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Med Questions

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
On Sept 17th, I had disks removed from C5-C6 and C6-C7 and C5-C7 have been fused. This was a long time in coming. Prior to this, I've had physical therapy, accupuncture, chiropractor visits, and medication therapy.

The meds I'm taking are Oxycodone 5/325, 1-2 every four to six hours. I've been on this schedule for over seven months. Because of being on these so long, they are less effective at eliminating pain. I am also taking diazepam. This is prescribed at 5 mg doses, 2 per day. This also has become less effective at controlling both muscle spasms and anxiety.

Thought it's only been two weeks, I don't think this surgery has been successful. I'm still having pain. The only thing that relieves it is sitting still with ice on my neck. However, I do get up and move about. I live alone and am the only one that is gonna clean my house, do the cooking and the dishes, and get the laundry done.

Prior to surgery, I have been to physical therapy at least a dozen times, and have learned a whole arsenal of exercises to do to keep my muscles loose. I do these two or three times a day.

Also before surgery, I was swimming. It is too soon to get back in the water. Am waiting for the incision to heal. This swimming is the the best thing I have going for me. It releives tension. It replaces gravity with bouyancy. Just being in the water feels good! The exercise is invigorating, and afterward is when I feel my best.

Now I'm at odds. I want off these pain relievers. However, at the same time, I don't think the docs are giving me enough. I don't konw what to do! Neither doc is discussing discontinuation techniques. One doc says take more of the diaZepam, but I'm terribly afraid of this. I was addicted/dependent on Klonopin for 8 years, and getting off that was pure hell for NINE MONTHS!

So, what do I do here? I'm afraid to ask for more of the oxycodone because discontinuation will probably be terrible, but then again I don't think I'm geting enough. I can't be active more than 2 hours, and at 3 hours it is wearing off. I've tried a full 5 mg of the diazepam at a time, and indeed it works much better than taking 2.5 mg, but taking it and the oxycodone drain me of all my energy and all I wanna do is sleep. Then, when I wake, I'm in pain -- sometimes level 8 pain. But they're not offering more of the oyxcodone, and I've told them of my fear of both of these meds. So, what am I suppose to do? My doctors apparently are not talking to each other and most of the time, I'm so anxious I can't tell them what I need or what I want to do. I have even kept a log of when I take the meds and what results they give, but these docs don't even want to look at my records.

What should I be doing? This is making me crazy!
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Comments

  • Hi Lengo, welcome to the board!

    I'm a little alarmed that you're doing any stretching with your neck at all. I'd ask your surgeon before continuing any of the exercises that you've been doing. Just because you're not in a collar doesn't mean that you should have free range of motion. There are internal stitches in there as well as bone grafting that needs to begin healing and moving your neck so much is not going to allow that healing to take place. This is the reason you're not allowed to drive, because they don't want you to turn your head.

    Your surgeon should have given you an after care program. Mine clearly said no lifting anything over the weight of a half gallon of milk. No bending over. No reaching over my head. No laundry. No driving. No unnecessary movement of the neck. The only exercise I was allowed and actually required to do was walking. I think that if you follow the instructions that you may actually feel better. It sounds to me like you're simply doing too much.

    Call your surgeon's office and be honest with them about what you've been doing. They will probably tell you to stop and PLEASE listen to them. 2 weeks simply isn't long enough to know if your surgery is sucessful or not but you must follow their directions!

    I'm not trying to be mean, I just want to see you heal properly. Please call the doc and let us know what they say.

    Take care,

    Griff
  • your just fresh out of surgery and your going to have surgical pain. i was on pain meds for two months after surgery and then slowly weaned off. I also was not allowed to do any kind of stretches or exercises besides walking for two months after my surgery.That is the norm after surgery they don't want any kind of pressure on your neck while its healing.When i was on the pain meds. i was also worried that the pain hadn't subsided but as i came off of them the pain got less and less.They seem to distort the amount of pain that your actually in sometimes.If you have trouble talking to your doctors then maybe you should take a friend with you to your apt. to help you get your opinions across to them. Stop your exercising and good luck at your next apt.
  • The Neuro gave me a sheet showing 6 different exercises to do. I limit myself to these. These are shoulder cruches, isometrics, shoulder rolls, nods, and another that escapes me right now. The other exercises I have learned are on hold.

