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time on pain meds after surgery

I go back for my follow up doctors visit in a couple days but wanted to get some opinions here also. My surgery was over 2 weeks ago and I am still taking pain meds on the same schedule as when I got home from the hospital. I take 1 10mg OxyContin every 12 hours and 1 10mg oxycodone every 4 hours, 1 gabapinton every 8 hours.  I tried increasing the time between the oxycodone yesterday and found out really quick that the pain is still there. Does this sound normal?


  • I'm a few days past the 2mo mark, and I just finished weaning off the second of three meds.   I started reducing the Percocet first, but will say that there have been a few days where I've had a flare and needed the extra relief from the Percocet.   I am completely weaned off the Valium now, so the only medication I'm taking is the 10mg oxycontin twice a day.  
    I consulted with my doctor about every step in the weaning process, and so far,  so good.   I understand your concerns about being on these medications for an extended period of time,  but it sounds like your body is letting you know that perhaps you need to be patient and keep going on your current regimen.  You had a LOT of work done on your spine,  after all!   My double level fusion is miniscule compared to what you had done,  and that probably has some effect on what your personal weaning schedule might be. 
    Be careful,  talk to your doctor,  and follow his/her directives.   I thought I would be on all these medications a lot longer than 2mo, but I'm also accepting that I might have to return to taking them if need be (hopefully that will be a temporary thing as it was with the Percocet).  Nothing is etched in stone with recovery,  so try to take each day as it comes.   I wish you all the best...that sounded like one tough surgery you went through! 
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 971

    Hey Charles

    For all that you had done I'm surprised you're even out of the hospital at 2 weeks!!!  I agree with the sentiment to get off the pain meds as soon as possible but I also agree with Kimmy... follow what your doctor says... and listen to your body.  I was off all pain meds once I got out of the hospital on my first lumbar fusion surgery but on my second fusion surgery I was on Oxycodone for several months due to complications and severe nerve pain.  Fortunately I was able to quit without any withdrawal issues but it's all to easy for your body and mind to get hooked on them.   

    Harry - 65 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
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  • Just remember everyone is different and no two surgeries are ever exactly the same. If you are in pain take the meds. You are not going to recover your strength fighting pain as well.
  • I had the coflex implants done may of last yr. I'm still taking 400 mg lyrica everyday Percocet 7.5 mg every 6 to 8 hrs as needed I try to make it 8 to 10 but not always and 5 mg of Valium 2 times a day. I've brought myself down from 10 mg of both valium and percocet but still have a lot of pain. My problem is the surgery failed due to reasons that I won't say but there is a chance it you could be on your meds for a extended period of time unfortunately. I hate every min of this I hate the way I feel when I've taken the meds the slow light headed groggy feeling but if I try to push it I end up worse off then before. I wish you the best of luck. I was told 6 to 8 wks by my Dr but I'm the special case I guess
  • My surgery was just over 3 weeks ago. I had thought I would be off pain meds within a couple weeks. I saw my doctor Thursday and he gave me another months refill and said I should plan on needing them atleast another month. He said I should not forget that this was a major surgery and recovery can be long. He did say that he was surprised that I wasn't still using the walker to get around.

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  • I had a 360 degree lumbar fusion (3 levels) and I had (2) newly invented artificial discs implanted.
    It took 6 1/2 hours, with 2 neurosurgeons and a vascular surgeon. He cuts the front and moves everything to the side, so they can get to the spine.

    I was on a "flip-table", so once they stapled the front, they flipped me over and went in the back, without cutting ANY muscles.
    I was on 60mgs of Kadien qd and 10mgs of oxycodone TID, when they discharged me to go home.
    I am 6 weeks out, and I am off the Kadien, but I still take 10mgs of oxycodone TID, plus he added 300mgs of gabapentin, for the nerve pain down my left leg and into my numb-ish left foot.
    I was on LYRICA first, but I HATED it. I felt so weird and nauseated.

    This surgery was the most extreme one I have ever had, and I already had (4) level ACDF in 2010.
    That was much harder to get through, but it was with 8 screws and a titanium plate.
    Now they have artificial discs, so rods and screws will me a thing of the past.

    Anyone about to have any fusion, ask about artificial discs.
    The healing time is so much quicker, so less pain meds.
    They are not cutting any muscle using this method.

    Oxycontin does not "agree" with me at all.
    I'll stick with oxycodone.

    I weaned myself down before this 360 fusion, from 140mgs (qd )> EVERY DAY to 10mgs twice a day> (BID)
    I have been on oxcodone for over 20 years, because WORKERS COMP makes you try every single other cheaper method until your nerve is finally "frayed".
    I am down as "HIGH RISK MEDICATION" patient, since forever.
    Nobody wants the liability of what could happen to me going off it, so, now they are quite comfortable, prescribing 10mgs 2-3 time a day. Its a huge drop from the 140mgs I took a day, on top of all the other crap they had me on. Most of it, I just went off cold turkey.

    This surgery was approved in a nano-second because the nerve was about to severe completely.
    I read under the WC FORUM, about others being denied this exact same surgery, needing attorneys, and going to formal hearings. They want you almost paralyzed it seems.

    I am grateful to have been a candidate for these newly invented discs!
    I told the doctor, "you gave me back my life".
    "For we walk by faith, not by sight"~ Corinthians
  • Kathy77KKathy77 Phoenix Posts: 1
    I am new to the site. I am 4 weeks post op from a laminectomy at L2-L3 and L3-L4. My concern is that my pain level is still pretty intense. I am taking 2 Vicodin a day and still having a lot of pain. Is this normal?
  • cspencer13ccspencer13 CaliforniaPosts: 37
    I asked my doc about this prior to my surgery and he seemed to think situations like yours were normal. He said in his experience, the "average" is a really wide range.

    I personally can't take oxycontin, it makes me barf. I'm on percoset and I'm down to 3 doses a day, 3 weeks post fusion. 
    39y.o. mom of 4
    3/2/16 - L5/S1 fusion after a decade of trying everything else
    2015 - developed Occipical Neuralgia and bulges at C4/5 and C5/6
  • Everyone heals differently so keep that in mind. I have been on Norco since my problems started. When I have been at my best I still took 1 every morning just to knock off the edge and some days again late in the afternoon. To me that is like being weaned off of them. I also have a friend that said he takes 2 day since he recovered from surgery some 2 years ago. Some are luckier and can get off the pain meds and that's great. My doctor said 1 a day he is not concerned with and said that's not bad after all the surgeries I've had over the years. Hang on and I hope you get better soon.
    TLIF L4-S1 2007                                         TLIF L3-L4 2008                                          TLIF L2-L3 2016
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    hello kathy77!
    welcome to spine-health
    please click on link for helpful information!
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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