Tentative painkiller question - Tramadol

One of the guys at my club suggested approach the GP for Tramadol to kill sacroiliac back pain as the existing meds not cutting it. (Celebrex & Paracetomol).

I don't want it long term, just to get through a couple of century rides and Outlaw.

Any thoughts (obviously consult GP etc). Just wondered if it's a silly idea? 


  • mr fmr f ✭✭✭
    I suffer with nasty back spasms every once on a while often brought on by something really daft (last time pushing a drawing pin into the ceiling!). The pain is awful ans for this I have prescribed diazepam to relax the muscles and voltatol for the pain relief. I would say your GP would know what's best, but each time my back goes, which is usually about every 18mths one hour long session with a chiropractor bending be about usually sorts it!
  • I work in a pharmacy tramadol can be addictive, also they can make you feel very drowsy and nauseous, along with many other side effects they can have, having said that they are a good pain killer. At the hospital I work when they are prescribed to a patient we only dispense the minimum amount because of the addictive nature of them. Doesn't really answer your question, but hope it helps.
  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭

    Dusty - I wouldn't use tramadol for back pain when riding - it's more likely to send you to sleep which could be a bit dodgy!!  it's fine when you're static but it's not intended to help with exercise pain

    I also suffer some chronic lower back pain on the bike - the result of years of rugby - and I've found the best solutions for this when riding is 

    • do more riding! your back gets used to it
    • use either ibuprofen or diclofenac (Voltarol).  these take about 20 mins to kick in but reduces the pain.  I usually use 2 x 200mg of brufen


  • Another no for Tramadol here...although I'm slightly biased as I'm allergic to all opiates (take it and I die) but a big yes to diazepam. Also suffer with muscle spasms in my lower back - thankfully and touch wood they have been less since I started running and the more I do, the less it hurts. 

    Definitely speak to your GP though...everyone I know that has taken tramadol has been violently sick after taking it not to mention very drowsy too.

  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭

    strange thing is that tramadol did bugger all for me for pain relief when I was prescribed it a few years ago following some operations.  I find diclofenac a much better pain killer, followed closely by co-codamol (codeine & paracetamol).

    best of the lot is pure morphine but they don't hand that out a lot - I was given some many years ago following a bone operation - made me high as a kite but an hour later I was violently sick

  • Cheers guys, sounds nasty stuff. Can you get co-codamol over the counter? (Celebrex covers off the brufen & doclofenac NSAID side)

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    @Dustboy - you can get co-codamol over the counter but you get the stronger stuff prescribed by the doctor only (go figure). I'd be careful of combining co-codamol and NSAIDS. I've had some side effects from using them both together.

  • Co-codamol is available as 8/500 over the counter or 30/500 from the GP
  • >> ✭✭✭

    celebrex is an odd choice of pain killer. there are safety concerns regarding COX-2 selective inhibitors as they are known to increased cardiovascular and stroke risk. it certainly is something i have never prescirbed.


    if you want a good anti-inflammatory take volterol / diclofenac. i do not think you should be using either tramadol or codeine as if you are in this much pain to need stronger anaglesia you probably have something serious going on. you should really get reviewed by a physiotherapist.

  • I hate Tramadol with a passion!

    The Doc gave me a large prescription for it when I had chickenpox recently. Seems I must be hyper-sensitive to it: it was giving me auditory and visual hallucinations! In between feeling utterly dreadful, it gave me two periods of complete euphoria where I was high as a kite. Nightmarish stuff, for me.

    This is not supposed to be a common reaction to the drug. A search of online forums will suggest that neither is it completely uncommon.

    Knocked it on the head after a day.
  • As above. I had it given me after a shoulder operation. Sent me nuts!
  • Another one who threw up on Tramadol. image I would go for a codeine/para mix - plus it will keep any runners trots at bay.

  • Oh yes! It made me blow chunks too.
  • I was given tramadol by my GP for lower back pain (lumber/sacroiliac) and took only a few....instant sleeping pill! (well, almost instant, within 20 mins easy!) I had been taking coedine (30mg) and it hadn't been doing enough for me, I had been taking co-codamol, initially 8/500 and then 15/500 prior to that. I had been worried about being addicted to the coedine and had hoped for a diagnosis rather then some more pills but.....pill happy Doc doesn't do diagnosis.


    I doubt I will take any more Tramadol, it did help me to sleep which was fantastic but it also knocked me out the next day and this meant everything felt very slow and difficult.


    If its any help, I also have to take an NSAID called Mefenamic Acid. Its a heavier version of ibuprofen and I've no doubt there are other versions out there, when I had to take it once I'm a day or two in its built up enough to work properly and does help with reducing the pain. Sadly the pain comes back when I stop taking the pills. They can't be taken every day because they would start to not work as well as I'd get used to them. The pain I am supposed to take them for is too unbearable to risk taking them every day! Could help you with times it flares up though?

  • tricialitttricialitt ✭✭✭

    If you have pain of sufficient severity that you need tramadol, don't do it! It's a horrible, addictive drug, and it messes with your mind. (it also produces spectacular vomiting in me, but that's my problem- not that uncommon a response). Also, you'd fail a drug teat if you're in any serious competition.

