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Hi guys!  I'm Kathy, I'm 54 and new to this forum.  I have had chronic pain in my back due to scoliosis for years.  Five years ago I was on 100mcg fentynal patch, Lortab 10 for break through pain, klonipin for anxiety.   I felt I was too dependent emotionally on all the meds, so I checked myself into the hospital and detoxed.  It was extremely unpleasant!  I learned how to deal with my pain with ibuprofen, meditation and being intune to my body.  I have been very successful with this.  It was the right thing for me because addiction runs heavily in my family.

Three years ago I was in a pretty bad vehicle accident. My car was totaled, my life hasn't been the same since.  I have managed to stay off of opioids, but it has been a struggle.  Two years ago I had acdf level C3, C4, C5 & C6.  I did take pain meds for 7 days postoperative.  Next month I will be having another surgery.  Anterior to clean up C6 , and posterior to fix C7.  

I have been researching the posterior surgery, and from what I've read, it is a lot more painful then anterior surgery.  I'm really scared about the amount of post op pain I will be in.  I want to be realistically prepared going into the surgery.  How long can I expect to be in severe pain?  I'm no hero, I will take what I need to be comfortable.  I just want to be well informed and prepared mentally.

Any advice is welcome!

Thanks kitkat10



  • RDavidGRRDavidG Jacksonville FlPosts: 0

    Congrats on your detox KitKat! That by itself is a major accomplishment! Advise your surgeon prior to surgery and he might be able to prescribe something else to keep you from having to go back through it. I'm also possibly facing a posterior refusion and like you am concerned about the post op but I'll maintain a positive attitude and grit my teeth lol. Hang in there!

  • I had posterior cervical surgery.  I had a bad experience with it, was the most painful surgery I have ever had. But that doesn't mean yours will be bad. I have a new MS that did my lower back surgery and he said he would have never went through the back of my neck to do that surgery.  But everyone is different when it comes to surgery. Just be ready for anything and it will be fine. You are already a strong person by over coming pain like you have so stay on the same path and you will be great. 

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  • @kitkat10 I think you are very brace and smart to detox when you did. Post surgical pain is much harder to control when your tolerance is so high. I had posterior fusion surgery on my lumbar spine. Please remember everyone is different, and everyone's pain tolerance is different. Try not to be too anxious. I'm sure your doctors will keep you comfortable. Plus, you're tolerance will be so much lower now. So it will be much easier to control your pain. You can do this! Look at everything you've done so far! You are so strong! Keep us posted! 

    Retrolisthesis C4 of C5 and C5 of C6
    Spondylolthesis C5/C6
    Disc protrusions with Annular Tears C3/C4, C4/C5, and C5/C6
    Disc Material Compressing Spinal Cord C3/C4
    Severe Forminal Stenosis C5/C6
    Ankylosing Spondylitis 
    Annular Tears L3/L4 and L5/S1
    Enlarged Facet Joints/Facet Anthrosis L3/L4/L5
    PLIF with Rods, Cage, and Pedicle Screws-L4/L5
  • @kitkat10, I can share my (limited) experience.  I'm a recovering alcoholic, and taking pain meds really scares me, as I've lost too many friends who relapsed on pain meds.

    I always make sure that all of my doctors know I'm in recovery, and therefore at increased risk for addiction/abuse.  An ounce of prevention and all that.  It's just part of my medical history.

    I keep written track of when I took my medication.  Again, keeping a log helps me protect against forgetting whether I've taken a dose, and taking a double. 

    I make sure that I talk about it with other folks in recovery.  When I had surgery, there were at least three people that I knew and trusted that were aware I was on pain meds.  Helps me to be accountable.

    I've had my spouse dispense meds for me.  Note: this only works if you have someone that is available pretty constantly.

    There are lots of good suggestions on the forum as well for dealing with pain meds post surgery - some of the more senior members can probably point you in the right direction.  My only surgery experience so far has been fairly minor.


    Herniated L3/L4 disc, ESI, Microdiscectomy 2017

    Every day pain free is a gift, and depends on me following directions and taking care of myself.

    Say. what's this I'm eating again?

  • Hi Kitdat10

    Welcome to this very informative website.  Spine-health has helped me over the last 3+ years with support, information and also allows me to give back to others when it is their turn to go through surgery.

    I have had 3 surgeries now and my last was 6 weeks ago TLIF L4/S1 .  This was posterior surgery.  I won't lie, it was painful, but the one things to remember at those times, is 'time will pass' and it does and the pain does improve.  I am making a slow but positive recovery and the nurse told me yesterday that I am making good progress, which is brilliant to hear.  It is difficult sometimes to know if recovery is going as well as it should be, so to hear that from a nurse who sees hundreds of patients was good for me.

    You can search at the top right hand corner of the page for anything you cannot find and that will take you to previous posts.  There is  lot of information on here plus lots of members that have a huge amount of experience with surgeries and back issues that they are willing to share.

    It was comforting for me to know when I first joined, that I had somewhere to log on to to get support when I needed it.  Families are brilliant support but do not always understand some of the things that only somebody when has that a condition can understand.

    You have done so well with your progression and that shows you have willpower, which always helps during surgery recovery.

    Please keep us updated on your progress through  surgery and I hope you find help through the August Surgery Buddies group.

    Take care




    L5/S1 herniation Apr 2013
    nerve root injections Oct 2013
    L5/S1 discectomy Jan 2014
    L5/S1 nerve roo &, facet joint injections & edpidural Jan 2015
    L5/S1 revised discectomy, L4/L5 discectomy & Wallis Inswing Stabilisation L4/L5 May 1st 2015
    L4-S1 TLIF with decompression June 2017
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