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Total Disc Replacement Post Op Pain

Im Sarah. I had a c5-6 total disc replacement 3 days ago. I am getting better but still very sore. My doctor has given me the impression that I should be feeling fantastic with minimal pain and full range of motion. But that doesnt seem to be the case. I was in a lot of pain the minute i came out of surgery and it never really got that much better while i was in the hospital 1 night stay. I asked for more pain meds and the doctor said i was on the highest dose. He offered 1 mg morphine every 2 hours as needed. But nothing really helped. The meds brought on a headache vs. relieve the muscle pain in the back of the neck, shoulders and down the back. I was so out of it the first day after surgery. But when I saw the doctor the next day he was surprised to hear i hadn't been up walking around. He noted a women down the hall had the same surgery and was feeling great. he was sort of a jerk. and it didnt help I had a horrible nurse who was working a double shift. So my doctor has told me I need to get my tolerance to pain meds under control before he will do a PLIF on my L4/L5.
Its 3 days later and I am feeling better, but my neck and shoulders still hurt. Its painful to move my neck up/down/left/right. my muscles feel really tight. I am wondering if anyone else had high level of pain after surgery or similar pain after their total disc replacement.


  • Hi Sarah, I had 2 discs replaced in my lumbar spine about 2 years ago and it was extremely painful. I was in the hopsital on morphine for almost 4 days and was still really hurting. It took me about a month before pain from the surgery was gone. I don't think it's unusual that you are in pain. You had a major surgery and it will take your body time to heal.
  • Sounds to me like its time to find another Dr., one that listens and cares what his patiets are telling him. Sounds like one of those arrogant Dr that a lot of us have run into. Any time a part is taken and replaced in our body is a major surgery and it doesn't matter how someone else responds to the same procedure, what matter is how you respond. By the way morphine doesn't work on everybody. It does nothing for me as far as pain relief. Next time your in the same situation ask for a patiet advocate. They will make things happen, at least in a hospital.
  • Thanks for your support. Its good to know that my pain is normal. I am going to look into getting a pain management person for the lumbar surgery, hopefully they can override my insensitive dr. I had met with 3 doctors before going with this one. All of them had different opinions on how to treat. This one seemed the best to me. I didnt realize how out of touch he is about his patients pain. How could you know. And the nurse I had, Im sure will be there again, ugh. I dont want to do the next surgery, but i dont think I have a choice.
  • Why do you say you don't have a choice? Do you have a muscle relaxer as well as pain meds it may help with the tight muscles.
    There is no reason for a surgeon to treat you that way. Ask him how he thinks he would feel if someone opened up his neck ripped out a disc and put something artificial in it's place. Your body has been subjected to major trauma, of course you are going to hurt. If he has this attitude now how do you think he will respond if you have an issue after the next surgery? I'd be finding a new surgeon.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • JeniferLynJJeniferLyn Posts: 2
    edited 08/04/2012 - 1:59 PM
    Oh Lord!! Now I'm getting worried!! I'm supposed to be having a C4/5 disc replacement as my left arm has gotten so bad I'm in constant pain. I'm already on a 100mcg Fentanyl patch & 4 ES Percocets a day for my normal everyday pain of having to live with Ehlers-danlos syndrome, as well as having both my knee caps removed. So I was also curious what the heck the surgeon could possibly do for me when he starts chopping? I'm so sorry to hear about all the pain you're going thru, & I can't stand Dr's that think we're all a bunch of drug seekers!! I agree with the above statement about asking the surgeon how'd they feel after going thru what you did! Most surgeons unfortunately believe that all people should heal in the sane amount of time & require the same number of pain meds. Which is totally crazy! I can take 10x's what a normal person takes & still be in pain. It's called TOLERANCE not ADDICTION!!!! Good luck & pleasant thoughts :)
    Jenifer Ryser
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