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How Long after Surgery do I need to be on Pain Meds?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,290
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Pain Medications

My Surgeon sent me to a Pain Management Doctor a month before my surgery which I thought was weird because I figured I wouldn't need to be on pain meds long after the surgery, but I'm in more pain now than before. It's only been a week since my 2 level cervical fusion and I went to the PM Doctor the other day as they had to increase my meds. I'm currently taking Roxicodone 15 every 3 hours and I'm still in pain, but my question is, how long am I going to be on pain meds for? I know everybody is different, but I would like to hear some of your experiences on this.
Thank You,


  • It sounds like your surgeon wants pain mgt. to handle medications, it's done like that sometimes. They deal with post op pain care.
    It's hard to say how long you'll have to take meds. I've been on Fentanyl patches, Norco, muscle relaxers, cymbalta and motrin about 7 months since my 2 level fusion with instrumentation. The pain is chronic and it never improved post op. This happened to me last year too when I had a microdiscectomy. I just never got better despite numerous treatments. My last option now is an SCS or morphine pump.
    It's still early in the recovery for you and it will take some time to heal. I hope you get to feeling better soon. Take care
  • I thought the purpose for surgery is to be out of pain or at least, experiencing less pain. I didn't expect to be in more pain. My PM Doctor was talking to me about the patch before my surgery but I was afraid to go on it, now I think I'd rather be on it because I wake up during the night in pain. How do you feel about the patch verses pills?
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  • Wow......8 weeks and your still in pain. I do take Skelaxin at bedtime and it does help a little. You have to wait that long before PT? I go to my Doctor on Monday so I'm going to ask him a lot of questions. I too work at a computer most of the time, but I don't have to go back to work until I'm ready.......so are you taking more meds since surgery or less now?
  • With the patches, you put one on every 3 days, some do every 2 days. You don't worry about taking pills every few hours and Fentanyl is a very potent medication,
  • ..and I still take Valium daily for the muscle spasms & dilaudid (morphine dirivitive) PRN for chronic pain...

    Sometimes asprin helps, as do ice packs, but this is chronic now & I figure (as does my NS) that if pain meds help me to be productive (working, getting back into my life etc) it's worth it.

    Everyone is different. Someday I hope to be able to function w/o this stuff, but for now....

    I still take a sleeper at night also, as that's when I really feel the effects of the exertion of the day & realize I still have a long way to go. NS is still my "pain mgmt doc"--did have a pain mgmt doc between surgeries 2 & 3, but that was mostly injections which only made things worse.

    Kimmy, you are still very early post-op...pain will still be there, altho it does get better eventually, or "changes" into other things, etc.

    It's just part of the fusion fall-out, I believe.

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  • Yep, still have pain. Apparently, my doc is very conservative and takes things verrrrry slow. I'm still in my soft collar and no PT until end of January. I felt ready to come back to work, but only part time. Had I known how hard it is to sit at my desk even for only four hours, I might have waited to come back.

    As far as the meds, It's probably the same or a little less than after surgery. Specifically, I take Flexeril/10mg about 3 times a day and Hydrocodone/5/500mg anywhere from 1-4 a day. Doc says I can take two Hydrocodone at a time, but I rarely need that much relief.

    I'm anxious to hear what your doc says. Are you wearing a collar?
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,571
    After surgery?

    That is a very difficult question to answer. As you have read, some people have taken them a long time after surgery.
    There isn't really a cookbook when it comes to the time you should no longer need pain medications after surgery. I do know that some surgeons believe that 8 weeks is more than enough time, while others say 4

    I have not had any surgeries since 2000 and yet I am still taking pain medications. About two years ago I started with Oxycontin ER in different dosages. It was only this past
    May timeframe did I finally stop using that. But I am still using Oxycodone IR 5mg every day. Each individual is unique and all circumstances need to be considered.

    The objective of the pain medications is to get you through the roughest time during recovery. When that is complete and you are starting to regain some spinal stability, pain medications may stop. And I say MAY...

    This decision rests with you and the doctor (surgeon or pain management doctor) who is administering your medications
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • kimmyg ask your Dr, every question under the sun, keep a pad beside you when questions arise. You read any surgeons fine print and you'll find a phrase that states basically NO guarantees were given or implied, when you sign the consent form. NOBODY, not your PCP, not your Surgeon, not your PM doctor can answer your original question. They, as we, can guess and thats it, a cold hard fact. They can tell you what is expected, then when acute becomes chronic the fun really begins. Surround yourself with the best team you can, even then it can easily become a failed surgery. BTDT.

    Sounds as if Cath111 is on her way back to a full recovery and for now it was a success. If you feel 4 hours are too much please voice your concerns and let NOBODY push you into something that is painful. Sounds as if you're handling it well. Congratulations!

  • Hi Kimmy.

    I'm 8 weeks out and still take pain meds and muscle relaxers. My pain was more manageable about three weeks out of surgery, but the spasms have been consistently there. This week my pain has been a bit more difficult because I'm back at my desk job part time. Computer work puts quite a strain on the cervical spine and I'm feeling it every day. My doc says that's normal and to anticipate that the pain won't diminish until after my PT which begins the end of January.

    Just my experience.
  • Thanks for all your post on this topic. I had surgery on 12/9 and called my surgeon for refill last week. My meds were changed from Percocet to vicoden (this workds fine for me).

    My nurse mentioned that my doctor wants all of his patient weaned from narcotics by six weeks, I would assume this is common but I must admit I am worried about this. Anyone have a dr that has this "rule"?
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