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> 5 months and still need meds :(

saamsonitessaamsonite Posts: 20
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had my second spinal fusion T2-T10 over 5 months ago. I have tried to stop taking my pain meds because I am so tired of being a zombie really want to drive again, but the pain is excruiciating without them. I don't understand how it can be more than 5 months and still be in this boat! How long have you guys been on pain meds and are you able to drive if you are taking them?


  • I'm sorry to hear you are in so much pain. I can't say "I know how you feel" because I haven't had any back surgeries yet, but I am dealing with the pain meds. Funny, it's been about 5 months for me too. I had a car accident in April and crushed part of my L2. Since the accident, I fell directly on my behind and messed up somthing else. Not sure what yet but having another MRI Wednesday. I have tried to get off of the meds a few times because, like you, I wanted to drive and get on with my life. Every time I have stopped taking them, I find the pain too much to bear. The thought of pain floods my mind and my entire day focuses around it. At least on the pain meds, I can almost feel like a normal person. I don't dwell on the pain all day. This is how I look at it now......this pain will go away one day. I'm not completely healed and the pain is my body's way of telling me to take it easy. One day this will be over and there won't be a need for the meds. Until then, I will take the meds so I can be halfway enjoyable to be around, and when the pain is gone, then I will get off of the meds. Good luck to you, take it easy and let your body tell you when it's time to stop the meds.
  • affect us all differently. I was on massive doses of Fentanyl and oxycodone before surgery. I got off the Fentanyl patch at about 3 months post surgery, but I still occasionally take an oxycodone for pain (mostly after or even during a long drive). I do not notice any mental differences or reaction time differences when I take it -- could it be I'm just that weird all the time? It does, however, take away most of my pain. I have always found that when I really need the high-powered pain meds, they don't make me dopey. When I'm not really in much pain and I take one anyway, I get a little loopy. Of course, they may affect you totally differently. I hope you find a solution to both your pain and your need for mental clarity.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • and still on Vicoden. I can drive if I take half of one but not if I take one or two. I only drive if I HAVE too. I hate it because after 20 min. my legs go numb and it scares me so I stay very local.
    Mom to Tony 13, Gavin 9, and Donovan 7
    Surgery 1/07/2009:
    1. L3-4 decompression laminectomy and foraminotomy
    2. Left complete L3-4 discectomy with decompression of L4 root.
    3. Posterior lumbar interbody fusion, L3-4 with 10-mm Capstone cage and autograph.
    4. Posterior spinal fusion L3-L5 with iliac bone graph and BMP
    5. Legacy instrumentation, L3 to L5Cyndi
  • I was on Percocet for about 3-weeks after my ALIF and ADR back at the end of July. I would definately speak to your surgeon about the continued pain.
  • I had decompression surgery first and then a fusion in 2008 and I haven't stopped taking my pain meds all this time. I went from Norco to Fentanyl patches, and now take Oxycontin to manage my chronic pain. I don't get light headed, spacey, or experience euphoria because I've been on these types of painkillers for a long time now. Take care
  • I had a multi-level hybrid ADR and ALIF in April last year and a revision fusion plus complete SIJ fusion in April this year and am still on lots of medication. Got down from 600mg Tramadol daily to 400mg plus Declofenic, Paracetomol, Amytriptolene but still in pain 5 months post surgery. I am worried that I still need them and that I am still in this much pain - there must be a reason??? As other people have said, everyone is different but can't help feeling very depressed about it having had all this surgery and still have a back ache.
    Brian (London UK)
  • I think I kind of know how you feel. I had a 360 spinal fusion from just below my shoulders all the
    way down my back. I had 50 staples and also had
    a discectomy. I tried to reduce my pain medication, Percocet about a month ago. I was much more miserable but thought I maybe better try to, I don't know, toughen myself up a little, I guess. My regular Dr. got after me and told me not to "self reduce" that I wasn't doing myself any favors by hurting. His office always says to try and stay ahead of the pain, not to wait too long when hurting before taking something for pain, or they say the pain will get away from you, harder to control. They say that they know I don't have an addictive personality and are not concerned that I am still taking Percocet (it's not a big strong dose) and I also take muscle relaxers and Klonopin - the Klonopin more for my nerves and anxiety. Plus wellbutrin for anxiety. But my Dr. says I had a huge surgery and I don't need to try and prove anything to him by making myself miserable.

    So I don't think it is unusual to need pain medication at 5 months post op. When it hurts, it hurts. I don't drive yet either, not only because of the medication but I am not very flexible and I doubt if my reflexes would be too great if someone were to pull out in front of me - I wouldn't want to hurt anyone.

    I hope you take your pain medication and don't put yourself through more pain needlessly. I hope you feel better soon. I am getting stronger!

    Good luck, Susie
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