I originally found this message board last week, while trying to find information about the use of muscle relaxers following surgery. I found so much useful information, that I forgot what I was searching for originally. But, the though has returned, so I'm going to post it now:
I had a Posterior Lumbar Fusion at L5-S1 on April 29. I still feel the need for the pain meds occassionally, but I am down to about 3 per day.
The one thing I don't really understand is, my Dr. prescribed Robaxin (a muscle relaxer) and indicated that I should continue to take it 3 times a day as a regimine. I haven't seen where anybody else is using muscle relaxers and I don't know how to tell if I "need" them. Doc says they are b/c I'm "young and strong"...but I don't really know what that means!
I'm 2 1/2 years post-op. I take Vicodin everyday and have a muscle relaxant to use PRN. I don't use it very often, as it makes me feel so exhausted. The first time I used it, I took one tablet at bedtime. I slept like a rock for 12 hours, then forced myself to get up and walked around the house feeling like a big wet noodle with floppy arms and legs for the next few hours. I use it during my worst flare-ups and try to hold off until late in the day. I also cut it in half so I take a smaller dose. It definitely helps! I'd use it all the time if it didn't have such a horrible side effect.
I'm not sure what your doctor meant by it being good to use because you're young and strong. Maybe that your muscles are toned enough that they're likely to tighten up and cause you more pain? Maybe you can, with your doctor's okay, try a few days without it and see what difference it makes.
Muscle relaxers are very common post (or pre) back/neck surgery. Sometimes you have muscle spasms you may not be aware of. For me, when I get back/neck pain I tend to tense up in response. Muscle relaxants also work, in general, to relieve pain. I find sometimes that's all I need and I can avoid other types of pain meds.