever since, and have developed Fibormyalgia.  My surgeon told me that Ibuprofin would take the pain away after they took me off of Vicodin.  I was weaned from morphine down to the 5/500 vicodin and then down to ibuprofin.  I still had pain, and even though I told him that I still had pain, especially everytime I bend my knee or pivot and move in a certain way with my hip, he still told me that I should not be having any pain at all.  I told him that I still do and that none of the pain meds were working, even the strong ones when I still had them.  He still disagreed with me and said I should not be having pain and if I am then something is I told him "well then something is wrong! because I AM still having pain."  Now here it is 12 years later and I am STILL having pain in my knee and hip and sometimes lower back.  I have been to several doctors over the years and they at first will prescribe me pain medication like vicodin, but then after a few months, they will either not see me anymore or try to tell me that ibuprofin will help.  I am getting so frustrated because I cannot get 1 doctor to listen to me and not assume or think that I am a "drug addict".  I don't get "high" off of any of these, and they do not take all my pain away, but they at least help me to have the energy for about an hour, sometimes 2 hours, to get things done like the dishes and housework and able to tolerate my daughter's constant talking and super hyper energy without getting irritated from being in pain and miserable. 


The doctor I am seeing now will only prescribe me Lyrica for the pain and thinks that because I need to take that, that I must also be depressed and need to take cymbalta too.  I get so tired of doctors thinking I am depressed, I am not "clinically" depressed like I learned in some of the psych classes I took.  That is when your brain has a chemical imbalance and actually needs the anti-depressant meds.  When I take any anti-depressants, they make me feel 10 times worse than I did to begin with.  I tried them to try to prove my point to the doctors.  All that did was make him confused and he still tries to get me to take them.  He said that he does not understand it because he usually gets people who are asking to take them and I am refusing to, and that most people with fibromyalgia are depressed and need to take them.  I tried to explain that I have situational depression, which means just that I am depressed with my current life situation, like living situation or something...NOT clinically depressed, and there is a major difference! 


Now I have to find a new doctor to try to get help and it is not easy when you are low income and on state/welfare medical insurance.  I cry sometimes because I am so tired of being in pain and tired of not being heard and acknowledged about my pain and situation.  All they think is that I am looking to score some drugs or something.  I would give ANYTHING to not have the pain and not feel this way.  I just want something to work and I know that my condition is one that there is no getting better, it will only continue to get worse over time.  The doctors can tell me that, but yet they cannot figure out why pain meds are not taking my pain away and try to tell me to only take ibuprofin when I hurt...why is that?  They tell me that they know I am in pain and that there is nothing they can do for me, but they will not give me pain medication anymore?  I do not understand the logic behind that.

Wind2fw, Community Member
9/21/14 11:22pm
Any luck with pain? Reply
Asaph_1, Community Member
3/15/11 12:06am

Good evening,


It appears that the answer is yes - a few interesting notes:

1) I had a hernia repair at Shouldice, and was completely unaffected by the anesthetics. The doctors screamed for local anesthetic when they realized I had 100% feeling (they were doing the incision into my stomach wall - one of my least pleasant memories is of the doctors looking down at me "Oh my god - you can feel that?!?!")

2) They had seen it before, and said it was a low percent (I've seen 3-7% bandied about online) of patients.

3) I've noticed that people asking / noting this immunity seem to often have the following:

 - Fatigue (I have "idiopathic hypersomnia", and take the maximum dose of the most powerful available stimulant - I barely stay awake)

 - Immunity to nicotine / caffeine addiction [physical]. No side-effects from withdrawal.

 - Very fast metabolism.


