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Posterior fusion of several levels and pain management

Pain management thoughts after a posterior cervical to thoracic fusion:

I hope to reach someone who is getting a posterior fusion. (7 level C2-T2) can't stress enough about getting your dr.'s words (directly) when it comes to anything. I went to an excellent surgeon and I am nearly 6 weeks posr-op. This was an horrendous surgery pain wise for several weeks after the procedure. With this surgery you are in the hospital for a few days. Prior to the surgery I asked what the pain management was going to be due to hearing others on this sight. The NURSE said for the first few days I would be given morphine or dilaudid. Then switched to oral. When I came to I was alright thanks to the anesthesia. Then the pain hit. It truly was excruciating. Felt like each muscle fiber was being torn off. I know pain due to my face up 9lb 10 oz baby who got stuck after being induced. With that I was able to get an epidural. This pain you just can't imagine. I was given 10mg of oxycodone every four hours and then two hours later a lortab that was given every four hours. I thought there was a mistake. The nurse called and spoke to the surgeon and he said no, this will be the best overall for the patient. Never again. I was allowed xanax every four hours for smoking as needed. Nurse came back to me with a plan thank God. She started me on that with the oxy. Kept me sleeping. What my Dr. did was cruel. I made it through and after a few days went to a rehab hospital. Without me saying anything the dr. changed my pain control to 15 mgs. of the oxy every three hours. I will say that I'm recovering well and at home getting my stamina back. Pain is controlled well post operative by my Dr. With Norco 10/325s. That same nurse also told me my neck brace would be off in 6 weeks. After the surgery the surgeon told me 12 weeks 24/7. The brace isn't too bad if you can sleep with your head elevated in either a hospital bed or with lots of supported pillows like memory foam. I was told my feather mattress cover would be good and has been great. In summary I just want others to make sure you get your dr. to prescribe IV pain meds. I also recommend that you go to a rehab hospital and get some memory foam pillows. I'm doing well still have some rough spasms and don't have very much stamina. Three to four hours is about all I can stay up out of bed, butt yesterday made it eight. It's rough but you just have to go easy on yourself. R set when needed.


  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 557
    You had a huge surgery! I can't imagine the pain you were in? I'm glad you are home & on the road to recovery. Take it slow & easy & don't overdo it. I wish you continued healing & less pain everyday.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I've had 2 ACDF but possibly facing posterior fusion too. I know posterior is more painful. And I fear inadequate pain control too.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • All I can say is talk to your doctor directly for his idea pain control if you stay in the hospital. I had anterior over four levels and it was a breeze comparatively. Posterior is horrific pain. You need strong muscle relaxers and narcotic pain control for a while. I'm doing fine now 6 weeks post-op. Muscles relaxers and norco 10/325 is cutting it and dr. Is starting to decrease the dosage of norco,but the spasms will continue for a few months so muscle relaxers will continue. I wish you a successful surgery!

  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 557
    I agree with you that posterior fusion surgery is much more painful than anterior. I've had both. I only wish I had found this site before my posterior surgery. I ended up staying in hospital an extra day because they couldn't get my pain levels under control. I was so unprepared for all that pain! I take the blame for being unprepared because I never thought to discuss this with my doctor. I foolishly assumed it would be like my first surgery. My muscle spasms were out of control! I hope you have a good recovery!
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    edited 03/17/2015 - 9:46 PM
    I had been on Vicodin for pain before surgery and that was my orders after surgery;. 1 vicodon every 4 hrs. I had a melt down because it did nothing for the post op pain. After having a long talk with my dr meds were changed to pain pump which by the way is what was ordered for pain to begin with but someone somewhere read something wrong. Talk about being upset!
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