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Post Surgery Medications???

Hi everyone. I am scheduled for a 2 level fusion L4/5 and L5/SI on November 20th. I have dealt with my pain issues for over 12 years..including injections/rhysotomys, and MANY different medications. Pain meds don't work to much for me (barely take off the edge off pain) but I don't have side effects with them. I have been reading other posts and keep hearing about neurontin, gabapentin...nerve pills being administered after surgery. I have had bad reactions to these meds in the past...from blind/blurred vision, rapid heart beat, weight gain, and many more. One doc tried to say I had Fibro because he couldn't figure out my pain and put me on Lyrica. This one did help with some nerve pain but I gained 10 lbs in 2 weeks and my BP went through the roof. Dang I would like to write him a letter and tell him what a hack he is...but that is a different thread.

So..my questions are...do you think the pain meds will be enough after surgery or should I put up with the loss of vision for a while and/or can you suggest some other meds I can research before surgery? I would love to get off the narcotics...after a normal recovery time. Second question. how long were you all on pain meds after surgery? Shiz I have been on them for 12 years and know it will take time to taper off but I also want to find out when I should try to start that process.

Thanks in advance for any advice


  • brvsfan99bbrvsfan99 Posts: 113
    edited 11/16/2012 - 2:53 PM
    not given anything for nerv pain after my fusion surgery on 10/29. I'm doing ok but I don't think I have the built up tolerance to pain meds like you seem to have. I don't have any advice to give you. Just wanted to let you know that some of us do ok without the nerve pain meds.

    Single level L5/S1 360 fusion with 6 screws and a rod (10/29/12)
    Diagnosis: Grade 1-2 spondylolithesis, Pars Defect, L5/S1 disc tear anterior and posterior, DDD, spinal stenosis
  • Jodi.
    I am glad to hear you are doing okay without the nerve meds. Good luck to you and I hope you have a full and speedy recovery.
  • DaveFusionDDaveFusion Posts: 476
    edited 11/16/2012 - 5:42 PM
    I have been on Lyrica for 10 mths now. Unlike yourself, it is ok for me and I was able to loose weight.

    I think I was fully off analgesics after a month from L5/S1 posterolateral fusion. But are still on reduced dosage of Lyrica.

    There is a recent thread discussing alternative nerve medications, hope you can find it.
  • Thanks Dave - I will look for the thread. Hope you are doing well.
  • Mamacita57:

    I underwent a two level fusion (L4-S1) in January 2011. For the two decades of back pain prior to that date I had never taken any narcotic or even prescribed meds for my back. So when I laid out on the table even the smallest dose of anything was powerful stuff. I rarely even poked the pain button on my IV line.

    All of that changed when they disconnected it and gave me oral meds. I told them that whatever it was, it wasn't even comming close to the pain. They switched from loratabs to percocet. My pain control improved. After the 10 days post surgery of taking the percocet 10/325 I was then lowered to percocet 5/325. Life seemed to be good. I was only having to take a pill twice a day (later in the day as the pain accumulated). However, as time passed my pain level began to grow so my consumption of percocet 5/325 also increased. During this 8 month period of time we evaluated with an MRI, xrays, EMG; strengthen me with PT; and experimented with neurontin. My insurance company would not approve Lyrica (they just finished paying for a $160,000 billed surgery, but they wouldn't pay for Lyrica - go figure!). Anyway, my "ride" with neurontin was short lived. It was not therapeutic for my pain, but it sure did put me in another time zone. We stopped it and then increased my percocet to 10/325. That is what I currently take. My dose is one pill every 6 hours, not to exceed 4 in a day. What I have found to be more effective is to cut the tablets in half and take one half tablet every three hours. To date, I have not had to take more than 6 of the one-half tablets in a day's time, so I am still below the dosage. It is working for me; however, I am not sure that this will be sustainable for the rest of my life.

    I have yet to visit a PM doctor, but I am fearful that I may have to explore that option within the near future. My surgeon wants to conduct exploratory surgery to most likely conduct a revision fusion. A second opinion from a NS countered that option and recommended pain management. I am really confused and feel as if I am strattling the fence.

    On the bright side throughout all of this post surgery challenge I have lost 15 pounds. When I laid on the operating table I weighed in at 155. Now I am around 140 and still heading south. One of my new challenges (irritation) is to continuously pull up my pants. If I didn't have a 61 year old face people might mistake me for some of the younger citizens who go around "sagging." My point is that meds affect each of us differently. The potency and the dosage are variables that must be addressed as well as the source of pain. Mine was not nerve pain; it was and stille is mechanical. Neurontin was useless; percocet is effective.

    Lots of information about me. Hope it helps in some regard.

    Good luck with your surgical intervention.

  • Thanks for the information. It looks like a long process but worth the journey for me. I really don't know how these insurance companies get away with the stuff they pull. I hope you continue to recover.
  • I'm hving XLIF on L3 - L5 on the 20th. Good luck to us!!!

    XLIF 2-4 on 11-20-2012
  • Not long until your surgery!
    There is a thread entitled November Surgeries Buddies, where there are several of us who have either had, or are about to have surgery. Why don't you come along and join us? It is great to have support from others who are in a similar position while in the long recovery phase.

    I had a lumbar fusion in March 2010 but didn't have big issues with pain after surgery. I think I had so much pain before surgery that the recovery pain was much more bareable.
    If you have been taking high levels of pain meds for a long time and are worried about pain relief after your surgery, I would talk to your anaesthetist when they come to talk to you just before surgery and let them know of your concerns. I think I would mention it to my surgeon too if I was in your position.

    Hope to see you on the November thread :-)
  • Mamacita57MMamacita57 Posts: 53
    edited 11/18/2012 - 7:46 AM
    I wish you the best
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