I'm interested to know the "why" and implications, as well as interested in why there is not any notable research on what seems to be a statistically significant (and medically relevant in terms of the mechanisms of addiction, pain, and hypersomnia) segment of the population.


tiffanylbell, Community Member
11/ 8/11 5:17pm

I am so glad I found this stream information as I believed I was the only one who was resistant to any painkillers.  I too woke up in the middle of surgery (during a rhynoplasty) right as they were hammering away on my septum.  My surgeon asked me if I was a drug addict (I was humiliated!!!)  I also awoke during an exploritory procedure and let me tell you ... that was not a pleasant time to wake up and feel. When I have any dental work done they have to jack me up with so much novacaine just so I only "kind of" feel it.  I have been given 150 mg demarol shots and been able to drive home with just a minimal amount of relief and my husband, who is about 10 inches and 100 lbs heavier than me, has been knocked out with 50 mg.  


I have been in some sort of pain throughout most of my adult life.  Initially it was migraines.  Later, after I had my apendix and part of my spleen removed, got a staph infection, I found I had crohns disease.  It took me years to manage that pain, but I did. 


About two years ago I hurt my back, which was quite unsettling but I rested it in hopes that it would repair itself.  However, last September I ruptured two of my discs ( and L4 and L5) and have never experienced so much pain in my life.  No painkillers were working and all my doctor was giving me was Oxycodone.  I can take four oxycodone and I feel like someone who took some aleeve for pain...minor relief and absolutely no "loopiness."  Long and short of it, the doctor thought I was abusing the medication and wouldn't believe me when I said it really didn't do anything.  He just suggested surgery.  As someone who contracts staph infections on a regular basis, I am a tad fearful of surgery.  Also, I have known too many people who have had back surgery and ended up worse off in the long run.  Surgery was not an option for me.


I was hoping someone would tell me that there is something else that works, some other wonder painkiller.  I guess we are all just screwed. 


PS.  I do have chronic fatique and I do not get physical addictions to anything (be it coffee, nicotine, medication, etc)

atom12, Community Member
8/28/12 12:44pm

From a 21 year Crohn's vet (I'm now 40).  Have a HIGH opioid tolerance, and 7 - 8 Ambien doesn't do much more for sleep than a strong cup of Chamomile Tea...

Try smoking pot.  Indica will help for your pain, while the sativa strains will keep you a little more alert, more sociable / uplifting.  Helps for naseaua, sleep, pain, appetite, and helps to basically "disconnect" from your fu$%^d up body for a little while.  I just swallowed 50 mgs of Ambien (2 before that, and two before that!).  I'm starting to get a little sleepy, but nothing like the posts above describe --- hallucinations, seeing tracers, etc.



kat4552, Community Member
10/28/14 8:24pm

Look at my other post here.  Co-enzyme A will help stop the fatigue and a DNA test will tell what drugs work on you and what won't.

Cecilia LeCara, Community Member
5/17/11 10:06pm

I don't think you've built up any tolerance to your meds in only 6 months.  You just have too much pain and the meds aren't helping.  You should get your doctor to refer you to a pain clinic.  You may be able to get some shots in your back that will help a lot.  A friend of mine has a back problem and gets great relief from the shots every few months along with pain med in cause of flare ups.  You may also want to try an acupuncturist.  I've been in chronic pain for the last 8 years due to 2 lung cancer surgeries and I've had some relief from acupunture.


I know how it feels to live in pain constantly and how it ruins the quality of your life.  But keep on searching for some help and keep praying.

mrsking, Community Member
9/ 9/11 9:09am

I as well get no relief from opiate medication. Some have no effect; percocet, darvocet, dilaudid, and others like vicodin and codiene do not touch the pain and keep me awake for days. Muscle relaxants also do not work and neither does tylenol. I have had this issue for over 20 years. I was told by a doctor that I have no opiate sensors and my mother has this as well. I have had procedures done where I was technically "awake" because medications do not work only I don't remember because of the anesthesia. During surgery last week I was given toradol which is not an opiate and worked well but you can't be on it for longer than 5 days because there is a high risk of heart attack and stroke.

