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  • Still on pain pills

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    Old 12-29-2007, 09:21 AM   #1
    ldunn522
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    Still on pain pills

    Hi,

    I had an ACDF on C5-6 Nov 21st (5 weeks post op) and seem to be recoverying ok except I still feel extremely tired most of the time (is that normal?) and still in pain. I have really tried to take it easy and do everything I was told since surgery. I was out of work for 2 1/2 weeks then back on part time for 2 weeks. I'll be back to work full time starting Monday but kind of scared because some days I'm really hurting and have to take pain pills everyday! I've taken small walks almost every day since surgery. I feel pain on the tops of my shoulders and in the back of my neck. I think maybe I've been twisting my head too much, maybe my collar is not tight enough?? My first x-ray to see if I've started to fuse is Jan 10th. Just wondering how long the pain and having to take the pain pills last and could I still be in pain because it hasn't started to fuse yet?:

    Lori

     
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    Old 12-29-2007, 10:46 AM   #2
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    Re: Still on pain pills

    Hi Lori,
    It isn't uncommon to experience pain after surgery. Could you describe the type of pain you are experiencing? Is it spasm like? Is the pain the same that you had prior to your surgery? Based on the location of your pain I would advise you to use a heating pad for more comfort. You might be having pain due to wearing the collar, it does put additional pressure on the shoulders and causes odd sleeping positions.

    Most people have tiredness after a surgery, your body is taking lots of energy to heal. The anesthesia will work it's way out of your body tissues and gradually you will improve. Your thyroid is another thing that might be making you tired. After anesthesia the thyroid can be sluggish for a while.

    Complete fusion can take up to a year, and you might continue to feel aches and pains during the healing process. Good luck.

    Last edited by PNo; 12-29-2007 at 11:46 AM.

     
    Old 12-29-2007, 11:49 AM   #3
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    Re: Still on pain pills

    You guys are not gonna believe this, I just stumbled on this very long article, it said that pedicle screws are quite a bit of metal and can act a bit like a barometer. Even years later patients can have mild discomfort with weather change.

    I have never seen this before - sure makes sense.

     
    Old 12-29-2007, 05:49 PM   #4
    BobM
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    Re: Still on pain pills

    Lori
    I'm sorry to hear you are still in pain, and needing the pain meds. I want to share my experience with you, in case it helps you in some way.

    I've had two ACDFs - the first (C4/5/6) had a lot of post-op pain. The incision itself was not really a problem, but my surgery restored the spacing between those vertebrae, and that put strain on the ligaments and tendons in my neck and upper back. That pain took several months to improve, but I didn't need pain meds past 3 or 4 weeks..

    My second ACDF (C4/5) a year after the first left me with significant pain that became chronic. I wanted to get back to work, so I continued to take the pain meds, for a lot of months after the surgery. This created a dependency, and it became hard to stop them after such a prolonged period. I am thankful I had the meds because they helped me get back to work, but I paid a price downstream when I finally stopped them.

    It might be time to have a frank discussion with your doctor about your pain, and alternative ways to manage it, to avoid an unnecessary dependency that you have to deal with at some point. It's not clear how much or how long it is 'safe' to take the pain meds without becoming dependent, but it is worth discussing with your doctor.

    Today I manage my pain without narcotic meds - I've learned to avoid activities that aggravate the pain, and to rest when needed before it gets too bad. My Drs still tell me I should take the pain meds, but I feel I'm better off with pain, than with the medication side effects.

    This is not to alarm you - you have every reason to expect a good recovery, with little or no pain. But needing pain meds a month post-op may be a sign that it's time to address the issue with your Dr
    Bob

     
    Old 12-30-2007, 07:15 AM   #5
    ldunn522
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    Re: Still on pain pills

    Most of my pain is felt on my left shoulder right above my shoulder blade and on the back of my neck (probably where the new bone was inserted). Sometimes I feel pain near and below my ears almost into my jaw. I also have pain in my upper arms and have spasms which are mostly in my shoulder blades.

     
    Old 01-02-2008, 12:04 AM   #6
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    Re: Still on pain pills

    I offer this opinion. We hear so much bad publicity about medication abuse or dependance, we don't hear the good stories about how lives have been improved by proper treatment. The majority of the population do not have a problem using pain medication properly. The body can become dependant, but that is a big difference from addiction. I agree it is very serious, but for some of us with DDD and spine issues, life can be so much better if we treat our condition properly. For some, even after surgeries, we will be left with a lifetime of some level of pain.

    There are some excellent articles and books. Especially from a well known expert Dr. Jennifer P. Schneider, M.D., Ph.D. . I highly recommend all my friends on the board to read "Rational Use of Opioid Analgesics in Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain." By Jennifer P. Schneider, M.D., Ph.D. Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine 23: 145-153, 2006

    Any type prescribed medication use should always be taken seriously. It's funny to me how I worried so much about taking pain meds, but it is just the same for me as taking my thyroid medicine which I am dependant on. If I stop it, I have withdrawal and get sick. After a good discussion with my pain doctor, I am no longer afraid of the pain pills, I treat them with respect and understand that they are part of my life, along with relaxation, meditation, rest, distraction, etc..

    This team of people on this board has been great sharing the various views and alternatives - I offer this as a view that pain medication, when used properly is a tool in our kit for managing our DDD condition and helping us live a fuller life.

     
    Old 02-24-2008, 08:36 AM   #7
    ldunn522
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    Re: Still on pain pills

    Thanks to all. I have found your advise very informative. I just had an appointment with my surgeon because I've been having major muscle spasm in my shoulder, upper arms and shoulder blades. I didn't realize what I was experiencing was muscle spasm as the muscle spasm I've had in my arms would pulsate. My doctor said they are caused from inflammation from surgery (11/21 ACDF C5-6). I'm having another MRI to make sure nothing has changed and I don't have to have another surgery. If so she's prescribing "injections" to take the swelling down and then celebrex to keep the inflammation in tact so I won't experience these painful spasms. In the meantime she prescribed Methylpredisolone for relief from the pain. This is a steriod. She's given me two prescriptions. Does anybody know what the side affects are with these steriods, also doe anyone have an idea of what the "injections" she mentioned might be?

     
    Old 02-25-2008, 09:40 AM   #8
    ldunn522
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    Re: Still on pain pills

    Hi,

    My doctor is recommending "injections" to reduce inflammation after my ACDF C5-6 in Nov that has created very painful muscle spasms. Does anyone know what kind of injections they would be?

    Last edited by ldunn522; 02-25-2008 at 09:43 AM. Reason: Copied wrong message

     
    Old 02-25-2008, 10:25 AM   #9
    greg1x
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    Smile Re: Still on pain pills

    See my response on your "injections" thread.
    Greg



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ldunn522 View Post
    Hi,

    My doctor is recommending "injections" to reduce inflammation after my ACDF C5-6 in Nov that has created very painful muscle spasms. Does anyone know what kind of injections they would be?

     
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