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How long after your surgery did you wean off pain meds.

Im 4 months after surgery and still on Pain meds . My Dr told me he would like to see me cut back after 3 months But I get in so much pain cutting back from 4 times a day to 2 a day.

I tried  a few times to cut back But there is no way I can handle it. the surgery I had was on my 5 l5 4 and s1 fusion. I take my frist one in the morning then by the time noon gets here Im in so much pain I know I need another. I was told to stay ahead of the pain and take the meds befor the pain hits me.... So how in the world are you going to wean off meds if you are takeing theam befor the pain hits you......



  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 918
    Rickallen -  Everybody and every case is different.  Did your surgeon ever give you any updates after surgery if you had any bruising/damage of nerve roots.  It sounds like you are showing due diligence in trying to get off pain meds.  Has the surgeon performed any post-op imaging of your levels that were fused?

    I've NOT have any fusions of the low back.  My two fusions were in the neck and they had totally different recovery times.  If you have any pain management doctors taking new patients, maybe it is time to ask for a PM doctor. 
  • RickallenRRickallen MichiganPosts: 86

    My Dr. Is on top of things. I have seen 2 post-op imaging after the surgery so far. things are holding up good no damage to nerves.

    I have a dr. apt next week and he will beable to tell me if its safe enough for me to go back to work or not. Im one of the lucky ones I guess because my job is holding it for me. Most jops theses days would be saying see you later.I report to my dr befor trying to get off my meds. and so far he tells me like you . everyone is dif. he is making it my choice right now to cut back on meds. But also as the dr. rights they can only let you stay on meds for so long. I beleave in that. I my self don't like being on drugs.I would like my normal life back.

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  • rae1112rae1112 Michigan Posts: 143
    I don't know but I got told at not quite 3 weeks after a 14 level t4 to l5 fusion for scoliosis when I asked for a refill of pain meds that tressing too many pills isn't good for me and if I ask for them early again the Dr will refuse to give me any at all.  It was 2 days too early they said. I do not take to many, in fact I have been spacing them out to 8 and 9 hours most days.  I don't understand these drs. And I had to call and ask for direction on talking pain meds because nobody told me anything and I don't see the dr post surgery until the 21st for my 6 week checkup.  
  • RickallenRRickallen MichiganPosts: 86
    ITs not the dr. that's watching the refells.its the insurance co. If they see you still have some. they will make you wait tell you have less at home . I also have been going threw that so now I stay on top of it. But Im doing good weaning off I should be doing 4 times a day and im down to 3 times .I don't want my body full of drugs. It can do more harm to your self then what you think takeing to much...
  • WLLadyWLLady Ontario CanadaPosts: 1,480
    i had very little direction from my surgeon except to "cut back as you can"....i got off all the hydromorphone within 20 days of my 10 level fusion surgery.  i still take the odd tramadol - mostly just so i can get a few hours of unbroken sleep....and sometimes a regular tylenol during the day.  i do still also take baclofen, again at bedtime so i can sleep.  but during the day, i really don't take anything and haven't since a few weeks after surgery.  thing is, if you NEED it, you should take it.  but you can get hooked on them, and then end up taking them because you are i tried to get off mine as fast as possible.  not to mention that they messed with my GI system badly....
    i too would wake up in pain through the night and morning, but i found that a hot shower first thing in the morning did more for me than any painkillers could!  so now i hang out with my trusty heating pad and if it gets too bad a hot shower usually knocks it back enough for me.  the only time i have issues is night....i need to sleep more than 2 hours at a time.  i'm down to taking 1 tramacet and 5mg of baclofen at night.  that's about 7 pills less than before surgery for me! :-)  best plan though is to make a plan with your doctor.  and then try to stick to it without being miserable.  maybe there would be another pill like ibuprofen or something that could help you extend the time between narcotics....something maybe to discuss with your doctor.....
    good luck!!! and please keep us posted on how you are doing!
    Dec '16 T10-S2 fusion with pelvic fixation. Laminectomies L2, L3, L4, L5, facet removal, cages L4-5, L5-S1, severe scoliosis, arthritis and stenosis repair. 

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  • rae1112rae1112 Michigan Posts: 143
    Yeah I don't like the pain pills, but also I don't like pain. I'm going longer and  longer between pills and it feels great when I can. That stuff messes with emotions and  stomach and it's just not good. But if you do need it it's important to keep up on the pain.
    Nighttime is worst. 

  • RickallenRRickallen MichiganPosts: 86

    Yes night time is worse. Im sleeping better now . But getting up and getting my bones moveing takes me a while. Im off 1 of my pain killers but The dr is giving me 3 more moths to be off all. after that I should be ok with over the counter meds...I hope he is right. I go back to work Monday but part time. If I cant handle working Im going for disability. I go for walks and I ride my bike . But Im dead after that.

  • Is worth waiting good to hear you are off one of the med. It depends on the nature of pain and pace of recovery

    good luck!!! and please keep us updated...
  • RickallenRRickallen MichiganPosts: 86
    Will today was my first day back to work .For the first 2 weeks Ill be working only 4 hours a day.5 days a week. Tell I feel I can get back in the mood of things. And the pain gos down more.I feel lucky to have a job that will work with me on this. The min. I get home from work I was beat. So that's whats scary .I just want my normal life back. Im trying so hard not to let stress and depression sit in. But its hard to handle now that summer is here. Im a outdoors person. And that's wear I wana be.
  • My doctor's had me off all narcotics by day 5. But mine was only a 1 level fusion and the pain meds were making  me sick so obviously it's different with each case. But Tylenol has surprisingly worked wonders for me when back pain starts setting in. 
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