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How long did you need pain meds and when did you stop aching?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm new here and am just wondering how others have done with spinal fusion recovery? I'm at 9 weeks today and feel pretty good, although I still take the vicodin/valium daily. Is it normal to need pain meds at 9 weeks still, because if I didn't hurt I wouldn't take them but people seem to think one shouldn't still need pain medication at this point?!

Also, for other's with similar surgeries, how long was it before you felt normal? My orginal back pain is gone but I still ache, which I assume is part of healing from surgery still? I had Grade 2 Spondo/ Spinal Stenosis and TLIF/Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 on April 22, 2008. I'm still wearing the hard, plastic shell (brace) which I should be able to stop wearing in 2 weeks at my 3 month check up. I'm beginning to think that is part of my hurting still problem...

Anyhow, just wishing to hear about others' experiences with similar surgeries. I'm trying to read posts here but find it uncomfortable to sit for too long still...

Thanks and I look forward to meet and talking to others in a similar boat.



  • hi vicki
    welcome to the forum
    i am not your normal case but i am almost 7th out 2 level L4-S1 i still take meds but i am having issues, but that is just me. talk to your doc about this. i wore my brace for 5 mths but only when i was outside of the home or if i felt unstable at home.
    normal well i can't help you there, everyone is different, we all wish we were normal, but some fall back their routine when they are 100%.
    good luck with you healing
    soft hugs
  • Thank you Maria :)
    I know everyone is different, but I am still interested in how others are doing, handle it and what they've been through. I'm not sure I'll ever feel "normal" haha, but I guess I meant healed?

    Well, I'm sorry you are having issues - I wish you the best as well. I can only imagine the fight with workmans comp, I'm having a hard enough time with just my short term disability!!

    Take care,

  • I am fairly active, doing pretty well in my opinion.. I walk a mile a day at least, do p/t twice a week at the therapy place and everyday on my own here at home, all still wearing my brace of course. I am hoping when my brace comes off and I do that therapy it will help loosen my stiffness up, that I think is caused from wearing the brace?

    Enough rambling, just wanted to add that too.

  • when i was allowed out of my brace, i didn't hurt quite as much going out of the house with it was scary it was like my safety net and freaked out when i drive for the first time with out it it was just weird.
    i did do pt for 3 mth 2x a week but with no success i have a lot of muscle weakness and i have leg weakness as well can't climb stairs well. i am sure others will come in and share their story with you.
    soft hugs
  • I am still taking occasional pain meds and I am at about 20 weeks. No worries!
  • Hey Vicki,

    I am 9 months post- op and I am PAINKILLER FREE!!!!! I have not taken anything since about end of january - february, I occasionally take advil, but not on a regular basis. Normal...hmmmm....I started to feel more like myself around March, I just realized one day with my fingers crossed "Wow I feel pretty good". When people ask about how i'm doing, i just say i'd rather not talk about cause i don't want to jinx myself. Good Luck!!!
  • That's my question too Vicky? I'm 7 1/2 weeks out and my doctor actually upped my meds today. I came home from the hospital on a mild dosage of Lortab and that's all I've had for the past 7 1/2 weeks but starting about a week ago the pain has just been horrible. I went in for a visit today and the x-ray shown fusion so we would expect the pain to be all but gone...and it's getting worse. I haven't been allowed to start PT yet...or even drive.

    I guess we're all different, I'm hoping when I go back in 2 weeks that I'll start feeling that "upswing" I felt at 4 weeks coming back...fingers crossed.

    Good Luck with PT....it's a long road but just be patient...

  • I understand what you mean - as much as a pain this brace is I too feel like it's my safety net still. It will be very strange without it, but I think I am readay! ;)
  • Thank you, it is good to know. I started on 10 mg vicodins, then they reduced me to the 7.25 mgs which work fine for the most part. I guess I'm sick of people thinking taking 2 pills a day 9 weeks after major back surgery classifies me as an addict! :D Good luck to you, I will think positive thoughts for you as well!
  • Thank you and I am glad to hear you are feeling pretty well now ;) Sometimes I think I hurt more now at times than I did a few weeks ago, so I guess I was expecting to feel even better now? I guess the saying goes - it gets worse before I gets better, hehe!!

    Take care and thank you for the reply!
  • Thank you for the reply and for sharing. We are all different and it is nice to talk to people going through similar things. I'm sorry your pain is so horrible and I hope it gets better soon for you! Does your Dr. have any ideas as to why your pain is getting worse? I hope it gets better for you soon and please keep me posted!

    Hang in there!!
  • My first fusion was minamally invasive and was suppose to be quicker healing and less pain, what a joke!!!!! I was on Morphine, Oxycontin, Percocets, Vicodins and Soma for over a year and then they figured out I had a "failed back syndrome" so onto other means of taking care of pain via PM doc but when thast didn't work I needed another surgery~ I am 2 months out and still need about 6 percocets a day and my soma at night, and I actually feel better with my brace on.............even though it is the ugliest most constrictive thing ever I feel safe in it so afraid of getting bumped into or any jarring motion! So yes we all are very different with times of healing and pain tolerances!
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