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Continuing Back Pain 3 Months Post Spine Fusion

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,322
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi Everyone:

I will be three months post spine fusion on March 2. I am 62 years old and in pretty good health. I work full time and returned to work mid January part time and past two weeks put in full days. I work in an office environment and do spend quite a bit of time at my desk.

My concerns at this point are my pain meds and should I still need them. I am currently on hydrocodone 5/500 and need to take one every 4 to 5 hours. I have tried to cut back to 1/2 pill but that did not relieve the pain. I also tried going with Tylenol only which also provided little relief.

The pain I have is different than what I had prior to the surgery. That pain was excruiating and was from the synovial cyst pressing on the the nerves near my spine. I would call what I have now more of an ache in the back. But the type of ache that makes it difficult to function.

When I wake in the morning, it does not bother me for about the first 15 minutes when I get up. I acutally feel pain free for that 15 minutes. Then it starts to ache and the pain meds are needed. I sleep well at night and when my back is really bothering me I lie down on my bed with a heating pad and that really helps.

I would really appreciate any feedback on what others have experienced with their spine fusion and continuing discomfort. I have my 2nd follow-up with my surgeon on March 3 so will have to address the pain issue with him at that time.

Throughout this healing process I've had major concerns regarding becoming addicted to the pain meds warranted or not.




  • I have not had a fusion, however from what I have read I think you are doing fine! As for the pain medication, everyone is different. You sound like you will be fine in time. I would say as always, that talking this over with your doctor is always recomended. Pain medication is a tricky business. You have probably allready been taking it long enough you will have a few discontinuation symptoms when you quit. Pushing that before you are ready will likely only increase the possibility that you will fail! Idealy you will be at the point when you do quit you can comfortably taper to that half tab you mentioned, then streatch it out longer and longer between doses until you quit. Hope this helps!

  • I am at about the same stage as you. I had two level fusion and disectomey on Dec 11 posterially. I am still on fentyl patches and just and lowering the dose to 50 mg from 75. I take oxycodone 30 mg every 4-6 hours (usually 4) for breakthru pain. I feel alot like you. If I sleep well, I need to take meds when I get up to stay ahead of the pain. But I think mine too feels different. I had 3 discs torn, 2 with annular tears. So I think we are on the same track. I dont feel bad about my meds, cause I was on alot of meds for a long time. My Dr is not concerned about it, he said we will decrease them as I get better. He also said that I went through a major 8 hour surgery and everyone has their own timetable for healing. Hope this makes you feel better, and you can PM me at any time. I will be anxious to hear how your Dr visit goes. I have had two and am on track so far.
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  • I am 1 year out my fusion and still need pain meds - I was weaned at post-op week 5 when "things happened", and have made a turn for the worst. I have this anger, "I did the surgery so I wouldn't need pain meds"! You are absolutely right that pain meds are tricky business - then again pain in and of itself can do a lot of bad things like cause high blood pressure, poor memory, etc. That's why we rely on the PM's to help us find the balance. One thing on reading your post - I too rely on plain Tylenol in the am when I work- is that each of those Vicodin have 500 mg of tylenol; if you take 4-5 a day you are at a pretty high level of Tylenol (2500) that can be very bad for your liver, plus the pain Tylenol in addition (extra strength is 500 per pill); so you may want to make sure you PM knows that you take plain surgeon.Tylenol too. And don't feel offended if your surgeon tells you to see PM instead on your next appointment.
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