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how long do most people have to take pain meds after lumbar fusion?

I will be 3 weeks post op tomorrow and am still having to take 2 oxycodone pills every 4-6hrs I'm terrified of becominig addicted but there is still lots of pain is this normal for most people following fusions?


  • I had a double lumbar fusion with disc replacement L4 L5 S1 when I was 19. I left the hospital on loratab 1 tablet every 4-6 hours around the clock for about 3 weeks and was on pain medication just during the day for about 5-6 weeks. Then I only took it when I over did it or was having a bad pain day. Everyone is different. I think also age has to do with how quickly you heal as well. Also if you have been on pain medication for a long period of time prior to your surgery you may require more for longer do to tolerance. As long as you are only taking it when you absolutely have to, using other things like ice or heat for pain control as well, and communicating with your doctor I think you are doing everything you can to stay safe when it comes to the addiction side of narcotics. Your body may become dependent physically which your doctor should discuss with you, as well as help you tapper off of your medication appropriately when the time is right. Hang in there. Fusion is a huge surgery and takes a long time for your body to heal and recover. I hope you have a quick recovery. Take care.
    Kristie H
  • Still on them and 4 months out. Depends on pain level and threshold. I'll continue mine another month while I start PT then, taper off under doctor guidance the next. 3 weeks isn't that long unless you've had an addiction problem previously. Most of us with pain take them for pain and once that's gone we simply don't need the meds anymore. Always good to be conservative but, you want to stay ahead of the pain long enough to function and start to progress physically (in my opinion).
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  • Three weeks isn't a good litmus test for weaning off pain meds. You may need them for rehab if you're like me. Unfortunately, I've never been totally off everything. The doctor took care of the pain I was have pre-surgery, but a whole different kind of pain replaced it.

    Everyone is different. Just keep a positive attitude and only take the medication when you actually need it.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • Doug HellDoug Hell Posts: 332
    edited 04/10/2015 - 2:57 AM
    .... so my advice is to stop worrying about pain pill addiction and focus more on the healing aspect. Being dependent on them and being addicted to them are 2 entirely different realms. When the time comes, there is a way to get off of them and if you're dedicated enough, you WILL succeed. In the meantime, get well.

    Asking that sorta question is the equivalent of asking when a person will get over open heart surgery. The sky is the limit and everyone is different. No one can answer that question for you, my Friend. There are many variables and factors that go into play with regard to this.

    I am 15 months post-op cervical fusion and still have pain. I am now dealing with chronic pain, so if this confuses you any more, I apologize, but it is what it is. Everyone is different. I will be dealing with some sort of residual pain for the rest of my life. I manage it and I deal with it. Life could be worse based on what happened to me, so I am ok with it.

    Sending healing vibes your way...
    Realize that FEAR is our worst enemy. Get up & get out in that stormy weather of the real world & kick fear in the teeth. Stare at it dead in the eyes & walk right through it into the storm; because once you're wet, you won’t fear the rain anymore
  • Thanks for all the advice. I understand everyone is different I worked as a paramedic and seen so many people that were so mentally and physically addicted to opiates I've been hearing comments from people saying that they can't believe I'm still taking meds and after other surgeries in the past, I was off them within says to weeks of course this is not the same type of any surgery I have had before and want to make sure that this is normal and yes this pain is not like any other I've ever experienced I started pt this week and when I go they cause more pain from working muscles that haven't been used in half a year I had an unstable vertebrae and major rupture of disc that took that long to diagnose so have been pretty much useless for 6 months and before surgery just took lots of otc pain meds such as nsaids and Tylenol so just trying to be careful for the use of opiates is all thanks again for all the info.
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  • I went off them at 8 weeks post op l5s1 fusion. I was then cleared to go back to my desk job soon after. Now, 4 months post op, I'm having lots of low back/muscle pain. I'm trying to get a refill for Soma, but am having a hard time getting that from my surgeon's office. Tylenol doesn't seem to cut it. After 8 hours of sitting at a desk, I'm miserable. Wish I wouldn't have tried to be so quick to heal. I know I should exercise and walk more, but after a full day at work, I'm too tired to do anything. Don't rush it.
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