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L4 L5 fusion 4 .5 weeks ago.....did anybody else still need pain meds at this point?

freckles97ffreckles97 Posts: 12
edited 03/04/2015 - 12:36 PM in Lower Back Pain
Hi guys (: Love that there are others to talk to about this stuff.........also sad that there are people to talk to about this stuff .
Just wondering how long some of you required pain meds after your fusion? I did something kinda stupid earlier this week by proudly telling my family Doc that I was ready to come off the medication. She placed me on a quick "wean" of eight days which sounded good to me. i think i was taking roughly 20mg of Vicodin per day....she told me to take 10 mg for 4 days...then 5mg for 4 more days...this still sounded like a good plan until 24 hours into it i noticed that i was waking up in the night hurting and having some issues with the am..... the middle of the day is somewhat OK because I can ice and focus on other things, but the night and morning are still quite ouchy! Now I feel ridiculous. I guess I have the mentality of being judged for needing the medication along with my own personal fears of dealing with the side effects, but here I am...suffering. I know the word 'normal" is not the best approach, but instead can I ask when most of you did not need this kind of pain control anymore...again i am 4.5 weeks post L4 L5 fusion.........Thank you so much...... hugs and well wishes.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • In fact, I still take them 1 1/2 years later. Fusions normally don't take away all of the pain. 4 weeks is very early in the healing process.
    Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil
  • Yes I would imagine there will be "those" days from time to time....also ...as a side note ...when i first joined the forum yesterday; i thought my first post had not worked; so i typed a second one on this same topic....sorry everybody for the double post! And ADRjen you have quite an impressive x-ray! looks like a complete lumbar fusion? Could you please share with me what your good days look like as compared to your bad ones? Things like are you able to work ok? I really hope you are not hurting too much all the time? Thank you (:
  • I have freckles too! No, not a complete lumbar fusion. L1 is still there. Luckily I don't need to work, but probably could at some jobs. I'm able to have a fairly normal life. I do a lot of volunteer work, go shopping, entertain and take vacations. Had a bad bout of Sciatica last week, but it suddenly went away over night. I'm recovering from a total shoulder replacement right now so that's a lot more on my mind than my back.
    Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil
  • It is a relief that you have no worries with the financial side of things, but heavens.....you have been through the ringer with your skeletal system. It is good to hear that if you needed to work; you could. A shoulder replacement? Oh lord. I have known some who have had the knee replacement surgery, so i imagine it is in the same area when it comes to healing, pain, and general disruption of life. Sending a hug your way.
  • Everybody heals different...also every back surgery is different. Even if you are having the same procedure as someone else, they are different. I think it depends on a lot of things....were all your problems at the level of the fusion? Was the fusion supposed to help take care of most of the problems you have? If its just surgical pain, its completely different than pain from surgery and having pain from other problems you are still having. Everyone's level of recovering is different....I would just follow what your doctor suggests...and of course we are all here to help you! Best of luck!!!
    Spine-Health Moderator 
    Ankylosing Spondylitis
    Bulging discs T12-L3
    Annular Tears with Disc Extrusion L4-S1
    Moderate Central Canal Stenosis
    Moderate Foraminal Stenosis
    Enlarged Facet Joints/Ligaments
    Spinal enthesopathy
    L4-L/5 PLIF with cages, rods, screws 2/15 

  • If you're pain is not manageable coming off the medications, I would speak with your Dr about continuing them. Everyone does heal differently. Some are off meds in a few weeks while others are on them for several months or longer. It's all about your level of pain and if you can manage without pain medication this early on in your recovery. Just be honest with your Dr about the increased pain since trying to reduce the medication.

    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
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