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How long no IBUPROFEN post-op?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone, today is exactly 3 months since my fusion. At my last appointment my NS said I could start taking ibuprofen on Nov 5. Now I have read 6-12 months in other places, so I am hessitant to take any. I have been dying for ibuprofen for 3 1/2 months, but now I am scared to take it since I don't have any interbody fusion yet at L4-5. I do have some posteriorlateral fusion starting. I am considering waiting until my next xray to see if I have more fusion yet. What did everyones surgeons say about how long with no NSAIDS? Just wanting to get an idea of what is typical. Thanks, >:D< Cali-Sue
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Comments

  • You should avoid all NSAID's until fusion has occurred. If your not sure about it, call your doctor back and ask again if it is safe.

    Some people have to take NSAID's right after surgery for various reasons. Overall though, they should be avoided.

    Keith
    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • I believe EMS Guy is right. Yesterday, my surgeon's office said no ibuprofen until I am fused. On the xray on 10/20, there were "puffy clouds" that told them I had started to fuse (whatever they are!). Could that be the "posteriorlateral fusion" you mentioned? Just curious. But stay off ibuprofen until your doc tells you to take it (IMO).
  • Thats the problem, my doc told me to take it, but because of everything I have read I am hesitant. I have to go back to work on the 21st. I am an RN and can't be working on narcotics. I still need something for pain on a daily basis. Tylenol is useless. IBU has always been my best relief (800mg), better than Norco or T#3.

    Joy, I had Polar, similar to TlIF, but I also had a posterior lateral fusion, its kinda the old way they did it before interbody fusions existed. Its fusion of the transverse processes. A lot of surgeons do both, and that is were I have some fusion, but none between the L4 & 5.

    I had been planning on being able to take IBU on the days I work, but now I am scared... :(
  • Cali Sue, I was told NO Nsaids for 6 months. I lived on them before surgery and have a very specific reason for it that I will not mention in a public forum but since you brought this subject up does anybody know of any alternatives that act as an anti-inflammatory but doesn't mess up the fusion process? An herb? Anything? I have been looking everywhere for an alternative. Go with your doctor though Cali. Always. You give me hope that perhaps I could discuss this with my doc at my next appt which actually puts me at about 4 months. That would be an unexpected blessing if he would allow me even minimum amounts of ibuprofen.
  • apparently olive oil has some antiinflammatory effects.

    so does ice. =D>
  • So I'm starting to believe that perhaps that when some doctors start to see fusing that perhaps they may be ok to take again? Since I've now seen so many different answers I'm wondering. I'm asking my doctor. I'm going to try the Olive Oil until he says something different. That's too easy.
    Thanks for bringing this up.
  • At 12 weeks post-op my NS gave me the go ahead to take 200-400 mg as at this dose it has less of an anti-inflammatory effect (as 600-800mg does) I will admit it still made me nervous. I have used it about 3 times and unfortunately it did absolutely nothing for me. I am choosing not to use it because it didn't help and I am just not willing to chance it at higher does. I am almost 5 months post-op and not very happy about my progress as far as pain goes. I am also showing some posteriorlateral fusion but not interbody. I'm stuck with the perc, but at least it still helps.

  • As you know I have been taking Celebrex from day 1 under Drs orders.
    I took myself off it a few weeks ago but after a week I knew I couldn't keep going without it so started again

    I know that the fusion rate did slow between weeks 12-24 but the first 12 weeks when I was taking anti-inflams the fusion was really good.
    If you are going back to work and your own Dr said OK then dont be put off by all that you read. If you hadn't read about it and your Dr said Ok to go ahead then wouldn't you do it?
    You have fusion happening and that is great - all it has to do is continue.

    Blessings Sara O:)
  • Thanks Sarah, I know I am so paranoid. I even worry that my bone growth stimulator is gonna overgrow the bmp too, crazy I know. I am gonna just hope I see white clouds on my xray when I get it later this month. It will be right before I go back to work. >:D< Cali-Sue
  • I am a vet tech and we suggest products containing omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, glucosamine and MSM to our patients with chronic arthritis. Fatty acids and MSM have natural anti- inflammatory properties and help support connective tissue. I am 3 weeks post op from my C5C6 ACDF and I am taking a Multivitamin, 1000mg Omega 3 supplement, Citrical with Bone Density Builder, and a Glucosamine/MSM Complex with Collagen. BTW, fish oils have more bioavailable omega 3 & 6 than plant based oils (flax seed, olive, hemp, etc.)

