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NSAIDS and fusions VERY BAD

ToYoungforThisTToYoungforThis Posts: 150
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
There are so many people on here with spinal fusions. I am wondering how many people have taken any type of NSIADS Ibuprofen,Advil, Aleve, naproxin, with in the 1st year of having a spinal fusion.

I have a few failed fusions and am so so shocked to learn that NSAIDS stunt the bone growth associated with fusions. WHY in the world would my 1st spine surgeon prescribe this for me after every surgery I waited only 6 weeks untill I started taking them again.

Has anyone had the same experience. Either haveing a dr. prescribe them or having a failed fusion and had taken NSAIDS within the 1st year or before a solid fusion.

Proud to say I finally have my 1st soiled fusion in the lumbar.


  • Opinions vary on this subject. After having a failed fusion the first time around, there is no way that I will take any NSAIDS until I know that I am solid. However, my surgeon said it is okay to take them. No way am I going to take a chance on it though. First surgeon said no, 2nd surgeon says yes. Sure wish they would all agree, cause I sure get confused!

    Additionally, they say that any caffeine (including coffee, tea, soda pop) is bad for bone fusion, as well as smoking.

    It is good to hear that you are now solidly fused. Congrats.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • My physician told me verbally not to take any aleve or advil...i was eating them like candy. He said for at least 6 months. He sent me literature 2 weeks before surgery. It said none for 1yr after fusion.

    Im sorry your physician did that to you...not sure what his thinking was...

    Good Luck!
  • Yes, I took Naprosin prior to my 1 year anniversary. It wasn't prescribed until my 4th month. I was in such a bad way with inflammation at the time. It really helped and didn't seem to halt the fusion process. My fusion was confirmed at 9 1/2 months by CT Scan, well most of it was solid (see my signature if you wish to read about my journey).

  • Yes I had my surgeon go off on me at my 6 week check up. I had stopped taking percoset at 3 1/2 weeks and just needed something at night to help me sleep so took 2-3 advil at night. I told dr and he said absolutely no advil, it prevents fusion it said right on your discharge papers don't take it. Well stupid me I was on 5 other drugs when I left the hospital, I just thought don't take it with all the others. I won't take it now.
  • There is no hard and fast evidence that categorically shows that NSAIDS will affect bone fusion and certainly several studies that show that it might. So, many doctors wont allow patients to take the risk and say NO NSAIDs.

    My surgeon believes the risk is low, and that the benefits of NSAID anti inflammatory pain killers in the first few weeks after a fusion out weighs the risk. He had me on COX 2 NSAIDs for the first few weeks and this helped considerably with post surgery pain. For the record my bone fused very well - to the point where I was able to have my hardware removed after 7 months post-fusion, due to hardware failure.

    HOWEVER, take your doctors advice always. We here are not doctors.
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • I would also recommend that you don't drink soda. A new study recently released stated the phosphoric acid in sodas also inhibits bone growth. B)
  • I posted this on a similar thread a day or two ago so you wil find more info from others on that thread too.

    I was taking celebrex day 1 after a 3 level fusion as my O/S put me on it.
    I had previoulsy been taking Feldene but had to stop 2 weeks prior (to prevent bleeding during surgery).

    Unfortunately a lot of what we read and hear regarding the do and donts today we will read and hear about in 6 months with the opposite effect.

    Things change so quickly in medicine that it must be very hard for the Drs to keep up. I just feel very fortunate that my spinal surgeon also does a lot of research, leads several spinal boards and is young enough not to be overwhelmed with all the extra education.


