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Pain Management FAIL

fishinwidow98ffishinwidow98 Posts: 54
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Pain Medications
I had a previous surgery in '08 (Microdiscectomy at l-4/5)& caught heck tryin to manage pain. I ended up post op on Neurontin, Demerol, Valium, Fentanyl duragesic, & soma. When I re-injured in May they started me on hydrocodone & skelaxin, which was a JOKE. I'm now on Percocet and Soma again as well as Neurontin. I am worried about post op pain management. Any suggestions??



  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,868

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    The combination of:
    Pain Medication = Percocet
    Nerve Pain Medication = Neurontin
    Muscle Relaxer = Soma

    is a blend that many post op patients are on. For some, that will last quite some time.

    What other treatments are you doing?
    - Physical Therapy
    - Aqua Therapy
    - Long list of concserattive treatments

    When you said you re-injured yourself, to what degree did you do that? Did you have any diagnostic testing done to verify what happened?
    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
  • My injury was work related and since I work for a large hospital and they have been diligent in sending me thru the various treatments available. I had pt within 2 weeks of the injury and very quickly started having "old" symptoms of tingling in my left foot and toes, hip & thigh pain etc. I earned a MRI by telling the doc that. All I know about the MRI is that it was "highly abnormal". After that they sent me back to the doc who performed my micro who sent me for an injection which was a waste (as it was 2 years ago) & after consulting with the work doc they decided to go with surgery. I really haven't been as involved with this process like last time--I think mainly because it is work related. I have had aquatic therapy which is wonderful as long as I am IN the water. Getting out is death and the rest of my day is really wretched. I am fine-ish on the meds that I am on now but I am well aware that post op is going to be exceptionally painful and I worry that my tolerance is going to be too much. I don't know what my options are & since NO ONE is really talking I am getting frantic.

    I really don't know what to expect. I work in the ER although I worked in ortho surgery for a while. I never saw a 360 done, I know very little about the specifics but I imagine this will likely be worse than the micro.

    I feel like I am rambling and making no points what-so-ever but really I just need some reassurance that there ARE meds available for people like me who are overly tolerant, this IS a good surgery to have, and the recovery isn't as impossible as some of the outlooks I have read (anything from 3 months to 2 years???) I want to know that my life will return to "normal" eventually.

    Sorry to ramble and vent... thanks for the ear...er eyes.
  • I can relate to the two discectomies and I had a TLIF (fusion is performed through two incisions in the back). Mine was a single level fusion.

    I like the way my doctor described the recovery: 3 days of unbelievable pain, 3 weeks of intense pain, and 3 months of off and on pain. That may sound scary, but I went into it with that expectation and so I seemed to cope with it a little better when I actually went through it.

    Here's what we did: Immediately after surgery they put me on a PCA pump. Your doctor can order this. I feel that it is a MUST. It made the first day or so very tolerable. I have to admit that when they disconnected the pump and put me on 10mg Oxycodone I crashed really badly -- probably because I was very tolerant like you. My nurse called the resident (or on-call doctor, whichever) and woke them up at 2am in order to address my pain. What a saint! They ordered 2mg of oral Dilaudid and that helped me cope rather well. I went home at day 2, but I had the option to stay until day 3. I found the hospital too noisy and crowded, so I chose to go home. They sent me home on Dilaudid and the entire first week was tolerable. I improved so quickly that I asked to move down to Percocet (10mg) every 4 hours. It was hard for a couple of days, but again, relative to the "intense pain for 3 weeks" expectation, I was feeling pretty good.

    The "off and on pain for 3 months" never quite happened for me. It never turned off! I want to be clear, though, that it was no where near as bad as the first two weeks post-op. I switched to Hydrocodone and have been on it ever since. It appears that I have pain as a result of scar tissue adhering to my sciatic nerve. Otherwise, at 5-6 months post surgery, my back felt stable as a result of rigorous PT.

    I would expect that you'll hear some stories that are better than this and some that are worse. In my opinion, I think it's healthy to go into it expecting some serious pain. If you are emotionally prepared for that, then it will seem like a blessing if you do better.

    Last word -- insist on the PCA pump!!!

    Best wishes on your surgery!

  • I wrote down a lot of the questions I had here and asked the GS who will be doing the anterior portion about them. Some I will have to ask the OS but for the most part I think he answered. I WILL have a PCA pump and he charted my concerns over post PCA pain management. I am hoping for the best!

    Thank you for the suggestions!!
  • I would also try to get them to make the PCA give you a basal dose all the time and then have you push the button only as needed. I had a PCA pump and hated it to death. You had to push a button every 8 minutes and let me tell you that when your hurting 8 minutes is a hell of a long time. I will never have a PCA pump again without having a basal dose all the time. In my case I had to push the button 180 times in a 24 hour period. I mean really do you want to have to push a button at 3:21 AM.
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