    I've also used heated rice bags and ice packs to help with the muscle spasms and inflammation.
  • I was told ABSOLUTELY NO NSAIDs for at LEAST 6 months.

    They sell capsules of Fish oil that has flax seed oil in it, I take those. Omega 3 also in them. They taste like crap, but hey. Also they have flax seed oil in Smart Balance spread that's an alternative to butter. Lol.
  • Cali:

    My understanding is no NSAIDS until you are fused.

    Can you take a non narcotic pain prescription at work?

    Ellen
  • Thanks everyone, I am going to try not to take it for now, although my upper back is soooo jacked up it is so tempting to give it a try. I take half a norco 7.5 about 2 times a day plus soma. It helps a little. The chiro couldn't even get my upper back or neck to move at all, he pretty much is giving up on it. I don't know if it is from the brace, my "new" spine, or what, but it is driving me crazy. I just feel like something is "out" in my spine right between my shoulder blades that makes my muscles spasm in my upper back and neck. It hurts more than my surgical area.

    Ellen, what are you thinking of as non-narcotic prescription med? Tramadol? I have never tried it, but side effects sound iffy. Also, I am not really worried about nerve pain at this time, so those type of meds wouldn't help I don't think. Tylenol is useless for me.

    Thanks again for everyone's input. >:D< Cali-Sue
  • Before surgery, I got more pain relief from Tramadol than I did from Hydrocodone. Even though tramadol isn't a controlled substance, it works on your mu pain receptors just like morphine. It's actually one of the metabolites processed in your liver that acts on the pain receptors, not the tramadol itself, so it can be up to an hour before it takes effect. If you haven't had problems with other narcotics, I wouldn't worry about the side affects of tramadol too much. It tends to be fairly "safe" and it's what my 80+ year old grandmother's doctor prescribes for her chronic pain.
  • Cali:

    Yes, I take Tramadol for back pain and it helps. I have no side effects.

    Ellen
  • I would ask your MD what they prefer. Some surgeons say nothing until you're fused, my surgeon says 6 weeks out you can start taking NSAIDS. Seems out of the 10 surgeons at our office, they all have a different rule about it.
  • my doc said not for 8 weeks, however he seems to do everything quicker than everyone else!!! I asked why and they said because you don't heal as well if you take advil~~ after 8 weeks supposedly it's okay!! I do take ultram and have been taking it on and off for about 5 years!! The side effect I do get from it is a headache, and I can;t sleep, it makes me feel like i took speed!! I take tylenol with it to prevent the headache!! it works on pain pretty well, except for that horrible pain I had after surgery nothing touched that!! I went back to the ultram, the rest of those meds gave me worse side effects, like I couldn't breathe and felt faint!! So if they weren't helping the pain no sense taking them!! ultram and tylenol together is good. before the surgery i used ultram and advil together!! good luck
  • I would listen to YOUR doctor only and not any one else's or anything you read elsewhere. It is your doctor who is treating you. I discussed this in detail with my surgeon and also researched it a lot. The bottom line appears to be that there is no hard and fast evidence that proves one way or the other that NSAIDS will hinder bone fusion. Yes, there is lots of anecdotal evidence that says that it 'might'.

    My surgeon wanted to put me on COX 2 NSAIDs immediately after my surgery (hence why I was concerned and looked into it in detail) as he felt that the immediate benefits outweighed the unproven risks that it might slow the rate of bone fusion. So, I was on COX 2 NSAIDS for 1 month immediately after fusion and I fused well enough that I was sufficinelty well fused to allow my hardware to be removed at only 7 months (as I had hardware issues).

    Now, please DONT get me wrong. I am not promoting the use of NSAIDS following fusion - I am simply showing another side to the discussion and suggesting that you should all follow the specific advice of your surgeon rather than taking advice from other sources, which may be well-meaning, but which may not be based upon the full facts, or considering all the circumstances of a particular patient.

