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  • How long to stay on pain meds after PLIF???

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    Old 03-22-2008, 07:52 PM   #1
    laf761
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    How long to stay on pain meds after PLIF???

    Just curious.......???????? How long do people generally stay on pain meds for one level spinal (posterior) fusions...Mine's at L3-L4....This coming Tuesday will be 7 weeks post-op...Pain is bearable, most uncomfortable when sitting for more than 20 minutes...Taking Darvocet every 6 hours and 100 mg of Neurontin at bedtime....Of course my family is already telling me they think I'm addicted cause I sometimes set my alarm during the night to remind me.......My Dr. says it's ok to continue..Just curious what others have found??

    ALSO...........I have found that the 6 week mark was a real turning point, finally feeling a bit better every day...Taking my 20 minute walks every day and more outside of late, the weather here in Connecticut is getting better.

    Looking forward to a Spring I can finally enjoy and maybe even swim this summer...Last Summer I couldn't swim at all, the sciatica pain was unbearable prior to surgery....The pain is better now, but I do have residual pain in my butt where the sciatica was before...My surgeon found my L4 nerve to be VERY compromised.....so the residual pain is to be expected..I just pray it's temporary...

    Anxious to hear other's feedback..

    Thanks all and Happy Easter........

    LAF

     
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    Old 03-22-2008, 08:53 PM   #2
    mznell
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    Re: How long to stay on pain meds after PLIF???

    Hi Laf ~

    I can't quite remember week by week but I felt lots better at 6 weeks also. Shortly after that I think I picked up my activity a little too much. I was taking oxycodone on a regular basis and vicodin for break through pain plus lyrica. I have continued the lyrica, and dropped both the other pain meds...

    I know at 8 weeks I was off pain meds and was able to get along OK. But I found when I felt better, I started running errands, which meant getting in and out of the car, lifting groceries, etc. and I started getting sore again. Then I started doing more exercises and that made me sore....then I fell on the ice so I started taking a pain pill here and there.

    My doc doesn't care whether I take them or not, or so I assume as every time I see him he asks if I need anything.

    My 88-year old MIL had PLIF at L3-4 and has never taken anything more than tylenol...so I guess everyone is different! She also had surgery sooner than I did. I waited 3 years before I'd even consider it...and that was 3 years of my nerve root being squished.

    I think you just need to do what feels right for you. I didn't plan on stopping pain meds the first time. I just realized I wasn't taking them on schedule any longer, and that meant my body wasn't reminding me I needed them. Then one day I realized I'd forgotten th night dosage...so I decided I didn't need it...and that's how I weaned myself off.

     
    Old 03-22-2008, 09:03 PM   #3
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    Re: How long to stay on pain meds after PLIF???

    THanks MM.....you' re always there with a great answer and terrific feedback..

    The only movement I'm doing that I really worry about is....once I put my butt into the car and my feet are still on the ground outside, as I turn to postion myself in the seat (even when it's way back) ..my car is quite low to the ground... I feel like I'm pulling my knees into me TOO much and straining a bit bit as I try to get into the seat...It's that pulling the knee into me that hurts and I worry I'm ripping my fusion apart.........My good sense tells me that it's probably really only the soft tissue that is feeling a bit sore, and I'm sure if I was really doing something wrong I would know it.

    It's the same movement I feel strain when I try to put my socks on...I have one leg crossed over the opposite knee to put my socks on and that doesn't feel great either..as I pull my foot closer to me to put the sock on...Do you know the positon I'm referring to.....Is that ok to?

    Anyway thansk for being there.....have a great Easter.........Nighty nite.......

     
    Old 03-23-2008, 08:06 AM   #4
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    Re: How long to stay on pain meds after PLIF???

    Laf,
    nice to hear that you are doing much better and you even can walk 20 minutes at the time (for me it's a lot).
    I am 3 month after my second fusion (i have total 4 levels fused) lami/decompression, plates, rods, etc.
    My first surgery failed (8 month post-op) and I leaved since in a lot of pain, a lot of limitations. I had my second surgery and I leave in a lot of pain, I would even say more pain now than i had before my second surgery.
    In fact, my meds are getting stronger and stronger: now I am on Fentanyl pathc (25) as LA meds, and as BT - 20/650 Percocet. I still in a lot of pain even with all this meds and thank God I have an excellent PM Dr who changes them for me as needed, adjusts doses.
    My point is: everybody is different, everybody's case is different. Having only one level fused makes a big difference in recovery and higher sucsess rate. More levels done - more problems occures.
    Althogh some people on this board had one level only and long time later they are still not doing well.
    You go by what your body tells you and of course your DR.
    If you are well enough to go out and about - good for you.
    Taking meds is not something has to be done by schedule, this is not antibiotics. You take them not by alarm clock, but only by your own body clock: it will tell you when you really need it. If you are taking what you taking right now and it works for you - you are doing really good.

    Keep up with a good work, and best wishes to you and your family!

     
    Old 03-23-2008, 09:43 AM   #5
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    Re: How long to stay on pain meds after PLIF???

    I don't feel there is any set answer to this. Just like who is to judge everyones pain levels. What may be a Level 6 of pain for me may be a 4 or 8 for you. You are the only one who can answer this question. If you feel YOU can get off the meds by all means go for it. However, it is very possible that you might need meds every so often due to a flare or a change in the weather.


    Good luck.

     
    Old 03-23-2008, 09:51 AM   #6
    mznell
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    Cool Re: How long to stay on pain meds after PLIF???

    Hey LAF ~

    HAPPY EASTER!

    Hey, I was just wondering where your family got their medical degrees?? I think your surgeon knows best when it comes to pain meds and whether you're going to become addicted.

    I read on the Addiction board and I know people do become addicted every day to drugs like oxycontin and such...but I can't figure out how they do it. Now that prescriptions are computerized, it is a lot more difficult for someone to go to multiple doctors to get multiple prescriptions...and all the drug stores are now hooked together so they can tell if someone is abusing the system. Plus, if I take two of my oxycodine pills I go into a drugged stupor where I sleep and sleep. I can't imagine taking 4 or 5 at a time.

    So just listen to your doc and tell your family to look somewhere else to create controversy.

     
    Old 03-23-2008, 10:22 AM   #7
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    Re: How long to stay on pain meds after PLIF???

    Thank you all...........MM you are funny......I do have a sister that thinks she knows MORE than the doctors.....

    I think you are all correct..........you do what feels right....taking one day at a time....tryng to space it out 6-7 hrs now....

    Again I hope you are all enjoying your Easter..so nice to see the sun shining here......

    Enjoy.........all the best.

    LAF

     
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