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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
Hi I am 2 weeks Postop PLIF with lami at the L5-S1. It was 2 weeks ago today and I am still having a lot of pain. I am so frustrated because I really want to be off the pain meds but whenever I try to stop taking them the pain comes screeching back! How long does this pain last? I would appreciate any information anyone can give? I am seeing my surgeon tomorrow for the first time since the surgery and I am wearing this brace that is so uncomfortable but I have to wear it all day and all night! I did know this before the surgery but I agreed to this because I wanted the pain to go away! Anyone else out there that had a problem at the L5-S1 ugh! I am able to get in and out of bed without assistance so I guess that is a positive thing!


  • Welcome-Hope-you-feel-better-soon.
    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
  • At only 2 weeks post-op you are just in the beginning stages of the recovery process and therefore, pain is very normal. At this point, you want to take your pain meds on schedule to stay ahead of the pain. That is really important! Keeping the pain under control will enable you move around and walk more - and the walking is really important to your recovery (it also helps the pain).

    Some people take pain meds for many months - or longer - post surgery and others are able to discontinue them after a few weeks.

    Patience is one of the most difficult parts of this recovery - but hang in there and in a few months you will be doing much better!
  • Thanks. I know I shouldn't get discouraged and that pain is normal..but the people that worked with me (surgeon and nurses) kind of act like you should not be on the pain meds any longer and I am kind of like are you kidding me? I am in so much pain and now I just hope to catch up to it! I have my first Postop appointment today so hopefully they can find a pain med that will help?? Thanks for the encouragement I really needed it!!!
  • You know, I got the same impression at one point from the people in my surgeon's office when I called in not long after my surgery to ask a question about my medication. I was in tears thinking something was really wrong with me that I still needed meds. But 2 friends who had had PLIF surgery told me they were still taking pain meds at 4 months post-op and made me feel much better. When I went in a couple of days later for my 2 week appt and told the surgeon that I had gotten that impression he seemed very surprised! So - who knows?
  • I meant to add that I later mentioned this "why do you still needs meds?" impression that I got from the surgeon's office to my family practice doc and to a friend who is a family practice physician. Both said that surgeon's sometimes seem to think "well, I fixed it so why are you still in pain?" They had both run into this frequently and saw it as their job to help with post-surgery pain relief as necessary. So, if you do not get a helpful response from your surgeon try your family practice or pain management physician.
  • I guess I was really lucky in that I had a surgeon who was more up to date on the importance of pain meds. I know some believe that the problem of addiction is more important than keeping the patient comfortable...but that is an outdated thought.

    People recover better when they are not also having to deal with pain. I gather it is not your surgeon that is telling you no pain meds?

    I hate to discourage you, but I was on pain meds for the first 8 weeks...and I hardly left the bed for the first two weeks, except to make a trip to the bathroom and then I would combine that with my walking. Otherwise I was in my bed, napping or propped up attempting to watch TV or whatever. I did not drive until this point.

    Others had advised me to take my meds religiously. I set an alarm during the night to wake up to take them. Others had told me that you didn't want the pain to get ahead of you, so I followed the doctor's instructions to the "T."

    How long the pain lasts is an individual thing. But any fusion is a BIG surgery and is not a quick recovery. It is important to embrace this concept as it does no good to try to hurry along the process. Patience will be your friend for many months to come.

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