    In principle I would fully agree with not taking any risks therefore suggesting not to take NSAIDS after fusion but then again the patient and the surgeon (the surgeon especially) needs to consider the specific circumstances of the patient, the benefits and the possible risks.
    Keep positive!

    Bruce

    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Bruce thanks for your reply. I guess my hesitation to follow my doctor's orders lies in the fact that he seems to rush everything. For instance he told me I would be off work for 6-12 weeks, ya right, I am an RN and he knows that. He said I could drive and go in the pool at 2 weeks out, NOT! No way, no how! He said I could return to work at 10 weeks. Not gonna happen, had just gotten brace off and started PT for very stiff weak back muscles. His PA wrote in my discharge instructions no NSAIDS for 6 months. He himself said 3-4. So at my last visit I asked for clarification, he says 3 months. I had no fusion between my vertebrae yet at 8 weeks out. He is not encouraging me to take it, I just want something that works for when I return to work next week that is non-narcotic. I may try it on work days and take norco on days off to limit my use of it. We'll see, unfortunately my upper back is not settling down yet, otherwise I think I might be fine without anything.

    Thanks everyone, >:D< Cali-Sue
  • Wow, your surgeon does sound a bit worrying.
    Cali-Sue said:
    Bruce thanks for your reply. I guess my hesitation to follow my doctor's orders lies in the fact that he seems to rush everything. For instance he told me I would be off work for 6-12 weeks, ya right, I am an RN and he knows that. He said I could drive and go in the pool at 2 weeks out, NOT! No way, no how! He said I could return to work at 10 weeks. Not gonna happen, had just gotten brace off and started PT for very stiff weak back muscles. His PA wrote in my discharge instructions no NSAIDS for 6 months. He himself said 3-4. So at my last visit I asked for clarification, he says 3 months. I had no fusion between my vertebrae yet at 8 weeks out. He is not encouraging me to take it, I just want something that works for when I return to work next week that is non-narcotic. I may try it on work days and take norco on days off to limit my use of it. We'll see, unfortunately my upper back is not settling down yet, otherwise I think I might be fine without anything.

    Thanks everyone, >:D< Cali-Sue
    Keep positive!

    Bruce

    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • You have to wait until your fused, until your surgeon see's it, don't rush it
  • I just had a cervical discectomy and fusion about a month ago. seem to be having a bit of a communication problem with my surgeon. it's after 2am and I'm awake with pain once again. after taking ibuprofen for 9+ months, no one has actually explained to me why I can't take it after the fusion. I've simply been told NO ibes.
    also I have been reading posts about clouding during the healing process and don't have a clue what that means either. sounds like I need to keep a log with questions to ask my doctor when I go for the follow- up appt.
    why can't I take ibuprofen, when none of the stronger pain meds work. and what is clouding?
  • Hi! As a user of Advil for any ache (before surgery) I get it!!!!

    NSAIDS prevent the fusing and growth of bone. My doc has said at least 6 months no nsaids or even longer depending on how long my fusion take. Sucks when only Advil takes cramps away and headaches away.

  • VJM,

    My doc said the same as dehoyos13's doc. Start at 3 months but probably 6 months. For some patients possibly a year. It depends on how well your body takes to the fusion process. So it is very individual.

    Why can't you take them?
    The good and the bad. They inhibit a certain enzyme (cyclooxygenase) and that process causes a reduction in pain. They also inhibit another enzyme (prostaglandins) that creates a chemical that is need for bone metabolism, ie, fusion. So in fusion patients the bad tends to outweigh the good.

    Not sure what clouding means in this context.

    The moral of the story is there is enough research done to show that you want to not risk it. I too am an Advil user, or was...

    Graham
  • thank you! you've both given me more info than the doctor...
    clouding was referred to as being good, when viewing an x-ray.
  • How are you Sue? Are you able to go back to work? I just want an update to see how Cali-Sue is if anyone has heard anything. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I'm sorry, just joined the forum 2 days ago and got this message from you. I haven't seen anything new from Sue. hope you hear from her soon and she's doing ok!
    vjm
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