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    Burt Reynolds is in such agony from back problems that he's been undergoing risky spinal injections to ease his pain.

    BURT admitted he needed the risky pain blocker to get him through a performance.
    The 66-year-old actor revealed that he's had epidural anesthesia, a treatment often used in childbirth in which pain control drugs are injected directly into
    the space around the spinal cord.

    During his one-man show - "An Evening With Burt Reynolds" - in mid-November in Stuart, Fla., his discomfort was so apparent to the audience the actor finally admitted he needed the pain blocker to help him get through his performance.

    "Burt was obviously in pain," theater critic Hap Erstein told The ENQUIRER.

    "Several times he got up and walked around the stage, clearly trying to walk it off. And when he sat down again, he did so very gingerly.

    "It was obvious to everyone in the audience, and I think that's why he finally made an announcement about the epidural anesthetic. But he was able to make a joke about it - he got a big laugh when he said, 'Now I'm ready to have a baby.' "
    The treatments are not without risk. Epidurals have been successfully used for women in childbirth for many years, but experts warn they can cause infection or bleeding in the spine - or even numb muscles so much the patient can't move or walk.

    "It's a case of Burt's macho past catching up with him," a source told The ENQUIRER. "He was a college football star and later he loved doing his own movie stunts. Now it seems like the beating his body took is coming back to haunt him."

    This is not the actor's first battle with pain.

    In 1984, when he was filming "City Heat" with Clint Eastwood, he was hit over the head during a fight scene with a wrought-iron chair. The head and jaw injuries left him in so much agony that eventually he became addicted to the sleeping pill Halcion.

    "The pain was worse than a migraine," he said. "I would get out of bed and take five pills. Five or six hours later the pain was so bad I'd take five or six more."

    Eventually he was taking 50 Halcions a day - and when he tried to quit cold turkey, he fell into a coma during which he came close to death. He finally kicked the habit with the aid of his doctors.

    "Now Burt is living with pain again," said the source. "But he's incredibly brave - he just gets on with his life without complaining."

    Published on: December 2, 2002

    Central pain

    Hi Seneca, glad to see you talking about pain in sci since it is a lot more common than people think. Here is my question. If you had diabetes, no one would seriously try to force you to get off the meds because it would accelerate blindness, and lots of other bad things. Is there any reason why it is is a good think for Burt Reynolds to get "OFF Pain MEDs". I can't think of nay. It is the medication for his illness. What has he proved. The pain is still there. What is the big deal about taking pain meds if that is what is needed. I know the federal narcotics people have this knee jerk reflex that it is bad, but why are pain meds bad for pain. Especially after Ron Melzack's article in Scientific American showing those in severe pain do not become addicted to narcotics. Why have we stigmatized pain disease. Isn't that at the core of medicine? Are we buying into some medieval view of pain when we say it is bad to take them. it enables people to go on and live lives and what is wrong with that. There are too many feds trying to make pain relief a bugaboo, the boogeyman of medicine. Creating this paranoia keeps the fed fully employed but this is hardly a problem. It is easy to tell if someon is drunk but the symptoms of using pain meds are virtually indetectable to others. Read Andrew Vachss novel on Pain Management, a novel, which has some swearing but it shows how stupid, ignorant, and sadistic is the idea that we do pain people a favor by withholding pain meds. If someone will explain the logic of this nonsense tome, i would appreciate it as it sounds crazy. You have an infection, oh lets get you off antibiotics. You have a heart arrhythmia, lets get you off heart medicines, you have asthma, lets get you off asthma medicines, you have disabling pain, lets get you off pain meds. Was Reynolds a hero for stopping or was he gulled by docs afraid of losing their licenses for prescribing. who makes these decisions? bureaucrats? What do they know about pain?


      Hi dejerine, I think the push for people to reduce or eliminate their pain medication is fueled by the fear of addiction (which is problematic in people with acute pain especially) and/or concerns about the long term physical and psychological effects. Opiates, Oxycontin, Acetominophen, Neurontin etc., can damage the liver, CNS, cause GI discomfort, lethargy, hallucinations etc. Ideally, no one would need to take medicine for anything but unfortunately many conditions including chronic pain can only be controlled through long term chemical management. The goal when someone is in pain is to find the source and eliminate it, if that can't be done then non-drug alternatives like relaxation techniques, accupuncture, suppliments etc., are recommended. When all else fails, pain medication is prescribed which is the choice of last resort for most clinicians and patients. I agree that central pain is hell but I think that those who prefer not to take medication simply wish that better and safer alternatives existed.

      [This message was edited by seneca on Dec 22, 2002 at 03:17 PM.]

      [This message was edited by seneca on Dec 24, 2002 at 11:13 PM.]