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L5-S1 Fusion on12/23/2014 very nervous

edited 12/15/2014 - 12:24 PM in New Member Introductions
Hi my name is Tami,
My surgery is scheduled in about 9 or 10 days and I am getting very nervous.
I don't know what to expect once I'm discharged to come home. I have
a thousand thought and questions about others experience with this
type of surgery.
I have degenerative disc disease and my L5-S1 is causing a lot of intense
pain, loss of bowels (once), left thigh completely numb and feels like
my TENS Unit is on my thigh on the highest setting, the biggest issue
is I feel like my back gets 'stuck' and it is the worst pain I have ever felt!

I'm happy to have joined this site. Hopefully I didn't over board with my introduction.

Also I forgot my password and am on a one day password.
I tried to change it but it wants my original password and I don't remember it.
Any help will be greatly appreciated :-)


Welcome to Spine-Health

It would be very helpful if you could provide us with more details. Here are some questions that you
should answer:

  • - When did this first start?
    - Was it the result of an accident or trauma?
    - What doctors have you seen?
    - What Conservative treatments have you had? Which ones?
    - What diagnostic tests have you had? And their results
    - What medications are you currently using?
    - Has surgery been discussed as an option?
    - What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?

Providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
of your situation and make it easier to respond.

Please take a look at our forum rules: Forum Rules

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 12/15/14 18:24



  • I began experiencing low back pain for approximately 3 years.
    Over the years I have experienced injuries to my back. most recent injury fell on the snow and ice in 2010.
    Doctors that I have seen are as follows: pain specialist, interventional pain specialist, chiropractor, physical therapy,neurosurgeon.
    I I have tried the following conservative treatment: pain medication from the pain specialist, two epidural pain injections from the interventional pain specialist, chiropractic care, physical therapy.
    I have had 2 MRI's this year, a CAT scan this year, regular xrays. I do not have the report in front of me but will do my best to recall everything. I was diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease (which by the way my Aunt and her son have handy same exact diagnosis.) Spinal stenosis, arthritis, 3 bulging discs. Was told by the pain specialist that there was nothing they could do surgically therefore I have lived the last 12 months on a plethora of medications.
    Since the epidural pain injections did not work, that I would be being referred back to the neurosurgeon. He then ordered another MRI at the specialty hospital he is part owner in and two weeks later I was in his office and it was at that time he stated since the conventional treatments did not work my only option was the fusion surgery.
    I and currently taking oxycontin 10 milligrams twice daily, oxycodone 5 milligram immediate release tabs 1 to 2 tabs every 3 hours, gabapentin 4 per day. My surgeon has taken over my pain management. The pain specialist that I had been seeing for the past 12 months prescribed me one hundred and eighty oxycodone 10 milligram 325-6 tabs per day, gabapentin 350 milligram capsules - 4 times per day, meloxicam - one tab per day, soma 350 milligrams - twice per day. One things that I do not understand is why she did not prescribe something for breakthrough pain.
    I also take clonazepam for PTSD anxiety for the past 7 years.

    My surgery was originally scheduled for December 23rd 2014 however they called this past Monday and I had my surgery on December 17th and I was discharged yesterday the 18th. I am 2 days post op and I just don't really know how I feel. I honestly do not feel not the oxycontin 10 milligrams does much of anything at all for me, the oxycodone 5 milligram immediate release tabs honestly I don't feel that they help and I don't like the fact that I have to take you know something every 3 hours. I do not set an alarm clock every 3 hours to take the oxycodone. I have not slept a full night in a very long time so if I wake up then I'll take the oxycodone in the middle of the night.

    Dr's plan of action for me is physical therapy starting this Monday December 22nd it'll be 3 times a week and I am not sure how long that will last and when they will start bumping me down to possibly two days a week or however it is are going to do that.

    Thank you for allowing me to join your group.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 12/20/2014 - 5:51 AM
    Your surgeon has given you both extended release pain medication and immediate release or what is commonly referred to as "breakthrough " medications. Oxycontin is the extended release medication, and the oxycodone is the immediate release or breakthrough medication. The gabapentin is used to treat nerve related pain.
    When it comes to long acting medications, they work differently than immediate release as you may not feel them "kick in", although they are working. The use of extended release medications is to maintain a steady blood plasma level of pain medications throughout the day and night, so there aren't the ups and downs that frequently occur with using immediate release or short acting medications. The 5 mg oxycodone is a short acting/immediate release/breakthrough medication. I would strongly recommend though that if you don't need to take both tablets every three hours, that you don't.........it only serves to drive up your tolerance quickly and when you do need something to ease additional pain levels, there is nothing available to ease that pain.
    Even though you can take them every three hours, if you can extend the time frame between doses, it is better for you overall.
    You are still in the very early days of surgery recovery, and have a long way to go, so sleep disturbances are normal and common. You can talk to your surgeon about using an over the counter sleep aid but with the klonopin on board, he may not want to give you anything else since klonopin also is used as a sleep aid from time to time.

  • Thank you for explaining this all to me. I am also taking Dexamethasone 4mg tabs as what i refer to as 'step therapy' since the SIG or the doc's instructions.
    I am also on Clindamycin 1 every 6 hours and Moxifloxacin 400 mg tabs once per day. The pharmacy had to order that RX so my caretaker picked it up from the pharmacy late yesterday. That pill made me very tired.

    The PT I am doing at home is helping alot too!!

    4 days post op!
  • Those usually disappear in a few days to a week or so , once your body acclimates to the new medication.
    Hang in there.
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