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tricylics/amitriptyline for pain?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,000
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Pain Medications
I was wondering if anybody has any experience with taking low doses of tricyclic medications such as amitriptyline(elavil) or other anti-depressant medicines for chronic pain relief.
I have been dealing with pain for almost a year now. I have spondylolisthesis at L5-S1. I have had two steroid epidurals, physical therapy and chiropractic manipulations and nothing has worked. My lower back is in constant pain and it just seems to be getting worse. And now for the past two months I've been experiencing head, neck and shoulder pain, which I assume is due to my holding myself differently bc of my back. I feel so uncomfortable everywhere and the pain is spreading. Worried

I just don't know what to do and I've been researching anti-depressants. I am going to see the pain management doctor the end of the week and want to suggest him putting me on something like this.



  • hello - this was discussed a few days ago, actually - take a look at this link:

    hope this helps!
    Jan 2009 L5-S1 ALIF
    May 2017 ALIF L4-L5 with PLF rods added L4-L5-S1
  • I would certainly ask the Dr. for elavil and something stronger for pain. I take only 20 mg elavil and it helps sleep also. I'm on ms contin for the pain and lyrica for sciatica. Keep us posted if you get some relief. Take care.
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
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  • Hiya Bonnie >:D<
    Welcome to Spine Health :) I am under Pain Management they are so nice and helpful :) , i found that they are better than the orthopedic surgeon. I have the same problems as you and i am getting worse each day :( . The Pain Management team put me on a drug programme @) , i have to see them every 3 months :? . The (GP) sees me every 4 weeks to review the medication :) . I take citolpram and amitriptyline these were prescribed to relax my spine which i have to take at night I) . They help me sleep some times I) , but every morning when i wake up my back is in a spasm :''( .PM me anytime. :H

    Angie x >:D<
  • and they made me into a ZOMBIE. I could not function at all. The first time I took it I couldnt get out of bed until noon, which by the way is unacceptable....I have two young children. And I was taking half of a half a dose.

    When the tried a different version it was the same thing, I just couldnt function. I was one of those people that would just sit there and stare at nothing and if I allowed it - drool would be coming out of my mouth.

    Yes, we are all different and my experience will/can be totally different than anyone else.
    I have heard that it can help with nerve pain though too.

    Good luck, let us know how you feel on it.

  • Thank you everybody for all your input, it is greatly appreciated and very helpful!!!!! I will definitely post what is recommended by my doctor on Friday. I'm willing to try almost anything to avoid surgery!

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  • I tried both amitryptaline and citalopram and both knocked me out for the next day. They are really just old school antidepressants so tend to wipe you out even if you only take them at night and at the lowest dose (as I did). Maybe they are better for men who have a heavier body mass.

  • Hello Bonnie,just asked about these for chronic pain, is this what you need amitriptiline for ,, i would prefer just getting a pain pill for my breakthrough pain, pin clinic wants to try everything else first. more i move the more i hurt, 2 wks now for this breakthrough...good luck and let us know what happens..... jpm
  • I went to the pain management doctor yesterday and inquired about tricyclics and he said it helps more with face pain and not for what I have. He gave me 30mg sample of cymbalta for a week and then to take 60mg for a week. If I like it he gave me a prescription for more. I am alittle nervous about it, I started it last night, but I know these are hard meds to come off of.

    I used to take effexor for anxiety and depression for about 5 years. I quit them over a year ago. My back pain started a few months after quitting (I never had an accident of injury that would cause the pain im currently in, which is what makes this whole situation so frustrating since I didn't do anything to cause the pain) Maybe I had the slip in my vertebrae for a long time but know I put all my stress and anxiety in my back. I was so proud of myself coming off of effexor, which was really tough, and I am sad to be going back on stuff like it. But if it helps with the pain I'm willing to do it.

    The doc also gave me ultram since tramadol has been the only pain med that doesn't make me sick, but the it hasn't been effective for my pain. so hopefully the ultram is stronger.

    Sorry for rambling so much! thanx to anybody reading.

    I hope we all get relief!!!!

  • I wish you luck in getting some pain relief as well!

    What is the difference between Ultram and Tramadol? I thought the former was the generic for the latter?
    Jan 2009 L5-S1 ALIF
    May 2017 ALIF L4-L5 with PLF rods added L4-L5-S1
  • Hey Melissa,

    Ultram is an extended release formula of tramadol. He gave me 100mg samples but a prescription for 200mg. He told me one a day and it's supposed to last 24 hours.

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