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Confused about recovery pain & meds to help

XenaPortlandXXenaPortland Posts: 33
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi everyone,

I had multi-level spinal fusion on March 23, so about 2.5 weeks ago. I know it is very early in the process, but I'm totally confused about the pain I'm experiencing.

Before the surgery, lying down was my biggest problem. So much so I couldn't sleep. Walking and sitting was not a huge problem for me, although I had to be careful of bending/twisting.

Now, post-surgery, I can for the first time in YEARS lie down in comfort. I am just so grateful that I can actually sleep again, although it has taken me a while to get used to sleeping more than just a few hours at a time. I slept for 6 hours straight last night, first time in 10 years probably, and that is just a miracle for me.

BUT, and this is where I'm confused. walking is proving to be very difficult ... sort of. I start out ok, it is tiring but I can do it, and then I will step slightly differently or the sidewalk will angle funny and it is like someone jabs me in the back with a knife. It only lasts a couple seconds, and then goes away. Sometimes I yell out it is so surprising and painful.

From that first jab it gets worse and worse until I get home and lie down. Even sitting can be agony at this point, like all my muscles clench. After I lie down for an hour or so the whole thing seems to subside and I'm back to "normal" again, relatively pain free.

My question is ... what sort of medication would be best to help with this? I currently am on Dilaudid (4mg every 3 hours as needed) and Valium. The Dilaudid doesn't really seem to help with this, as it is so sudden and intense, I think the Valium helps more but puts me to sleep pretty bad.

I know everyone is different, but I see my doctor in two days and I was wondering if anyone had a similar type of pain and was prescribed something that helped with this really effectively?

- Xena


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,877
    You are so fresh out of surgery, you are bound to have different things happening to you.

    I would wait until you see your doctor and explain all of this to them. That would be much better than having any of us provide you with a non-medical guess as to what medications might help
    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
  • I haven't had spine surgery but think it may be good to take your pain med about an hour before doing any exercise and icing 15-20 before and after doing your walks. Maybe taking shorter more frequent walks may be helpful instead of a longer one. Also are you using a walker after surgery, many people who have had multi-level spine surgery or less even have to use a walker for awhile. I hope your Dr. appointment goes well and hope the pain eases up for you. Take care. Charry
    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
  • Hi Charry,

    I do have a walker, and it does help. One GREAT thing that it does is if I ever have to take the public streetcar down to my doctor (who is just one streetcar stop away ... very cool), people get up and let me have a seat when I get on with the walker. There is no way I could ride it otherwise.

    Shorter walks are a good idea too. I have done that, but they gave me this walking plan that said to increase my walks by 1 minute each day. Since crossing about the 10 minute walking point it is just a random guess as to when I will just suddenly start experiencing the stabbing pain (could be at 11 minutes, could be at 20).

    I know dilauro doesn't want me to ask for medical advice on here, and I really wasn't looking for that so much as if anyone else experienced a similar type of pain and what kind of remedy their doctors tried (that way I could ask about it when I saw my doctor).

    It is outright SHOCKING to me when the pain hits. I will be fine, no serious pain, walking along just fine and then BAM, I get stabbed in the back for two seconds. It is a weird way to experience pain, thats for sure!
  • Surgery changes everything!! It makes sense that somethings would feel better while others more painful. It's really too early after your surgery to know anything forsure. Don't worry, rest & recover and speak to your doctor about the changes you feel. Only doctors can tell you what's what.

    It's so easy to worry, but worrying won't help you heal.
  • I went to my PCP today ... which was quite the adventure out for me. We talked about other stuff mostly (not my spine surgery), but I did tell her what kind of pain I was experiencing.

    She believes that I should (a) talk to my surgeon tomorrow and (b) it sounds like the pain I'm having, that stabbing pain, is muscle spasms. All that new position for the muscles plus the surgery is causing the back to spasm. I do think that Valium helps this more than the Dilaudid, but it sure is crazy pain.

    I love your idea to rest, except I'm kind of bored from lying around all the time. Sigh. Recovery is quite a trap isn't it!

    - Xena
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