    Ive been instructed to not lift anything weighing more than a cup of coffee. Yeah right. Who is to take out my trash? A carton of milk weighs more than this. I do these things ith extreme care and so far, haven't injured myself.

    I'm allowed (and encouraged) to walk. I am out 45 minutes to 1 hour at a time. I try to do this daily, but can't always. When I can't, I use a device that was given to me in the hospital. Essentially, it is an oxygenator. This is helppful. I use it twice a day.

    The biggest problem is keeping myself entertained. Sitting in the recliner puts me in front of the TV, and frankly, I hate TV. The shows are insulting. The commercials are insulting to my intelligence. The campaign ads are sometimes vicious and rarely informative -- they appeal to 'voters', not educated people. The best I have for entertainment is my computer, but just two hours causes me pain and I gotta go back to the recliner. I want more pain meds to tolerate this, and this is the only reason I want more pain medication.

    The beiggest dilemna is that I don't want to be strung out on either of these meds, but then again, I want more of the pain med. So, I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. The purpose of the surgery is to improve my quality of life, right? Well, that is not the case -- at least not yet. I rfear that I'll have to continue these even after healing from the surgery.

    I see in posts here that some people are taking up to 80 mg of the percocet at a time. Maybe I should ask my doc for 15 mg at a time, but so far, all I've done is fight taking more of this stuff. It will be embarrassing to ask for more, but I'm going nuts just sitting in front of that stupid TV! I'm thinking I should ask for perc without the acetaminophen, and take the acetaminophen separately. I dunno that my doc will be willing to do that and it is is MOST embarrassing to ask, but I'm really going nuts in front of the TV, It just doesn't cut it at all!
  • You really need to give this recovery some more time. I still felt crappy at 2 weeks. Your healing. Your muscles and nerves are trying to get back to the norm.
    I had a collar and was able to remove it for periods of time at my 4 wk checkup. Then I was sent to PT 3xs a week.
    I did a huge amount of walking and icing.
    I was on meds every 4 hrs no matter what the pain level.
    It may help you mabye trying to find a pain managment dr???
    Not sure if you ever have had one.
    The maxium daily allowance for 10mg percocets is 6.
    I am on 5 mg now and the allowable is 12 so it all the same.
    What you are reading is probably people on oxycontin which is just straight oxy without the tylenol in it. It starts out at 10mg strengths. I know in my area you can only get those types of scripts from a pain managment dr. All states work differently.
    Yes it does get very frustrating when there is nothing to do. I probably do not get frustrated anymore because Iv been through so much. Yeah do I want to scream my head off? Do I cry you bet your bottom I do. But I keep trying to think of the POSITIVE.
    Do you like to read?? Crosswords? Movies instead of T.V. I'm a T.V bug so thats what keeps me intertained besides the laptop.
    I personally would just give it more time. Your way to early out to even know if surgery has been a sucess this sometimes can take months.
    I was allowed back to work at the 4 month mark.

    Your probably making yourself sore by doing the stretching of housework. I had to keep my neck completly still. If your overdoing then yeah your body is going to scream with pain and the meds are not going to work. Plus try to lay flat on the couch if possible with a pillow under your legs, behind your head and underneath your arms. This is how I was most comfortable.

    I know tuff when you live alone. Is there anyone possible, family memebers, neighbors, friends that would be will to give a helping hand??? Especially with the trash etc. Laundry I did with my grabber.


    Anyways this is ALL PERSONAL EXPERIENCE as I of course am not medically qualified to give you straight answers.

    This is a long journey no matter what type of spine surgery a person has.

    Hang in there ,think postive. keep up your walking. REST and SLEEP are very important in the healing process.

    ALWAYS REMEMBER you are not in this alone. This board is here to support you through the toughest of times.
    Before you know it you will feel better and on your road to full recovery!!!!

