Discussions that mention morphine

Back Problems board

I had spinal fusion at L5/S1 18 days ago. A previous microdiscectomy (two years earlier and laminectomy at L3/4) removed detached string herniation 3/8 inch wide and about 3/4 inch long. Doctors said there was sufficient disc left. Two years later with sciatica pain (right leg), big toe numbness (right leg) and little toe numbness (left leg), another MRI revealed almost bone-on-bone at L5/S1. Spinal fusion was done (two titanium rods, plus interbody autograft), plus foraeminotomies on both sides was done to relieve pressure on the nerve roots. Immediate relief of 50% of sciatica pain resolved, but still have numbness and right leg sciatica (thigh, buttock). Also have pain at night when sleeping in lower calves, sometimes both sides, sometimes right, then next night left. Do not believe I have DVT as no swelling, no pain to the touch, no pain when walking, etc. Have been doing much walking, ankle pumps, etc., to insure against DVT. However, at night the calves ache and you can't have anything touch them, like a sheet or blanket. Any "pressure" causes uncomfortable pain. When I arise in the morning, no pain as I walk around or when I do my exercise walk. Since I am miserable at night, I take a pill or two of hydrocodone for relief. I am thinking that the hydrocodone may be inhibiting the valvular structures in the lower leg and they -- like the peristaltic action of the colon -- are deactivated because of the morphine. Correct assumption, or not? I'm going to stop taking the pain killer and take some extra-strength tylenol, but tylenol does NOTHING for my pain to be honest. And with the autograft "in process," I cannot take any anti-inflamatory meds (Advil, Celebrex, etc.), but they do have me taking a baby aspirin daily to prevent thrombus formation.

In that I am only 18 days post surgery, maybe I am expecting too much. The incision pain is essentially gone. I believe the remnant sciatica and numbness will eventually resolve as the "abused nerve roots" heal over time. A colleague with the same procedure and symptoms said that at a year post-surgery, his sciatica pain had pretty much completely resolved, and at a year and a half, the numbness in both feet was gone. I am hoping and praying that I will have the same resolution, as I understand that nerves (and nerve roots) heal very, very slowly. I am getting some weird tingling, cramping, and other phenomenon in my feet. I interpret that as some "transmission" occurring. I continue to hope for the best.

Any commentary would be much appreciated.