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Pain meds 6 days after L4-L5 fusion

My husband and I are trying to get a better feel for what is an appropriate level of pain meds just under a week out from surgery. He had L4-L5 interbody fusion with 2 small(ish) incisions on Wednesday. He was on 10mg Oxcodone every 3 hours plus PCA in the hospital with Valium once or twice a day if needed until discharge on Saturday. We are home now with the Oxy and Valium. The pharmacy told us to try to space it out if we can or take 5 mg instead of 10 if possible. Every time we try that, he ends up with out of control pain that takes 6+ hours to get back under control. Is it just too soon, are we being too aggressive for 6 days out and wait a bit, or keep trying? I know that nobody can give medical advice, just looking for some perspective about what is "typical" He is up and moving regularly with the walker - 45 years old, if it matters.



  • Hello SuperSpouse

    Welcome to Spine-Health

    Be assured of good intentions and replies coming from personal experience only...that said..with pain levels like these so far, close communication with his PCP is highly advisable.

    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • Hi - I agree with William, your doc really needs to give some guidance, controlling pain is top priority so I'm a little confused as to why a pharmacist is weighing in on the topic. And listen to your body - if meds are needed, take them, it doesn't make sense (to me) to space them out until you're ready. 

    My experience - I had L4/L5 fused May 18th, I am 46 years old. It was my second fusion, pain management was harder this time around (it was ALIF/PLIF and last fusion was ALIF only). I was on dilauded and tapered off over a two week period after leaving the hospital. I really wanted to be taking muscle relaxants but was told not to mix so I had added incentive to get off the opioids. (In hindsight I should have gone home with Percocet, I think it would have managed my pain better than dilauded - again, personal opinion). By week 3 or 4 post op I was only taking Tylenol and occasional Flexeril. I'm fortunate, I know lots of folks are on meds longer. I used a cane and backbrace for about 4 weeks post-op.

    Good luck in your healing, it's a marathon not a sprint :)

    Jan 2009 L5-S1 ALIF
    May 2017 ALIF L4-L5 with PLF rods added L4-L5-S1
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  • SharreeSharree OklahomaPosts: 18

    Hi Superspouse

    Your husband has been thru a lot so his body will know when to taper off the 10mg..  it takes time a lot of time to heal.  But until then no need in hurting because it's horrible to let the pain get out of control. He's ahead of the game tho with a super spouse to help him!!! 

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