    Hugs
    Terri >:D<
  • You are hardly "out of the woods" yet in regards to the surgery...while no surgeries are easy, this is a major one to recover from. I have had two cervical fusions; am recovering from the second one which was in February of this year. I am in pain every day and also on a long list of meds, most of which I'd rather not be taking. Be upfront and honest with your doctors, tell them about your previous addiction and your fears of becoming addicted to the medicines you are on today. If they seem to brush you off, as some of them are so good at doing, tell them to STOP....that you are paying them and you need their full attention as this is something of concern to you. This would be a difficult surgery to recover from while living alone - look to your friends, family or even neighbors for any support they could lend you. I know it's hard, I know it's frustrating...I'm right there with you...try to find a hobby such as reading, crocheting, sudoko, or even a Nintendo DS! There are some great adult-based games to work the brain that Nintento has come out with...but most of all...take it easy. This is something that just takes time, and lots of it.

    Best Wishes to you...Never Lose Hope
    Always Have Faith!
  • I agree you are trying to do too much!! 2 weeks post surgery is not enough time to know if it is working. And if you keep doing too much, you won't heal. Your muscles need to rest and recuperate as well as the rest of you. I'm assuming ACDF. In anterior surgery, all your muscles, windpipe, esophagus, etc. are moved around. They need time to get over the trauma of this. Yes, TV is boring. Do you like movies? Rent some new DVD's. Or books on tape. Ask your neighbors, church friends, the postman :))( to take the garbage out! I know how hard it is. I live by myself too. But you don't want to set yourself up for failure of this surgery. Take care of yourself. Good luck.
  • Being active 2 hours at a time at 2 weeks post surgery seems like quite a lot to me. If by being active you mean up and moving around I wonder if you are allowing your body enough down-time to heal? Two weeks is barely into recovery - though I know it doesn't seem like it - so consider all the good advice everyone has offered and take care of yourself.

    I get up do something around the house - no BLT - for a few minutes then rest for awhile then do something else, etc. etc. More resting than "up and doing". It is a very hard to learn to do because we are so used to doing one thing after another. But the pay-off is not being in as much pain. At about 5 or 6 weeks post-op a friend who has had several spine surgeries reminded me that when I started to do errands I should plan to do one errand and then come home instead of trying to finish my entire list. I think the same applies to chores around the house. Rest BEFORE you get tired and BEFORE the pain level increases!

    Terri, Lakeside and others have a couple of very good reminders in their posts under "Please post surgery patients be very careful ;) UPDATE" on this forum.


  • I had my operation on the 17th. It has now been 19 days. My neck pain has subsided considerably, but larynx still hurts and my voice is terribly raspy! How long is this gonna continue? This is more frustrating than my neck pain!

    I don't think I've overdone it. I've followed the doctors' instructions. I spend an hour or so doing housework. I do my physical therapy 3-5 times a day, and walk at least once a day and usually 2. I don't stay in any one chair for more than a couple of hours. Every time I get up to move to a different chair, I do a few PT exercises to loosen up. This works great! I don't overdo it. I'm cautious about the exercises. If I overdo anything, it's these damn meds. I take two perc 5/325 and 2.5 mg to 5 mg diazepam every 4-5 hours. I'm already dependent on these, and when it's time for a dose, I'm irritable and cranky and it hurts -- hurts less that it did before the surgery, except for my throat.

    My throat is sore and I can barely talk. I can talk in a high, squeaky kind of voice, but I can barely talk at all in my normal voice. How long is this suppose to go on like this? This is seriously frustrating me!

    ====
    Get my neighbors to help me? Fat chance!

    I have a neighbor who 'visited' with me when I was sitting outside the other day. She asked if I saw the ambulance here the night before. She then told me that it came for her. She was having terrible chest pains and her heart was pounding so hard she thought she'd die. IT turns out that her blood alchohol level was .426. She had alchohol poisoning, and wanted my sympathy.

    I have another neighbor who I saw sitting on the steps a few months ago. She was crying. Her back hurt, and she was out of percocet. Her boyfriend was leaving her. I gave her two of my percocet and a hug. She was back two hours later with a beer in her hand, asking for more perc. Of course I told her no! It's no wonder her boyfriend is leaving her. She's a real loser!