Hypermobility, Community Member
9/20/12 8:36pm
Some people have genetic issues which may influence response to opioids. Check out Forest Tennant MD for more info. Reply
Dee, Community Member
1/21/12 8:49pm
I am trying to get a diagnosis for underlying cause of sacroillitis - or rather rule out autoimmune involvement. My doc does not believe me when I report that tramadol does not take away my pain AT ALL, but only makes me sleepy. So, I don't take it since "in pain and sleepy "does not make me more functional then "in pain and not sleepy. " I too have autoimmune issues, so I wonder if that could be something all of us narco non-helpees have? Is it something about autoimmunity that makes us more likely to be resistent to pain meds? Reply
Holdingonforsolong, Community Member
5/22/12 10:45am


   I have the same condition but I wasn't always this way. Apparently I've been cursed with a tolerance that time will not heal. I couldn't get relief enough to function further than the front door of the house. Vicodin quit working all together and tolerance to percocet got so bad I got accused of everything in the book. Ms contin? junk to me took it back to the doctor. Oxycontin worked for a short term then quit working well enough. Doctors and pain specialists just will NOT keep escalating my dose day I quit it ALL because I was sick of the treatment I got everywhere  I went. I mean it isn't like I don't have a history to support this nightmare I live! Well quitting will tell anybody just how effective what they're taking is because when I quit despite my terrible tolerance and great difficulty holding my job as a mechanic I could not work at all. I spent more than a year without any opiates and THAT WAS the closest to death I have been in my life to date. I couldn't get out of bed without help, my muscles took a huge hit I nearly died I'm telling you. I had to go admit total defeat and ask again. For me the best relief I'd experienced was Methadone so thats what they gave me but only half the amount that I'd taken to function and barely get by at work, so i'm screwed, still at home but MUCH better than the bed I lived in while my children watched me nearly lose the will to live,,stupid and so sad. I have alot of resent for the University of Washington Pain Clinic AND the Group Health Pain Clinic as well. I've been dealing with this now for nearly 10 years and so sick of it. YES NOW I AM so depressed but i wasn't before. I have NO FAITH that I will ever get help that I could ever work again. But who wants to when you munch pills like crackers anyway? I hate that life so bad. I hope all you people get real help that is medically supported I pray you all will. I have had people  look me right in the eye and say,,"you shouldn't be in much pain" and these were high up mucky mucks! One would think reading my MRI's back then would explain it all. I've done everything possible and offered to me multiple times WHAT MORE can I do. AND just to think that this pain relief in the future is going to become even harder to recieve help. Sure hope to GOD MY SSD comes through or I will promise I will not. God Bless You ALL may the good Lord find in your favor all that is healthy and helps you function in your world.

