Severe Back Pain

A message board to discuss personal experiences of Lipitor and its effects.

Severe Back Pain

Postby xlt325 » Fri Mar 10, 2006 4:21 pm

My mother who has been on Lipitor for a number of years has just been hospitalized twice, to the doctor 8-10 times within a two week period and has been to the emergency room three times for severe back pain. All within a two week time period! After doing every test known to man, CT Scans, MRI, x-rays, bone scans, they were able to find absolutely nothing wrong. Yet her pain is so bad at times that she requires injections of morphine as well as percocet by mouth! The doctors have finally come to the conclusion that she's experiencing muscle spasms/pain which could be caused by taking lipitor! I am hoping that by stopping this horrid medication she will begin to recover from this awful experience. How can such a drug continue to be prescribed to people when side effects such as this occur? I am shocked to read all of the posts here about this drug. Does anyone know if the muscle pain ever goes away once the person stops taking lipitor?

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Postby Cindy54NC » Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:42 pm sorry to hear about your mom! At least they've now admitted it's the med and she'll be taken off it. Be aware tho, that many docs will simply prescribe another brand....and most people have the same reaction to all statins. Some may elicit milder symptoms, but they always seem to react.

From what I have read the muscle pain usually subsides fairly quickly. Is your mom taking CoQ10? That is very important, especially if she wasn't taking it while she was on the statin. CoQ10 production is blocked by statins, and it's essential for good muscle health. She probably also should take some muscle-friendly supplements like magnesium, potassium, etc (check levels if she's on other meds, especially BP meds!!!).'s latest newsletter has the answer to a question about muscle pain following statins, that might be of some help. (About 1/2way down page: CoQ10 Long Term After Statins?

I'm glad to hear your mom's going to be getting better. Quality of life is important....and is often seems more important to us than it is to the docs!

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Postby xlt325 » Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:50 am

After I posted this message, my mother went back to her primary doctor. Her primary doctor said he seriously doubted that the lipitor had anything to do with her pain - YET he was unable to give her a valid reason for it! The doctor she saw in the hospital (you see a "team" of doctors at UNC Chapel Hill while hospitalized) said he was "cautiously optimistic" that the lipitor was the culprit. How floored we were to go to her primary and hear him say the opposite!!! I can't believe these doctors don't communicate with one another. Anyway, she's been off the lipitor for close to three weeks now and still has back pain. Although it isn't constant, it's still daily dispite the fentenyl patch she wears and percocet she takes! Some days the pain isn't too bad and some days it is. She has developed other issues since this. Those issues are: loss of appetite, weight loss (25lbs. in 4 weeks) and some stomach issues (cramping/nausea). Some or all of these could be caused by the pain meds. They did an endoscopy the other day and nothing was found there. She also saw a neurologist who said her problem was not neurological. Long story short - she isn't any better off now than she was a month ago dispite all of these doctors! Could it still be the lipitor? Who knows? although she has not begun taking it again. I also asked her doctor about CoQ10 and he immediately dismissed the idea simply because he said her problem was NOT lipitor related. Again - he hasn't been able to supply any concrete answers either so could it hurt by taking it? I did look for it and saw it came in several different strengths/mgs. and I wasn't sure what mg. she should start with. Her doctor didn't seem to want to help me in that aspect either! She has an appointment w/ a chiropractor/accupuncturist this afternoon. At this point, I think she would be willing to see a veterinarian if she though he could help her! I'm beginning to have my doubts about medical doctors and since they swear up and down that there is nothing wrong...well nothing as far as tumors, broken bones, fractures, cancer, etc. they also can't say what IS wrong. Thank you for your reply and I am grateful for any information you can provide. I noticed that you are an RN. Where in NC do you live?

Chapel Hill, NC
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Postby Cindy54NC » Mon Mar 27, 2006 1:53 pm

Kim. I'm not at all surprised at the primary care doc! My own doc lieterally laughed when I listed the side effects I had from the Lipitor.

I've recently also read several posts on msg boards where the docs are telling patients to not take CoQ10. Im not sure what their rationale me taking it certainly can't hurt and may help a lot!

Many people say that their symptoms don't go away as soon as they stop the reason why so many docs insist they're not the cause. My main side effect was nausea, which went away with a few days. My memory is slower to recover. And my muscles keep acting up....even after over 2yrs off meds.

I'm not too thrilled with the medical profession over the last few years....and I'm a RN. Currently I'm between docs. My last doc "fired" me partly because I woulnd't go back on a statin. The last doc I tried also wanted me on I'm still looking.

