Discussions that mention tylenol

Back Problems board

Hi Erin, and welcome to the board! You're in good company here!

First off, no one's going to cyberyell at you for going off the pain meds. Encourage you to take them, yes, but you have to do what's best for you. Some people don't tolerate them well and are okay with just Tylenol. For most of us, much more than that is needed, and some have had to argue respectfully with their doctors to get the proper meds to cover their pain. If you can do without them, that's great! But don't try to be a hero. No one's going to give you a medal for not taking the meds. If you're in pain, you're going to have a harder time healing. And once the pain increases, it's harder to get back under control. Personally, I think it's wise to take the full dose allowed for the first couple of weeks, even setting the alarm so you don't miss a dose in the middle of the night. After a few weeks, you can slowly taper it as tolerated.

The brace is generally supposed to be worn whenever you're up except in the shower or trips to the bathroom if you're getting right back into bed. Most of us have had sitting limitations in the beginning. I was told not to sit for more than 15 minutes at a time for the first about 6 weeks. I really couldn't sit for even that long, so it wasn't a problem to follow that instruction. I was glad to have the "official" limitation, though, so my family wouldn't expect me to sit through dinner with them or think I was faking the need to lay down.

Walking is essential for bone growth after fusion surgery. It gets the blood circulating around the spine. Walk as much as you can tolerate, but no more. My "rule" for myself was that every time I got up to use the bathroom, I stayed up and walked for as long as I could. In the beginning, it was only 10 minutes. I gradually added a few minutes at a time. I had to use a walker for the first 6 weeks for my own safety due to fainting spells, so I just about wore out the carpet in my bedroom, going back and forth a million times. I would put on the TV so I wouldn't think about pain or boredom and just walk, walk, walk.

You do need to rest so you can heal and get your strength back. Don't try to be up 24/7, dear! This is the time to join a movies-by-mail club. I spent most of the first two months lying down, then was about half and half during the day for the next month. Even at 6 months, I was still needing to stop and lay down everyday for a few hours. My problem and the extent of my fusion is different from anyone else here, so it may not be the same for you, but you do need to rest and not rush your recovery. (Not that my problem is worse, just different.) You WILL overdo it. We all eventually do, and then we pay for it. Try to take it easy, though, and don't feel guilty for it! This is a huge surgery with a long recovery time!

As far as the nerve pain, is this pain you had from hip to mid thigh the same as before surgery? Nerves do become irritated during this surgery and can take a very long time to calm down. Mine wasn't too bad, but some people have been given meds that specifically target nerve pain. If it continues, you might want to talk to your doctor about that.

Do you have a grabber tool? If not, it would be a great investment, since you're not supposed to bend, twist, or lift more than 5 (for most of us) pounds. Anything you drop has to stay on the floor until someone else comes along to pick it up unless you have a grabber. I also put a satiny bottom sheet on my bed so I could slide to turn. It was much less painful. There's a thread at the top called "post surgery tips" that has lots of other suggestions to make your recovery easier.

If you have other questions, you've come to the right place. We'll try to help you as best we can from our own experiences.

Hang in there! It gets easier!

:wave: Emily
Hi Erin,

Welcome to the board. It sounds like you are doing well, especially considering how much surgery you had.

Emily pretty well covered your questions. I just have a couple comments to add. You will find that your progress will probably not be linear. You will continue to get better, and then there will be little set-backs along the way. In many ways, it is like "baby steps"... two steps forward and a half step back. This is very discouraging, but it seems to happen to just about everyone.

Regarding pain medications ~ my 87 year-old-MIL had one level fused in February. She took the meds they gave her on the first day, but after that refused them. When things got really painful, she would take a tylenol here and there!! I had the same surgery about 3 weeks prior to hers and just couldn't believe that she didn't need medications for pain!! So everyone is different.

Some doctors no longer use braces, but if yours is a believer, you should wear it all the time except when you are lying down. You should wear it while sitting because sitting posture is one of the biggest contributers to back issues. Very few of us maintain good posture when seated.

You should walk often and as much as you can -- but don't go crazy on us in this regard. :eek: You can overdo it and cause more harm than good. Remember that you need tons of patience to be a spiney. Remember that it took you a period of time to get to the point where you had to have surgery. You must not get impatient and try to rush the healing process. It simply does not work. :(

You need to get into the right frame of mind and allow yourself to rest as much as you can...rest and walk...rest and walk.

Feel free to ask any and all questions. There are a number of very helpful, experienced people on this particular board that are always willing to share their experiences.

xx M:cool:M