    I have nother neighbor. She lives upstairs and has a 3 and 5 year old. She lets them run amok upstairs. They bounce balls, run a stick along the metal railing, and are a total nuisance! All my other neigbors complain TO ME about it. They don't complain to the manager (this 'manager' does nothing here), nor do they complain to the property management company. Last week the kids started running amok again and came in front of my place. I went outside and chased 'em off! I threatened their mother that I would call child protective services if I saw them running upstairs unsupervised again. I got a nasty-gram from the property management company, complaining that I was threatening and harrassing. I wrote 'em back and told 'em what had happened and that the on-site manager was aware of this problem and nothing had been done, so my threat stands! If either of those kids get hurt, I'll call child protective services, and do my best to make the property management partially liable for not addressing this issue.

    This is not the only problem that has existed around here, and I'm always the one that gets the problems resolved. They had inadequate trash collection, so it was up to me to point out their violation of the law. On another occasion (more than once) the ground were littered and full of spider webs, but again it was me that had to cite the law and tell the management company that I'll get these problems rememedied at their expense while I stayed in a motel at their expense.

    MY NEIGHBORS ARE LOW LIFES! I live in a slum! All my neighbors are cowards. They never complain to the manager or management company. They say they don't want their rent raised. They complain to me and leave it up to me. Do you think they're gonna help me take out my trash? They see me strugggling with it, but never offer to help. If they see me outside and I'm looking miserable, they'll say 'if there's anything I can do, let me know'. Well, I tried that, and said yeah, I need to take out my trash right now, and do my laundry tomorrow. The woman disappeared saying she'd be right back but she never returned so I took out the trash and had my one friend help me with the laundry the next day, but he showed up 2 hours late.

    This same friend (bless his heart) bought me a recliner. He said he was going to look at them. I told him don't buy anything! He didn't listen, and bought one that wasn't worth a damn. We had to take it back, and he has a bum knee. So guess who is helping him lift this monstrosity down the stairs so that he doens't hurt his knee.

    This friend is the one person I do anything with. We go to lunch together. I try to time this so that my meds are just taken and I feel my best. He constantly shows up late, or shows up early, or doesn't show at all! Then he calls me a whiner 'cause I'm irritable or hurt or both! He's got type 2 diabetes. We go to lunch, and after lunch, he has four, count 'em, FOUR desserts! Is he taking care of me? It appears that I'm taking care of him! He has a panic attack when he has a hot flash. Guess what causes these hot flashes!

    One neighbor loanded me some movies. I got 'em right back to him within 3 days. I loaned him one of mine (I have few that I own). He hasn't returned it and it's been three weeks!

    At this point, I need a flippin' psychiatrist! I'm surrounded by idiots! They're making me crazy! TV is stupid. Computer games are only satisfying up to a point. I have Netflix, but they can't keep up with me. I'm ready for PT eval and therapy, but I doubt very much that they have seen or have access to my post op X-rays, and the last time I was there, they hurt me (which lasted 3 days). And now I'm taking the pain meds mainly for this sore throat, not neck pain! I want off of them, but my PC who administerss wants me to continue them, but won't promise a tapering off schedule or continued meds after 1-2 months. My Neuro wants ME to inspect my incision to decide when it's okay for me to get back into the pool, and nearly everything they've advised before this surgery turned out to be false. They said I'd be up and walking within two hours after the surgery. They said I'd be going home after two days in the hospital. Yeah right. They sent me to a skilled nursing home for a day, and that's all I could stand there! I then got home and was advised by my insurer that only one day was authorized -- this info was mailed to my home, not to me at the care center. It's a good thing I left! Had I stgayed, nobody would have advised me that I needed authorization for each and every day. But what sent me home was an argument with a nurse. I got furious with him 'cause he wouldn't give me the pain med as prescribed, and tried to start an argument with me. This he succeeded in doing! I was so angry I tossed a pitcher of water and threatened to sue for abuse, aggravation, neglect, and antagonism! I got my way, but it took the charge nurse to straighten this nurse out!