  • I have been taking Diclophenac for my joint pain throught all my surgeries. This is a nsaid. Other than stopping it 2 weeks prior to surgery, it was never mentioned.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • hi,
    i took diclofenac - after my L4/5 fusion, i asked 3 different docs - they all said that the benefits far outweighed the risks. i took it for 4 months post op, hasn't affected my fusion/bone growth.
    you have to go with what your surgeon recommends - and they all differ somewhat.
    AJ x
  • I've noticied that several people have been given steroids when they have an increase in symptoms, etc. Are these not a problem like the NSAIDS are? They are the ultimate anti-inflammatories aren't they? Just a thought.
  • i was prescribed aspirin by my surgeon post op. it was prescribed to minimise risk of dvt as i had an anterior approach.

    i believe the argument surrounding nsaids is that you require a degree of inflammation to stimulate the healing post fusion (the surgeon scrapes the vertebral endplates to stimulate a fracture site, just like any other broken bone), and taking anti inflammatories may reduce this to a point that it retards healing. however, how much inflammation is too much where it does more damage than good? this i beleive is where doctors have different opinions and i also believe it also depends on the patients other risk factors (smoking, bmd, age, general health...) when they are weighing up cost-benefit. if anyone has read any other rationale i would love to learn about it???

    re soda
    diet soda in particular, they have phosphorus which if you do not take in adequate calcium/vit D can leach calcium from the bones, predisposing to osteopenia / osteoporosis. however, if you are not drinking it (diet soda) in excess, your diet has adequate calcium and vit D, your parathyroid hormone should be able to control this without affecting your bones.
  • OMG!

    This is a horror thread - all relative of course!

    I was told NO NSAIDS until fusion seen so I don't. I have had one failed union already.

    I do drink too much coffee but read it helps with pain - something to do with the release of chemicals and the brain

    I drink one litre of carbonated tonic (no gin!) every night. God, I hope I haven't upset my healing. I am having scan tomorrow to determin fusion state of second level.

    I wish the medics would consensus on their advice. I am a non smoker, BMI within normal limits and done everything that has been asked of me.
  • I asked my Dr about steroids as I too, thought the same in my worst days. I was getting desperate for something to ease the pain and have had steroids short term in the past so asked about it.
    The answer was a definite no for fusions as it could cause the rejection of the hardware.
    When I had a CT at 12 weeks the O/S could see the beginnings of the fusion and also some inflamation (which he said was a good sign). So as was mentioned, a certain amount of inflammatory response is necessary it seems but it is finding the fine line.
    I am taking anti- inlfams and still have inflamation and fusion.
    It really is a different choice from each Dr. Mine never mentioned soda (I'm assuming that is fizzy drinks)which I dont drink anyway or caffine which I DO drink a lot of.

    Sara :)))
  • Hi, read the label on your carbonated tonic. It may not contain any phosphoric acid. I have noticed that 7up, sprite, orange soda, and some others don't have it. Unfortunately all the colas and dr. pepper do have it. I was a diet pepsi addict, but gave it up a week before surgery because of reading about the calcium/phosphorous problem. I miss it dearly and my lovely motrin too :X Sue
  • Thanks Sara, sometimes I just think this pain down my left leg and hip is inflammation and could use a Medrol dose pack as I have read many being prescribed. NS said not to worry is normal, nerves need to heal. He said when he opened me up I was full of inflammatory tissue around my nerves where the L4 loose bone had been moving all around. I am just so afraid of scar tissue forming and it seems anti-inflammatories would help prevent it. I am also dying for something for my sinus headaches I keep getting. Nothing seems to work, tylenol or even my Norco 10 doesn't help. I am taking a decongestant, steroid nasal spray (was told not a problem cause it is not a systemic steroid), and zyrtec allergy pill. I used to use a Netti Pot to rinse out my sinuses, but since I can't bend over it is not possible now. I live in California's central valley and allergy and sinus problems are in abundance here. Maybe I need to move to the coast, that would be nice :X Sue

    What do you call soda in Aussie? Some other places in the US call it Pop.
  • No Dr. has ever told me to stay off Motrin. I have been on it since 1992. Through 5 surgerys on my neck of which 3 were failed fusions. My new Dr. took me off for 10 days before surgery. My L2-S1 fusion has not started to fuse yet and it has been 15 weeks. The only thing he said I could not have was any steriod shots in my shoulder. I have severe arthritis in many area in my body and Motrin is the only thing that helps. Now you all have scared me. I see the Dr. next week. Maybe the three failed neck fusions were related to Motrin use.
  • I just wanted to share my experiences I have had 3 failed fusions, and I did everything by the book, I didn't smoke, I don't drink soda of coffee, wore a fusion stimulator 24/7 for surgeries, and the braces. I am 30 and there is no reason I shouldn't of fused. Except I wastaking 800mg of ibuprofen 3 x a day ever day like clock work.

    thanks for all of your replys and the opinions help us with different point of views and stories

  • Just a thought if you are still not laying down any bone graph yet and are worried ask bout a bone fusion stimulator to speed up the process if you already don't have one.