I hate pain, Community Member
6/ 9/12 9:44pm

I have 3 herniated discs in the neck, one in the back since '92. Refused all surgery. Was a cop, had to retire out because of it. Now 49, still on 4 oxycodone 30mg a day w/ 2-5mg methadone for breakthrough in between regiments. Still no real relief.  Now at least 70-80% out of pain trying what I'm doing now I'll explain later.  I Want to have some pain as strange as that sounds as I work on cars out of home, body work or mechanical & dont want to be 'pain free' so I know where my limits are. Up until 8 mos ago, was on 4-40mg oxycontin and no breakthrough. Saw another doc because I started doubling on my own for relief, pass on the breakthrough. Want to try either doubling my 4-30mg oxycodone or get 4-80mg oxycontin to get my relief. Told him I take the 7-8, 30mg oxycodone for pain relief a day vs. the prescribed 4 per day. Then after the 2 weeks are up 2 weeks before I should run out, I take the methadone so I dont go into withdrawel. Then have a week or little more of hell with no meds. So he said plain ole opiates you build resistance too, but I never really have. The oxys I had taken for the last 12 yrs, the 5 before that was 4 percocets a day & the 3 before that in the beginning was 4 lortab or 4 vicodin. So now he told me to continue the 7-8 oxycodones a day till I'm out next friday/saturday, then he'll up to what I asked for as well as what he started me on, piroxicam 20mg& baclofen 10mg. He added those as my old doc gave generic kolonopin for stress/muscle spasms but the new doc said thats more for anxiety & said these new 2 will give relief to the muscle soreness. That muscle soreness is literally from neck to lower calfs, feel like I've been beaten up everyday so Im wondering if that is some other chronic illness going on. I'm one to believe if I dont know, it doesnt bother me type but I'm literally sick of being in total body pain. The 'buzz' in the beginning was nice too but thats old and unlike others I know that take the meds & are lethargic & down & out, the oxycontin/oxycodone work like speed on me. I can actually cut the lawn, work around the house, tackle any automotive & feel great. Certainly not lazy on them! One doc back in my home state of CT said "when it comes to pain or addiction, I choose addiction". So do I, as I HATE pain, so if addictions only side effect is taking the meds, who cares, they are serving their purpose. I drink lots of water to keep liver & kidneys flushed. I much would rather treat my pain with addicting opiates that have been around over hundreds of years than to try these 'new' meds that after 2-3 years, the pharmaceutical companies made $5 billion, then getting sued on TV commercials & settling for $1 billion, because of death or heart valve probs or what ever. They market them as safe but know the real side effects & until people start dropping, made 5-10 times their intended profit margin before they are sued for 1/10th of it. I much prefer narcotics. There is much less side effects to them.

Harrison, Community Member
7/30/12 7:56pm



I was overloaded with narcotic medication for many years for lower back pain from an assault from a patient.  Now it is spinal arthritis.  And quess what?  Narcotic medication no longer works.  I am not an addict but an individual who lives in agony with no hope of it getting better.  I have tried everything.  My question is can you recover your response to opiates?  My doctor says subutex will help with this.  I cannot find any literature that reports it as such.  Can anyone help with this.  Are their any medications that can help with this high tolerance issue.  So glad I looked on this site.   It has been almost i4 years just hanging on to life, and for what.  I cannot work and will retire on 1000 a month due to not being able to work.  I have avoided looking on pain sites due to it making things even more hopeless, but maybe their might be some solice here.

kat4552, Community Member
10/28/14 8:14pm

You might look at my other post.  I don't want to type it out for every reply, but make your doctor give you a DNA test that will tell you what meds will work and which ones don't.  Pain is going to make your muscles tense up and a muscle relaxer might help.  Work with your doctor to find out what is causing the pain, before you even try to treat it.  You don't need meds for something you don't have.  Lower back pain can be caused by low magnesium.  Low magnesium only causes lower back pain no where else.  I had so many things causing pain that low magnesium was just one of many.  A lot of doctors try to figure what is causing your pain but are thinking of only one thing so when they hear all of your symptoms they can't figure it out as if people in chronic pain can't have more than one thing causing their pain.   If doctors give magnesium drips anymore, try one.  If you get a magnesium supplement get Malic Acid.    Read one of my post here about Co-enzyme A.  taking this has made my fatigue go away.  The pain is still there but no more fatigue.  You are depressed from the pain.  Play music that you like all the time.  Open the drapes and let the sunshine in,  watch comedies.  Why haven't I heard anyone except me mention Radiofrequency abalations, spinal cord stimulators or intrathecal pumps.  Everybody still looking for help look into these great things.  To find the best pain management doctors look for the head of the Pain Management department in a hospital system and go see him/her or get a referral if they don't take new patients or don't install stimulators or pumps.  You will get a referral to one of the best doctors in your city that way.    If  your live in San Antonio, Texas go see Dr. Donald Bacon.  

Gwen, Community Member
11/12/13 10:35am

Just for the record, I, too experience NO relief from any type of opiate or

opioid.  I have bulging discs and bone spurs. I had a bilateral sacroiliac joint fusion. I have had sciatica.  I have had nerve blocks, facet joint injections, and epidural injections.


