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Meds for Back Pain

signavyssignavy Posts: 63
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Pain Medications

In Sep 08 I herniated at the L5/S1 level and MRI also confirmed a pars defect - grade 1 spondy. They put me on Mobic (15mg), Neurontin (600mg) - daily. They also gave me Valium and Tramadol (when needed). The meds have helped bring the pain to somewhat of a managable level and I have been able to get completly off the valium. I was taking that to help with muscle spasms in buttocks area when going from sitting to standing position. I have been offered a L5/S1 Fusion after seeing a NS and OS, but the OS says I should avoid surgery as long as possible. That said, how long should I take the meds? When do I say - okay surgery is the way-ahead. I am worried about the side effects of long-term use of NSAIDs and their link to heart attacks.
Has anyone out there been given a timeframe by their docs with regard to med use. Very much appreciate any advice.

All the best, Mike


  • You are the only one who can know for certain when it's the right time, unless the doc says you run the risk of permanent nerve damage. As far as long term use of drugs, that too is a personal decision. Many people require the use of NSAID's and narcotics for decades. In reality it is a game of weighing the pros and cons of either decision. If your pain is tolerable and quality of life decent with just minor amounts of medication, if there's no immediate concern of permanent nerve damage, then I'd stay away from surgery as long as possible.

    Surgery on the spine can be like opening Pandora's Box. You may wind up with the same or worse pain requiring more meds and more surgery.

    Hope this helps you think it through a bit more.

    Welcome to Spine Health.

  • I had my 2nd disk fusion last June at L4-5 bolting that to S1 of which I had fused to L5 many years ago. About 3 months afterwards i was feeling great but then I popped in inside stitch on the right side (back) and since then the pain has gotten much worse.

    Everythings a chance. As for pain meds, i've taken all kinds since my first surgery on my neck back in 1990. At this point i take 5 mg of oxycodone about every 2 hours starting just after I wake at 6:30am. Due to going cold turkey on gabapentin (neurontin) a few months after the June surgery and a 4 day stint of withdrawals when I stopped taking them as they didn't seem to do anything, i weaned myself off them in 2 weeks, but I now have to take a benadril (or generic) pill with every pain pill otherwise I itch BADLY all over... the doc says there's no connection between the 'new' itching and my going off the gaba, but I can't see any other reason as prior to going cold turkey, I could take the oxy by itself with no side effects...

    My doc says i've no need to worry about the various levels of either pills as i'm still under any OD levels for heart or kidney/liver problems.

    I suppose you'll need to keep taking the meds as long as you feel they help, when they don't then you may want to try other types of meds, let surgery be your last option and always get second opinions!
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