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How long were you on pain meds?

lilmamallilmama Posts: 61
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a laminectomy/discectomy 3 days ago and I
am already sick of taking pain meds, but obviously have to until the incision and all that stop hurting. How long after your surgery were you on pain meds? At what point were you able to stop taking them?


  • No one is forcing you to take pain meds. My 87-year-old MIL had a fusion and after the first dose, never took anything stronger than a Tylenol because she hated the way it made her feel. She and I had the same surgery and I was on pain meds for nine weeks.

    So I guess it depends how much pain you are in. I never took anything after my last surgery, but then I was not in any pain...not even from the incision.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856
    Gwennie said it all. There really arent any specific rules on how long you need to be on pain medication after surgery.
    Some it could be 1 day
    Some it could be 26 weeks
    and for some, it may never end.
    Its all about you and how you are dealing with any post surgical situations and your recovery process.

    I think everyone here will say: IF, I didnt need any pain medications, I would NOT be taking them.

    Living without medication is something that is a goal for many here
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Sounds like you are doing pretty good after a big surgery.

    If you don't need the pain medication, don't take it. But, if you need it, if you are having pain, don't be afraid to take it.

    I worked for a spine surgeon for several years, and we did not worry about getting anyone off of pain medicine for three months after surgery. Most people just taper off when they don't need them.

    Good Luck
  • not taking the pain meds, by all means stop them. I'm now nine months after surgery and still occasionally need the pain medication. Not every day, sometimes not for a whole week, but then there are days when I can barely move. It all depends on your age, your degree of spinal damage, your tolerance of pain (and pain meds), etc.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Hi -
    I was taking Vicodin twice a day for a week after my 3 level acdf surgery on July 31. I haven't had to take a painkiller at all today though. I still have pain but not to the point where I feel like I need a Vicodin. But if you need the painkillers to make you more comfortable - I say take them :)

    - Margaret
  • I feel likewise. If you need them. take them. To me it isnt worth the suffering and like mentioned above, we are all different in every aspect. But keep in mind, moving and gentle stretching, or whatever you have been told to do, is very important and its really hard to do if you are in pain and you wont do as good of a job either. Just let your body tell you what you need. You can try taking less and see if you can find a balance between the meds and the pain that you can handle. :) good luck.
  • Thank you all for your replies. It's just difficult trying to determine how long the pain lasts.
  • Hi! We had the same surgery for the same levels. I had mine July 27th so just a few days before you.

    I was doing great last week. I had a little set back today. I think I had too much company over the weekend. I had to take a muscle relaxer last night.

    Are you using a bone stimulator? I'm going to try mine today. I tried it a few days after my surgery but the pressure on my shoulders from the device hurt so I stopped.

    Are you driving yet? My plan is not to drive until my post op appointment Aug 31st. I don't know that I'll make it. I get really bored at home.
  • I had surgery on L5 S1 on July 23rd. I still have to take the pain medicine. I am one that does not like to take anything like that, but I have tried to cut back on them, and it hurt too much.
    So I agree with everyone else, it depends on each person.

  • I've had 2 back surgeries and I never stopped taking pain meds. I started with Vicodin and went on to Fentanyl, MS Contin, and finally Oxycontin.

    You'll know when you're ready to start cutting down and eventually get off pain meds. If you stop too soon it can hinder your recovery because the pain will deter you from walking or doing PT. Later on you can substitute your pain meds with regular Tylenol or any other NSAIDS.
  • I was on Lortab 10 mg for about 6 weeks. Then I weaned myself off of them. I got tired of having to call the dr. to get them refilled every week. I take Tylenol for mild pain now. The Lortab was very helpful and if it had not been such a hassle I might still be on them. They made me feel better and like I could do more. No with no pain help, I'm in some pain and so don't do as much.
  • ...& I still take pain meds PRN.
    You do what you must to be functional, eventually.
    I can function/work/be social etc when I hurt less.
    My doctors know this & understand, so they said "Take your meds when you need to" & believe me, I sure do!

    Now, since I am fused, I can take NSAIDs again , so that helps the inflamatory stuff, but I do still use the "big guns" when it gets overwhelming. I have a lot of stuff that is permanently painful, etc. Other things have come/gone/sometimes return. Everyone is different, as we've said.

    You won't know how long the pain lasts --that IS the tough part. Meantime, make yourself as comfy as possible--& that includes judicious use of pharmaceuticals. There is no "real" time-line.

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