I have tried Opana, Nucynta, Vicodin, Percocet, Fentanyl, Dilaudid and Norco to no avail.  In fact, such medications make my pain WORSE!


I, as well, find that any type of muscle relaxant increases my tension.


I have read where there are many people who receive no benefit from these types of medications.


You are not alone in your misery! Currently, I live with excruciating pain, pain which doubled or even tripled after I had my bilateral sacroiliac joint fusion in May 2013.


I wish I could recommend some type of medication for those of you who are living with pain.  Sadly, I can't.


Here is wishing that you all find a way to relieve your pain through natural methods such as walking, Tai Chi, accupuncture, etc.

kat4552, Community Member
10/28/14 2:00pm

One thing I wanted to add is even if you have pain from other sources you can also suffer with Fibromyalgia.  I have so many genetic, physical reasons for my back pain, but I also have fibomyalgia.  One thing my current pain management doctor told me was that some of the opiates that I had been taking such as the oxys, can make fibro much worse.  That is why I thought to mention it to you since you said they make your pain worse.  Fibro is such a terrible aching pain and I'm sure many people have it and just don't know it.   It has been proven to exist, but there are narrow minded doctors out there that refuse to believe it.  Go to link below and read that they have found the cause of Fibro.

Also I have seen in many post that people have received facet blocks and they don't work.   They possibly will  work if you suffer from facet joint pain or  sacroiliac joint pain.  However the facet block is also used as a diagnostic tool to see if a RadioFrequency Abalation (neurotomy)  will work.   The procedure calls for the doctor to burn (NOT SEVER) the nerves in the facet.  Once one of  mine was so successful that the pain relief lasted for 18 months.  It is well worth it.   Don't expect all RF to work 18 months.  Sometimes it was just 6 months, but the relief was worth it.   If you are given a facet block and it works for a day or two,  DON"T tell the doctor it didn't work, it did,  maybe not the way the doctor was planning for it to work,  but it tells him to push forward with the Radio Frequency.   It  may not have worked for some types of pain but it did work to show the doctor that a RF is the way to go.    Some doctors were actually upset that I knew so much from my previous doctors in other cities.  One doctor actually offered facet blocks, but he didn't do RadioFrequencies!!!

Go figure.







curious mind, Community Member
2/11/14 3:38pm

I too get absolutely nothing from opiates...but it doesnt end there...local anaesthetic take extremely high dosages..I was trying to google the connection betweens chemical resistance and other characteristics like lucid dreaming..emotional issues..I'm no expert in anything..but I wonder if high levels of stress growing up created some type of dopamine tolerance idk any experts want to give it a whirl...and respond! 

Iguanababe221, Community Member
4/17/14 12:32am

Some types of pain will respond better to opiates than others.  For nerve pain,  try lyrica, cymbalta, and neurontin. Opiates seem to be best for me on bone pain and secondarily,  muscle pain.  Nerve pain is actually a whole other animal.  Ask about lyrica at a high dose. 

kat4552, Community Member
10/28/14 7:48pm

I wouldn't touch lyrica but a med called lamictal is very good for people who suffer neuropathic pain.  The makers say you can use a smaller dose than my psychiatrist said,  and he was so angry with the company for setting the dose so low.  He said that unless the person is taking at least 200mg it really won't help.    He was right.  While I was steadly increasing my dose, nothing happened until I reached 200mg and then it was like the light turned on.   I am on 400mg and have been for many years, at least 12 years or more.  Also capsaicin cream helps to stop neuropathic pain but you have to work your way up on that too or  you might just take your skin off.  ;)   My doctor said that lamictal was far superior to neurontin (gabapentin) and it sure was,  for both my dad and me.   However I still say to get a DNA test to show what meds work for you and which ones do not.   Vicodin, Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Effexor, Cymbalta do not work for me.  Get that DNA test and you won't end up like me and taking meds for years that were not helping me.  The high amount of the oxys were just making me brain dead and I thought that,  well effexor must be working, I just have too much deep of depression. 