    But enough! All I want to know now is Where's my voice? How long can I expect this to go on? Should I go back to my doc and say I need speech therapy? How long did it take for you to get your voice back? It's been nearly three weeks and there's no sign of improvement -- next to none, and my throat hurts more than my neck.

  • I can totally understand how frustrated you are. As you have so many other issues going on then just surgery itself.
    Call your dr is all the advice I can give and ask...

    My throat was sore for a few weeks. I was not able to eat regular food for 2 weeks. At that point it was just soft food.
    So your dr is the only one that is going to be able to answer that question for you.
    Alot was tugged around, moved to the side and cut. So it takes awhile like I said before. Not one person is the same in recovery. You just had a major operation.
    No one is telling you that your doing anything wrong. We are just telling you our own experience with this surgery. The more we did during the day the more pain we had.
    Same as my surgery now. I overdid and not the highest of amount of pain medication made me comfortable.
    Mabye try splitting your housework up. Not all in one hour but through out the day. Like 15 minutes at a time. After that rest and start again.

    So please call your dr and discuss the talking issues with them. They may have some ideas for you.

    You also may want to check out our depression/coping fourm. I am in no way saying you are depressed. It does come along with the territory of surgery. On that fourm people same as in your situation may have some ideas for you to cope through your healing process. Its a long journey once surgery is done there is no turning back to the way we were before.

    Feel better soon. We are here to support you in any way we can.
    Terri O:)
  • My voice came back about 10 days after surgery. I coughed up a lot of crap. Ice cream was my friend also for the first 10 days. I had a level one done c5/c6 and I was one of the few that came home the same day. Maybe it was rushed but I was glad to get out of there. I am so sorry to here about what is going on in your area. I know it is hard not to let it get to you but try. Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the oil. I personally would not go into a pool unless your wound is completely healed. There is no way I would want to get infection in it. I did my own house work after the first week, I did a little at a time. Please just take it easy, I believe it will get better. I believe we are only given what we can handle and you will come out of this a stronger person. >:D<
  • I am gonna call my doc this morning soon as I get my coffee in me. I gotta get some answers -- no doubt about it.

    Yes, I split my housework up over the course of a day. If I'm not doing housework, I'll do some PT. Mainly,these are only loosening up exercises, not strengthening. I keep moving. This helps me feel better than anything. The most dangerous thing I do is sleep. I toss and turn, and end up sleeping wrong now and then.

    I wasn't restricted to soft foods. It probably would have been a good idea, but I'm past that stage now and it didin't occur to me. However, I'm lactose intolerant so ice cream wouldn't have worked for me. I'm also intolerant of NSAIDs. These wreck my stomach something fierce! I use nature's Anti-Inflamatory -- Ice packs.

    Sorry for ranting but I needed that. Getting that off my chest did me some good. I feel better today. Thanks for putting up with my BS.

    My (unsolicited) advice is this --

    1. Keep moving. The great thing about PT is that you can do these sitting up, standing, or lying flat, and you don't need to go to anyone or spend money to do 'em. Keep loose. Don't let your muscles get tight. Doing that makes you feel like a bowl of cold oatmeal, all clogged and lumpy.

    2. If you're taking a narcotic pain reliever, eat a lot of fiber. I mean LOTS of fiber. This will help avaoid constipation. Great snacks to eat are

    Figs (my fave)
    Apples
    dates
    dark chocolate covered cranberries

    Other fibrous foods include broccoli, carrots (don't overcook 'em), whole grain breads, nuts (chopped is easier). Less fibrous, but still helpful are oatmeal and bananas. Eat 'real' oatmeal, not that instant crud.

    Eating a high fiber diet will help considerably and you can probably avoid laxatives, but if you do need a laxative, don't take a stimullant laxative. Use stool softeners. Those stimulants HURT! In nearly eight months of taking these kind of meds, I've only had to resort to laxatives twice. A high fiber diet is the key to success. If this fails you occasionally, use ducolase sodium or ducolase calcium. You'll be very regular with this kind of diet and an occasional stool softener.