I'm in Durham.
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Reply for "Kim"

Postby sos_group_owner » Mon Mar 27, 2006 7:09 pm

Hi Kim,

As Cindy has mentioned, your Mom's doctor's response is the "norm"
today. Few doctors will go out on a limb and say that Lipitor ( or any
statin) is the cause of your misery.

This is Dr Graveline's recommendations as a "statin alternative"
to reduce/prevent inflammation.
The problem is "inflammation", NOT cholesterol.
Every cell in our body NEEDS cholesterol.

The following...
* are a potent anti-oxidant
* reduce platelet stickiness
* controls homocysteine
1) buffered aspirin - 81 mg
2) CoQ10 - 100 to 150 mg
3) folic acid - 400-800 mcg
B6 - 80-100mg
B12 - 200-250mcg
4) Omega 3 (fish oil or cod liver oil) [ There is no upper limit.]

These four items/categories have the same anti-inflammatory affect as
20 mg's of Lipitor, without side effects.

Source ~ Dr Graveline's article "Statin Alternative" ~

You might want to print some of Dr Graveline's articles and take them
to your Mom's doctor. Also ask her doc to check her:
* homocysteine
* hs-CRP - high sensitivity C-Reactive Protein
* Lp(a) - Lipoprotein (a)
All of these, when elevated, indicate "inflammation".

* optimal levels of homocysteine - 6.2 or less
* hs-CRP:
0 - 0.9 - Low Risk
1.0 - 3.0 - Moderate Risk
3.1 - 10.0 - High Risk (twice the risk as 'low risk')
* Lp (a)
less than 10 mg/dL are considered "acceptable"
11-24 mg/dL - "borderline high"
higher than 25 mg/dL - "very high."

Another suggestion... Our Chiropractor recommended a traditional
physician that also specializes in "naturopathic medicine. Maybe
your chiropractor could help you with a referral.

When doctors are so "closed minded", it's time to move on.

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Postby xlt325 » Tue Mar 28, 2006 10:30 am

Hello Cindy and Fran:

Thank you for your replies. My mom visited the chiropractor yesterday. She did some massage/vibration therapy as well as acupuncture! As she said, at this point, she'll try anything to relieve the pain. She's going again today. She woke up this morning feeling ok. She slept through the night w/o a sleeping pill OR percocet! I hope I'm not saying that too loudly! One thing I did want to mention. When I told the chiropractor about the lipitor issue the first thing she asked my mother was "are you taking CoQ10?" She also suggested taking a B-complex since my mother has literally no appetite whatsoever. I told her what the primary doc said and she too was not surprised. She suggested 100mg/day of the CoQ10 along w/ the B-complex. She started that today!

I want to thank both of you again for your replies. It certainly helps to hear from other people w/ similar difficulties and people who have more knowledge about this than I. As we all know, doctors aren't what they're cracked up to be!!!

Cindy - you are literally a neighbor! I am in Chapel Hill near Eastgate Mall. I've lived here almost 7 years. Prior to NC I lived in upstate NY. I will be in Chapel Hill for another 3 years until my son finishes high school then I'm gone. There are many other areas that are close by yet not nearly as expensive as Chapel Hill is. Besides that, my husband commutes to Raleigh everyday to work so being a little closer for him would be nice. Are you a native North Carolinian? or are you an implant like me?
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Postby Cindy54NC » Sat Apr 01, 2006 12:38 am

I worked at 1520 Franklin for almost 5yrs....until we moved to Cary (company sold).

I'm not a big fan of CH. I like Durham. I know it has a bad rep, but living up in northern Durham, in the county, is nice. Since the company moced to Cary I've considered relocating....but not sure if I want to stay at my job or go elsewhere.

I'm orignially from Massachusetts, south shore (south of Boston). This area looks a lot like where I lived, but the people are very different!

Any idea where you'll be going to? Stay in NC or move to another state?
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Postby xlt325 » Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:05 am

Hello Cindy:

I too am not a huge fan of Chapel Hill which is why I want to leave as soon as my son graduates high school. We will certainly stay in the triangle area but we can go anywhere within the triangle and pay less to live than Chapel Hill - although Cary is up there too. I like North Carolina, just not fond of the Chapel Hill taxes, people, etc. Do you miss the northeast? I certainly don't miss NJ or NY State ( I lived in both places). Too much snow, ice and just plain cold weather!
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Postby Cindy54NC » Sun Apr 02, 2006 9:20 pm

Don't miss MA, but am thrilled I'll be going up for a visit in June!

I lived in MA all my life....except for school within 10 miles of my childhood home. That area is now even more expensive to live! And the cold, snow, etc? Nope, don't miss that at all!
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