Wind2fw, Community Member
9/21/14 11:20pm
Hi, have the same issues with pain/pain meds. And I have a friend that has the same and he mentioned to me that the answer he got was that people like "us" have an extra liver enzyme that effects certain chemical reactions with pain meds. My advice is..... Possibly Ultram ER aka extended release tramadol( that was just told is now a controlled substance) and what I am going to try is going off everything. My reasoning is that I would rather fight just one battle with pain than several with depression and with drawl. Anyone know of any support groups? Reply
kat4552, Community Member
10/28/14 1:24pm

I see that this is a very old question, but for those that are reading this, the answer for this man probably lies in a DNA test that can determine what medications work on him.   I to suffer with terrible chronic pain, for about 15 years now.   This test was probably not available when this question was asked but some months ago I did get a new Pain Management doctor who decided to do a DNA test to see what drugs worked on me.   The Oxycodone, Oxycontin,  and Effexor that I was taking did not work on me.  Neither did the Vicodin.  Vicodine helped stop some of my pain but it was the   acetaminophen not the opiate that was helping.  That is probably why the amounts of these (oxys) medications I was given was so high.  It did not stop my pain until the dose was so high that it basically made me brain dead.   In that condition I felt no pain, but I was a zombie and didn't even know it.  My sons were the one's telling me this.   When it came to my anti-depressants the Effexor that did not work on me,  It  was changed to Cymbalta and that was no better.   The DNA test said that neither  Effexor nor Cyymbalta would work for me and they didn't.     The only SNRI that was shown to work on me was Savella but that drug was not good for me because it would give me bad reactions with other meds I needed, as well as Savella was not prescribed for depression.  It is prescribed for Fibromyalgia, that I do have but I didn't want to chance having  a drug interaction.  I found that a drug called Lamictal (200mg or greater) worked great on my for my depression.   Anyway when it came to the pain meds the only drugs that were shown to work were considered emergency room drugs except for Fentanyl patches.   My doctor doesn't want to prescribe that drug &  that hacks me off.  Why would they have pain meds if doctors don't want to prescribe them.   Then the law gets down on patients that search for doctor that will prscribe it.   For those of you in states that have access to medical MJ or just plain MJ give that a try.  I would if Texas was an enlightened state, but they never have been so why should they bother trying to change.   So for now I really have no pain drugs but the doctor has given me steriod shots down my spine and they help quite a bit.  However you cannot have those shots very often.  Have a DNA test before you wind up taking drugs that do absolutly nothing for you.   One last thing.  If you are reading this because you suffer pain.  Then you suffer from fatigue.  They go together.  You can't have one without the other.  However there is a way to stop the fatigue.  All  the doctor's I have told,  just blow it off and it makes me angry that they don't even mention it to their patients.   No one should know more than a person suffering from fatigue what works and what doesn't.  The supplement you can take to stop fatigue is called  Co-enzyme A.  It's made by a company called Co-enzyme A technologies, of course.  When you suffer pain, the body breaks the ATP  (energy) molecule apart so you have fatigue, but if you take Co-enzyme A it rebuilds the ATP molecule and you no longer suffer fatigue.  You still have pain, you just no longer suffer with fatigue.   I always tell people because there are so many people that don't read directions or can't see them and don't take the Co-enzyme A on an empty stomach.  As soon as you wake up, take the Co-enzyme A and do not eat or drink anything,  except some water, for at least 1/2 hour.   Have it by your bed and the water as well so you will take it right away even if you do not get out of bed right away.  It says take 2 a day, but I take one a day and I'm fine with that.  Maybe take two for the first week then drop down to one a day and see if that works for you.  Just remember EMPTY STOMACH!  It's important.    Sure hope this helps someone. 


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By Tommy59, Community Member— Last Modified: 10/28/14, First Published: 08/02/08