View Full Version : Pre-surgery (long time on pain killers)

05-13-2010, 10:16 AM
Hey everyone,
This is my first time posting. I am kind of in the stage of seeing a surgeon for the fisrt time about my scoliosis. I will address this question with my surgeon, however I wanted to ask you people too. HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ON OPOID MEDS. FOR YRS? I have been on some kind of narcotic for at least 15 years. And I have had some bad experiences with my last two surgeries because of it. I have been on methadone for seven yrs. It is six times stronger than the pain reliever they had in the pump(dilaudid)
for my first back surgery. They couldn't figure out why my pain wasn't under control. Someone dropped the ball. Because I had told them many times before the surgery that I was going to need extra care in the pain managment department. Well they figured it out and got things working. BUT I was just wondering if anyone has had this problem.(It was a nightmare!)
I am 58 yrs. old. I had a double fusion in 2006. (L3/4 L4/5 with cages rods and screws.) I didn't ever really get over the pain in my back. Although it took care of leg pain for a while. Then everything collapsed and I ended up with scoliosis. Hence now I am seeing my second surgeon. First one didn't think he could handle it I guess. This one supposed to has done surgery on more scoliosis patients. I see him Friday. As I said- MY QUESTION IS "Has anyone been on narcotics for a LONG TIME before surgery.?" Any advice or suggestions appreciated. I have a ptretty significant curve.(firt doc said 40 drgrees?) And so it will be a long incision is my guess. Will know more tomorrow. Thanks for listening. Linda

05-13-2010, 11:25 AM
Good luck with your appt. Linda. Please research and choose your surgeon wisely. That makes all the difference in the world. I flew from Cleveland to St. Louis to go to mine...and it was worth it. I do not have experience of the pain killers you asked about. I have only been on them since my surgery six weeks ago, but am almost off of them now. Can't stand to be on them. But, I understand that you need them to control your pain. Best of luck to you.

05-13-2010, 03:35 PM
Sorry I can't help. I controlled my pain with Ibuprofen when necessary prior to surgery. But I was your age when I had surgery, so if there are any other questions you have, especially age-related, just ask. Welcome to the forum.

05-13-2010, 08:01 PM
I'm not post-surgical so my answer is of little relevance, but I can say that one surgeon I consulted said that the lower I could get my dose the better off I'd be after surgery when it came to controlling my pain.

I've had plenty of other operations too, and I can say for sure and certain that I needed (much) more anesthesia. It's a good thing to discuss this in advance with the anesthesia dept., preferably (if possible - ie if it's not just a lottery of who's on duty), with the anesthesiologist who will be working on you.

Personally, I'm quite concerned about hearing I'll have to cut way back on NSAID painkillers which help me tremendously. Before the surgery, they have to be stopped for blood loss (they're anti-coagulants) and afterward, they're usually reduced because there is considerable research suggesting they retard bone fusion.

I KNOW I've hit the ceiling in the past on narcotics (meaning there was no incremental improvement from a higher dose) and hate to think these losses- NSAIDS - will have to be made up for with more narcotics. Again. Getting off them was hell. I was up to well over 120 mg hydrocodone/day plus 20mg oxycodone PRN when I went cold turkey in June. Just worked up to it after a bit of downward titration. I found the insomnia to be the worst side effect.

After one has been on narcotics for a good while, it changes your brain chemistry. Re-habituation occurs more easily and there is also a cross tolerance to all opioids. I wish they'd come up with something better! :(

Good luck!

05-16-2010, 08:17 PM
Thanks for your response and helpful information also. I don't know how you just quit the narcotics cold turkey! Must have been terrible. I don't think I could do it alone.(without med. assistance) Although after my surgery(and recovery) I'm hoping to be able to get off of them. Whew! Won't be easy. But neccesary. I am hoping this surgery gets rid of the worst of the pain. We will see. I hope you get a diagnosis soon. Sounds like you have a pretty big problem. And one that needs adressed. Anyway, good luck to you. I just hope the anesthesiologist I HAVE knows his or hers stuff. And they don't drop the ball afterwards. Gentle Hugs! Linda