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12 Months Post Fusion - Still on Pain Meds

emilyc03eemilyc03 Posts: 41
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am 12 mos post fusion (L4/L5 L3/L4). Before that I had 2 laminectomy/discectomies in the same areas. According to MRIs/Xrays my bone did fuse. I am concerned that I am now post op over 12 months and am still taking pain meds.The surgery relieved many of my symptoms (I had loss of bladder control, and loss of left leg function, which are both normal now) the pain is still what gets me. The doc told me before surgery there was no guarantee my pain would be resolved, and that it may even be worse. I went back to work at 6 months post op and consider myself to be leading a pretty "normal" life considering the back problems, but I am taking 4-6 10mg Norco's a day and still need a muscle relaxer to sleep once or twice a week. I am only 26 and am really concerned what this is going to do to my body over the long-term, however it is allowing me to lead a productive life where I am working full-time (when I am do not take pain meds I am DONE by 11am from work and need to lay down or sit in my zero-gravity chair because I can barely walk!). Does anyone have any suggestions for alternate pain management other than narcotics?? I have asked about the spinal cord stimulator, but because the doc doesn't really know where the pain is still coming from he doesn't think that would work. I am also taking 600mg of neurontin.
Thanks for any advice, I love these boards!!


  • well im waiting for an op mate and my angle on the whole surgery thing is once they do things like they do to your spine you are never going to be the same again. i would imagine after 12 months thats how its going to be for you. its work mate us flimsey humans arnt built to do the things industry demands. thats why millions of use have ruined spines
  • I'm about 5 months post-op and have to take meds only for flare ups. I would assume that a 2-level fusion would take quite a long time to heal...all those angry little nerves and stuff. Has the doc said anything about a TENS unit?
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  • Can you get a referral for pain management Dr. or physio? Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I take 2 sometimes 3 a day. I'm thinking this is something that will be part of our lives forever. I had a three level plif fusion in the same place. I'm moving along slowly, but moving... you will always have a built in barometer if you have a lot of instrumentation like me. Yesterday we had temperatures 18-23 degrees, and ice and high humidity. Very strange for Colorado. We either get snow, or rain, or sunshine, no in-between, but never high humidity and ice storms. I thought I was ganna die the past two days, I felt like I did before I had surgery, it brought me to tears. Thank God, I do have my percocets cause I think I took about 6 yesterday.
  • You asked other alternatives to pain managment then narcotics.

    Mabye deep tissue massage??? Weekly or monthly
    Water therapy?? As in a inside pool at a YMCA etc.
    Back to physical therapy for awhile??

    I have a friend that is a member here and 12 months out. She started going back to the gym. She still gets pain here and there. So I think its just going to be a normal part of our life. Not for everyone of course.
    Then as we tend to age we are going to get those aches and pains no matter what :D :D

    Also I found to work when I am walking around for awhile or sitting the therma care heat wraps are heaven. O:) They have them for your back, neck, knees, wrists. I just wish they were not so darn expensive because I would have them on all day long!!

    Also if you did physical therapy during your recovery. Try to do your stretches everyday. That also may help.

    Have they done a recent MRI to see if there is anything else going on back there????

    If those things don't work, I would consider you find a pain managment dr. I have one (that I need to go back to in January) that just specilizes in backs.
    I know you do not want the narcotic route. But a long acting medication that does not contain tylenol or motrin may benefit your body in the long run. So something to think about and talk to a dr about.

    Take care and hang in there
    Terri >:D<
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  • that maybe massage, PT, aqua may be able to help.
    Also as you know you have fused then maybe an anti-inflammatory medication can help you if you take it on a daily basis.
    You need to have a chat with your PCP or PM Dr to get some answers as it will depend on the type of pain you are getting as well.

    Blessings Sara O:)
  • I agree with Terri that the Thermacare wraps are wonderful. Also, the back wraps that have pockets for ice packs work pretty well for pain control, too. I have used both when I needed to travel for several hours and knew so much sitting would be painful. I have also used the icy hot patches.

    I think Terri and Sara both mentioned aqua therapy. I have found that really helps.

    A friend swears by her TENS unit and wears it at work to control back pain.

    Do you sit for long periods at work?
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