    NSAID's- whichever, doesn't matter which- voltarol is one of the best.

    Heat/ cold pads, ? TENS machine.

    Sports physio is better source of advice than GP for this, I suspect. (I'm a doctor- GP's aren't trained to deal with this sort of thing unless they have a specific interest)

  • I was prescribed Tramadol when I ruptered a disc in my back last year.  In my experience it is a very effective painkiller - nothing else gave me enough pain relief to be able to sleep, but I was in a constant mental fog, drowsy and it made me constipated.  It is also addictive and I could not imagine actually doing any strenuous activitity while taking it!

  • Voltarol is not an option with IBS, it's not good/kind on the stomach
  • mowzermowzer ✭✭✭

    I know of someone who was given Tramadol after an operation - suffered awful hallucinations and refused any more. Also our old dog was prescribed Tramadol and he was mentally and physically all over the place so was quickly switched to something else. I can't imagine anyone being able to do anything while on this drug, which I think should be heading for the banned list.

    Have you tried acupuncture -  much gentler and effective.

  • Wow, lot's of info here. Thanks all. Seems the "T" word is unwise. Celebrex was prescribed as I get IBS so brufen etc not so good on the stomach. Only use it occasionally.

    Currently under investigation with fizzio, sorted some gait issues with orthotics but he says "evidence of significant trauma" in the area. Trouble is, I have no idea or memory of it. He thinks we can get to the bottom of it, but not before Outlaw, and delaying/going back again may not be an option.


  • Did you try any of the topical painkiling creams like Voltarol DB? Not useful for when on the bike but great for post ride...



  • And no harm in trying some of the Flexible Warrior yoga either. It's yoga designed for triathletes. There is (or used to be) a free version on Youtube...


  • Haven't tried creams but avoided the usual NSAIDs in general cos GP said so coz of IBS. But that was yonks ago.

    I actually beleive the damage was done in a chiro session some years ago. I am told it is highly unlikely, but drop 9 or 10 stone on a twisted back that makes it go bang can't be that good for it. And I remember feeling it in that exact spot at the time, albeit as an incredible internal itch then. Hey Ho.

    I just need to get from about 60 miles bike distance to the run. If I can make that, I reckon it's do-able. 

    Wonder if any of the local creams would work? Never been a fan of "ointments" but doubt IBS is an issue if used externally?

  • Co-codamol of any amount - even the baby strength 8/500 -  gets me high as a kite then after a couple of hours I literally go like a zombie and pass out. Oddly enough, plain old codeine doesn't have the same effect on me.

    Worth trying different things and seeing which suits you best. My mum takes loads of tramadol for a chronic condition and it's never made her vomity or nauseous.

  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭

    Dusty - you can get Voltarol gel over the chemists counter and it works more effectively than Brufen gel but I don't think it's going to give you a hit that you're after - it's best for surface pains (a bang on the knee/nasty bruise kind of thing) - you need a painkiller that's going to deliver a higher dose by bloodstream to the painful area

  • FB hits the nail on the head there! Reckon I'll consult GP and see if anything like that fits the bill with other meds taken. Only need it once but would like to try out first and last long bike this weekend so a bit tight. Otherwise it's just HTFU and get off and push the damn thing if I have to. Cheers all.

  • One of our ladies that has been in pharmacy for over 40 years said a pharmacist once said about the brufen gels "might as well run goose fat in for all the use they are" not sure how long ago that was, could be it was a while ago and the gels have improved now
  • tramadol works wonders for my lower back as its weak. my remedy is 2 tramadol 200m and 2 ibruprofen 400m best to take them 1-2 hrs before sleep. warning try the tramadol on their own first see how you are.


  • wow! When I took tramadol I was on 50mg, prescribed 3x per day max. I took half. I fell asleep within the hour and felt groggy the rest of the next day. Yes I slept and with reduced pain but the groggy ickly slooow feeling which contaminated the rest of the next day was just too much. I eventually took the other half and then tried a single pill hoping my body would have gotten used to the groggy feeling and that it would wear off. It didn't. I stopped taking the pills and went back to coedine. (30mg if its any help). But can't take it in more then 3 day bursts because it stops working and I become dependant on it.


    I'd agree with the ibuprofen gel thing, my GP told me the same. I'd say the same thing with the voterol gel as well, both come in a pill form which would work better I think. Maybe the gels are good if you have an inflammation of the skin? As they are medicines which are designed to reduce inflammation but where it comes to deep muscular pain.


     I'd actually be worried if it were possible for the stuff to seep through your skin, if that were possible it would also surely be possible to absorb car petrol in a road, absorb fat and calories when walking past Mc Donalds/KFC and absorb who knows what when you jump into the sea for a quick swim when on holiday.



  • Hog-mouseHog-mouse ✭✭✭

    Jenn - many substances do 'seep through your skin' as you put it. Petrol probably does as well. Skin is permeable.

    Topical medications are often those applied directly to the skin. Think about nicotine parches, birth control patches, steroid patches. There are plenty of medications that are absorbed by the body through topical administration.

    As for fat - why do you think lard was applied to the skin? Of course you can absorb things through your skin.

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