  • That is what I am taking 800 mgx3 a day. I can not take strong pain med. I throw up my toes. Motrin is the only thing that works. I see the Dr. on the 5th. I started on Motrin in 1992, After the first neck fusion. Not only have the Dr. not told me to take it, they perscribe it. But if he says go off I will. With five levels to fuse I can not take any chances. I will also ask about a bone stimulator. I am 63 and often the Dr. uses the expression "at your
    c3-c5 ant.fusion failed
    c3-c5 ant.fusion with plate
    c5-c6 ant.fusion failed
    c5-c6 ant.fusion with plate failed
    c5-c7 post fusion with songer cable wrapped from c3-c7
    May 1,2008
    L2-S1 fusions with rods and 12 screws.
    cervical spondylosis, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis 3 levels, scoliosis caused by arthritis and congential narrowing of spinal cord
    meds-motrin,nurontin,flexiril prn
  • Please ask your Dr. for a bone fusion stumilator you do not want any chances. your surgeries sound alot like mine. But if you have multi level fusion and on NSAIDS there is a chance you won't fuse. Atleast you may have a little help to promote the healing process. Don't think he would have a reason to say no unless you are to far out of you fusion.

    Keep me posted I would like to know what he says.

    How do you feel since your surgery did it help or can you tell yet.

    I wish you luck in your healing process

  • I just was told NO to NSAIDS and No to Steroids......

    My hip has been giving me grief- just got to live with it.

  • Yes I think it has helped. The horrific pain in my R leg is gone. The R foot drop is also gone. I have a lot of nerve pain in the L leg that was fine before surgery. But it is better then it was. My balance is way off. My feet are not numb but I often can not feel where I placed them. Because the scoliosis had progressed very quickly, part of the fusion was to stop the curving. But he said at my age he could not straighten my spine, but would prevent it from getting worse. I seem to be standing even more crooked then I was. But the PT says it is due to the nerve problems in the L leg, it is not holding the hip in place. The Dr. said when I bring up these problems, it just takes time. But yes I would do it again.
  • We call Soda Soft drink. So any carbonated drink is a soft drink like lemonade, coke, fanta etc but drinks like ginger ale, tonic water we generally call mixers.

    With you Sinus headaches -I totally understand!!!! Have you ever tried aromatherapy?
    I use tea tree, eucalyptus and lavender (good brands not fragrances) and put 2 drops of each in a facial steamer. You dont need to put your whole head over it just close to it with maybe a light towel to insulate. Works really well. - Oh I am a qualified aromatherapist.
    Dont put essential oils directly on your body.

    I cant nderstand why the oxycontin, panadol and other meds do NOTHING for the sinus headaches.

    Blessings Sara
  • Thanks Angelback,

    I have had Eucalyptus oil administered to me by my massage therapist. She used to put it on her hands and have me inhale/exhale and then massage points over my sinuses. I have tried inhaling teapot steam, but not with any oil inside. For now I have started using a sinus wash (since I cant quite fenagle my netti-pot) with saline while in the shower. I do find it less comfortable than the pot, feels kinda like diving into a pool and getting water up your nose. Oddly when I use the wash (squeeze-bottle) some of the fluid gets stuck in my sinus cavity, sometimes for hours, and then it randomly decides to come out at not the most convenient times. I did mention this to my ENT doc last fall and he said it was not exactly normal, but he wasn't concerned about it. Another oddity, whenever I have a sinus headache, I get neck pain. (Or maybe it is the laying in bed with this computer in my lap that is giving me neck pain- just what I need, a cervical problem :( ).

