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Mom coming off her pain meds-help!!

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Old 10-25-2009, 09:59 AM   #1
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moosette HB User
Red face Mom coming off her pain meds-help!!

My mother had back surgery (anterior cervical discectomy) 10 days ago and now we are trying to get her off of oxycontin, slowly. She is having a terrible time. We (my Dad and I) are trying to reduce the oxycotin by 10mg every 5 days. She is at 160mg a day right now. Now, she is having tingling and burning pain in both arms. Is that from the oxycotin withdrawl or from the back surgery?

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Old 10-25-2009, 04:36 PM   #2
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Re: Mom coming off her pain meds-help!!

Ten days post-op from back surgery is not long at all. Recovery can take months. I would not do this without the assistance of a doctor given the dose of Oxycotin your mom is on. This is very high. She may need an alternative medication, or if you believe she was previously hooked on it, then Suboxone may be the route to go. If the issue truly is pain and not abuse of this drug, I would put this post on the Pain-management board or on the Back pain board for additional help with regard to what to expect post-op and how others have managed this pain.

Old 10-25-2009, 08:06 PM   #3
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Re: Mom coming off her pain meds-help!!

Anterior Cervical Discectomy is nothing to laugh at from a pain standpoint - I know, I've been there and pain management is a significant issue. If she was not previously using/abusing the oxy (although if she had the surgery, I suspect pain med use/abuse has been going on for a while), then 10 days out from surgery may be a bit soon to be worried about addiction and subsequent weaning off of pain meds. But from my experiences of being a recovering addict who abused pain meds for years after getting started on prescription meds to alleviate pain from a ruptured disc/fracture vertebrae at C3/C4, I suspect you are asking the question because your mom has been using the meds for a considerable period of time and has become tolerant and dependent upon the Oxy and with this scenario, I would recommend the following:

Considering talking to a pain management person - the recovery from an anterior discectomy is significant so you want to try and determine where your mom's pain should be and whether or not the pain is getting better - unfortunately, surgery is not always effective at relieving the pain. Perhaps you can discuss alternative pain management strategies such as the use of fentanyl patch to manage pain with oxy or something to manage breakthrough pain. Controlling pain is a significant portion of the healing process, so at this time, it should be a priority. A warning though - if you are convinced that your mom is abusing the meds, do not give her access to the fentanyl patches - abuse of fentanyl is deadly.

Considering whether the oxy is making the pain worse - One of the most insidious consequences of overuse of pain medications is that they can actually make the pain worse and you end up increasing your dose to try and manage the pain and the pain only gets worse. Try cutting back on the oxy to see if the pain becomes more manageable.

Controlling her dose - It sounds to me like you or your dad are at least monitoring if not controlling her access to medication. If you are not controlling the access, consider taking steps to control her access to meds - believe it or not if you can control access to meds, she might willingly cut down on her meds and you can slowly wean her off while still managing her pain.

Finally, keep in mind that there is a period of healing associated with cervical surgery that is not always to understand, the rehab can be brutal and the success of the surgery is not always immediately apparent - often the pain will get worse before it gets better, sometimes the pain doesn't get better so managing pain is critical to the recovery process, but if not properly managed, the use of pain medication can easily lead down the slippery slope to addiction, but if your mom is using the pain meds as prescribed, then I would think that your doc has things well managed, if on the other hand, the use is above the prescribed dosage, or you find your mom is running out of her meds before the prescription is due for a refill, then you need to have a conversation with your mom and her doctors to discuss a plan. So often we as addicts don't consider ourselves addicts because we are taking medicine prescribed by a doc and surely they know what they are doing, but at the end of the day, we are the only ones who know why we are taking the meds and quite often, by the time we realize we have a problem, we are too embarrassed to ask for help.

Good luck to your family and remind your mom that surgery is just half the battle, now she has to do the hard work of physical therapy to strengthen the muscles so her pain will subside.

Old 10-25-2009, 10:36 PM   #4
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Re: Mom coming off her pain meds-help!!

Ten days is not a long time to adequately recover from back surgery. There is a long healing process involved. The pain / tingling that she is receiving is probably not from the meds, but from the surgery itself. You should consult with the doctor before decreasing her meds.

Old 10-26-2009, 08:41 AM   #5
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Re: Mom coming off her pain meds-help!!

you have gotten some great advice from the people here. but knowing her actual situation as far as the meds would really help tons right now in just giving you the best possible advice. it DOES take quite a few weeks before you, in most cases, can even consider really reducing any post op pain meds with this type of a surgical procedure(i have had two seperate c spine surgeies too). just give that part some time, K? there is no real need to rush this since she IS in pain and healing from a surgery too.

just what were her actual symptoms BEFORE this surgery? is what she is experiencing now even close to what was occuring pre op or is this new? after ten days, any real inflammation should be down enough that any tingling and the burning pain really should NOT be there anymore or if this is new, it definitely needs to be reported to her surgeon. try keeping track of her ongoing pain and ANY other symptoms like if this goes completely numb or things just get worse and not better. its easier to remeber to tell the surgeon all of the needed info if it is written down in like a notebook or something. i had to do this too with all my six surgeries. it does help to really see the symptoms too down on paper.

was she having bilateral involvement(both arms) involved BEFORE this surgery? just how bad was her c spine and was ANY area actually impacting her spinal cord? if you could just answer the questions it would really help us to help you. just kind of back off the pain meds for now and allow her what she really NEEDS for proper healing. too much pain that is not being well managed WILL slow healing as well.

are they ONLY trying to use oxycontin without anything else like percocet for the more in depth pain flare ups? using only long acting meds to try and manage what is sometimes more acute post surgical type pain, really does not always work really well. and that i KNOW from my own experience. marcia
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

Old 10-26-2009, 10:42 AM   #6
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moosette HB User
Re: Mom coming off her pain meds-help!!

Thank you SO much for the advice! It really helped her to know that she is not alone!

Old 10-26-2009, 10:54 AM   #7
Join Date: Oct 2009
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moosette HB User
Re: Mom coming off her pain meds-help!!

Is there a way I can print these replies for my Mom to read? She doesn't like the computer format.

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anterior cervical discectomy, oxycotin withdrawl

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