    3. Get some real exercise. The best I've found is swimming. This negates gravity. Bouyancy feels good. Swim in plenty warm water. Cold water (cold weather too) makes you tighten up. Public pools are great. You'll not only get exercise, you'll also have a social circle. And if your pool has a jacuzzi type spa, use it to get some massage action going. Swimming and a spa is a little slice of heaven.

    Many of the loosening up PT exercises are similar to swimming. Get in the water as soon as your doc says it's okay (your incision should be mostly healed and closed). Getting the weight off your back feels great too, and just being in the water is so relaxing you won't believe it! If you haven't tried this, please do. You'll be surprised at how well swimming works!

    4. Eat balanced meals. Refer to a food pyramid. Most of your food should be vegetables. Eat fish and chicken for meat, and limit your intake of red meat. Avoid salty foods. Snakcs like potato chips, crackers and peanut butter, and all that junk food are hard on your circulatory system. Salt is bad for you!

    I dunno why, but for me, a good nausea fighter is potatoes. If you get nausea, cook up a good sized serving of hash browns. Thishas worked better than anything else I've tried. Go figger! I don't understand why this works, but it does.

    5. Eat some anti-oxidants daily. Dark chocolate covered cranberries are super for this. Other natural anti-oxidants are blueberries. I think fish has some anti-oxidants in them too. Dark chocolate is health food! O:)

    6. Now, I dunno where this fits in, but chili peppers help too. Eat a couple everyday. There's plenty of peppers to choose from. These have capcaisin, a natural mild pain reliever. Peppers can be worked into breakfast, lunch or dinner. They even work well together with chocolate as a snack. Put one in your hashbrowns. Cook a chicken breast with one.

    7. Keep moving. I've already mentioned this, but it bears repeating. Stay limber. You'll feel much better if you take every opportunity available to stretch. Everytime you move from one location to another presents an opportunity. Do leg exercises. Roll your shoulders. Watch your posture!

    One really great way to stay limbered up is at a park playground. There's poles, steps, swings, and lots of goodies to hold on to while stretching. Climbing a little is helpful too. Do your stretching exercises gently. Don't overdo it. Stretch your arms, your shoulders, your legs, your tummy and sides.

    One really good gym equipment is a balance beam that you walk on. Typically, these are a mere 6-12 inches off the ground. In order to not fall, you'll find that you use combinations of muscles that your rarely use together. This thing works great! But be extra cautious with this. Don't use the balance beam until you're ready for strengthening exercises. You'll be VERY surprised at how well this little gem limbers you up!

    Another good toy is that oxygenator that you were given in the hospital. You know that thing. It's the thing you suck on after completely emptying your lungs. Use it until you get the idea and don't need the device any longer. Do about 5-6 reps at a time, maybe more -- just enough to get the rush you get when you hyperventilate, but don't overdo it. You'll find that this is most refreshing! Do these after you're done with your exercising.

    8. Walk! Watch your posture and stay as upright as possible, shoulders back. This gets some cardio going for you and helps strengthen your back gently. Practice this and your posture will naturally improve.

    9. Before you go to bed at night, get nice and limbered up. Also, eat a little something -- just enough to put something on your stomach, like half a bowl of oatmeal. You'll sleep much better with something on your stomach, and much better if you're limbered up. DON'T overeat, and DON'T go to bed all stiff. You'll wake up feeling miserable if you don't go to bed limbered or hungry.

    There. That oughtta make up for all my whining. Try these things. They work very well. You'll find that you'll feel better and probably heal faster. I'm not sure, but I think I look better too. Dang! I gotta slow down. I don't wanna be too good looking! :))(

    Actually, I feel pretty darn good except for my throat and voice. That's why my voice hs me so frustrated. I feel great, but I sound like either a mouse or a lion with a sore throat.
  • I had a sore throat for 6 weeks. I couldn't eat regular food for about 4 weeks and then it was only soft stuff, nothing crunchy or scratchy. My voice got better a little at a time, but after about 6 weeks I was good with my throat.

    Best of luck!!
    Mitchelle
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