    For my headache I bought some Excedrin Tension Headache. It has tylenol(acetaminophen) and caffeine. It has helped a little. I am taking only 1/2 norco about 3 times a day, so figure I am safe with a little extra tylenol. Regular Excedrin was always my favorite headache medicine besides IBU, but no can do with it having Aspirin in it. I think maybe I am having more headaches due to less caffeine as well, since I gave up my diet Pepsi pre-op. I am drinking more tea now and it has helped some as well. I do think this hot CA central valley is very bad for allergy, sinus, as well as asthma. It is like a bowl that all the pollutants get trapped inside. Fall is usually worse than summer because of the leaves and the nut harvest going on. Last fall is when my sinus issues became a major problem and I am not looking forward to a repeat.

    Okay, we use the word softdrink here as well as soda. Pop seems to be on the East Coast. Interesting. I used to work with several Kiwi nurses years back and they always had different words for things, like torch for flashlight, trolley for med cart, etc. It was fun.

    Well take care Angelback. I am hoping to get to the YMCA pool. They are having an inspection tomorrow to see if the new plaster job passes. I hope it does, I am desperate to get back into the water! Wish me luck, Sue

  • Cali-Sue you made me laugh so hard I nearly wet myself. I know what you mean about the sinus squeeze bottle. I used to use one but gave up after going to a job interview and while sitting there suddenly all the salty water flew out of my nose. =))
    Needless to say I didn't get the job.

    Australia is the allergy capitol and it si Wattle season now which is quite beautiful but dreadful for allergies and asthma. It is also very dry the last few years so that doesn't help either.

    After I closed the computer down last night I remembered another thing and that is OLBAS Oil. It caomes as an essential oil (mixture of various oils that are good for clearing sinuses but it also comes as an INHALER. I first used one when I flew to the UK as the altitude bothered me and have kept using it since. Good to keep one in the handbag.
    It is the sort of thing you would buy in a chemist/pharmacy.

    Words are funny aren't they.
    A friend of a friend was coming to Aussie and we were meeting at the beach. I said to her to bring her thongs (meaning for her feet) and she thought I was very rude and asking to see her underwear. (we call a very skimpy knickers a g-string and she called thongs flip-flops.)
    My UK friend and I went to the garden centre and she very proudly asked the salesman for ROOTING powder! I nearly dies of embarrassment but they all knew what they were talking about.

    Blessings Sara
  • I wasn't given any advice at all about what to take and what not to take, either pre or post surgery. In fact, I was sent home with a little bag full of goodies, including Diclofenac. I didn't take them as I had read on here that they weren't recommended.

    I have no idea whether or not I have fused because in this wonderful land in which I live, scans don't seem to be done post op. Although they did do an x ray the next morning just to make sure that they had done the right levels!! While I'm on a downer, I also had to ring up to get my post op appointment nearly 4 months after the op because they had forgotten about me :( sigh ........... just another NHS moan.

    Sorry, I've gone right off the subject, I'll just shuffle off into the corner moaning and groaning and talking to myself ....... :S
  • Angel back, I am afraid to ask what you thought "rooting" meant, so I won't ;) . Yeah it is funny to talk to different English speakers isn't it. That is hillarious about the thongs. Here thongs could mean either. I am going to have to start looking for some of those oils to try. I woke up with a headache again :( . I splurged finally and got a memory foam mattress topper and pillow and slept on it for the first time last night. Back feels great, head...not. Caffeine so far seems the best remedie. I had a mishap with the saline once at work, I bent over in a patients room and it came pouring out my nose. Luckily it was near the floor and not on the patient, thank God. I grabbed a paper towel and excused myself from the room, how embarassing! Have a great day, Sue
  • There are lots of mixed reviews about the use of NSAIDs. Orthos say NO while Neuros say YES. I have taken them following fusions and am pleased to say that I am fusing. I have stopped using them now as they are not helping and I don't see the point in continuing with them.

    I've asked both Neuro and Ortho Consultants about this and they differ in their opinions. As yet there is no research to prove NSAIDs effect fusion however, as a nurse specialist I have seen the effect of NSAIDs on bone fusion and am still with the opinion that they can effect fusion.

    Personally, I would say discuss this with your surgeon and if you trust them do as they tell you.

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