PDA

View Full Version : What does post-op pain compare to?



ripley
12-29-2011, 07:49 PM
Hi All - I'm having the surgery at the end of May (T4 to Sacrum) and am getting cold feet. I was wondering if anyone could compare the immediate post-op pain to something else (greater or less than: broken bone, abscessed tooth, burn, child birth, etc...). I'm sure it is very different from most all and no comparison would be exact - but I'm trying to get some idea of what to expect. Thanks so much!

Lilysaidwhat
12-29-2011, 09:23 PM
I've never had a baby, but I can say that I had a posterior 14-level fusion last year and would say that it was a solid 7.5 out of 10 on the pain scale (10 being on fire and praying for death).

Fractured wrist for me was a 2. Wisdom teeth cut out was a 4 (dry sockets).

Pain management is critical and my pain was not well managed at the hospital nor at home until 9 days in, my husband demanded oxycodone and oxycontin.

You will be fine. You will survive. You will be better for it. That, I am sure of.

JenniferG
12-29-2011, 09:25 PM
For me, childbirth was far more intense. The difference being as soon as the baby was born the pain stopped!

I've had toothache that was worse. The pain meds they gave me in recovery, sort of dulled it to a more generalised all-body pain, as opposed to pain down the incision, for example. I didn't have areas of pain, though I'm sure some do.

There were times when the pain got bad, because the meds were late (that didn't happen once I got home and controlled my meds myself.)

But as you say, it's likely different for everyone.

LindaRacine
12-29-2011, 11:41 PM
Hi...

Unfortunately, immediate postop pain ranges from next-to-nothing to off the charts. Wish I knew what tilts the equation toward the nothing side. Good luck with your surgery.

--Linda

Lilysaidwhat
12-30-2011, 07:58 AM
I probably should have highlighted better in my post - I think it really comes down to pain management. I had a dilaudid pump but it didn't work - as in, it wasn't actually pumping anything. They couldn't figure out why I was still in pain post-op for several hours, until one of the SICU nurses really took a look at the machine. Once they started manually giving me dilaudid the pain was fine, so far as I know, since I was busy sleeping a lot.

My experience was that I lost more blood during surgery than expected and spent 2 days in SICU. I was out of the hospital in four days total, per my request (I live with a doctor and think that is why they let me go home). What I remember from the hospital is that, although completely fatigued and weak, I felt better standing with a walker than I did lying in the bed. I walked the staircase readily on day 3.

So yes, my pain was really bad, but I believe it's because the pain wasn't managed properly. Once I switched from percocet to oxy, I was far better. The fact is, surgery hurts and this is major surgery and will majorly hurt. Luckily, we have more than ether and biting down on a stick to get us through!

ripley
12-30-2011, 08:38 PM
Thanks for the replies. It helps to have some idea, even though everyone is different. I've been imagining all sorts of things. Lily, thats awful about the pain meds pump - you poor thing! Stairs on day 3 is impressive though, and very encouraging! Jennifer - your pictures look terrific! What a change! Linda, thank you.

bluestone
01-03-2012, 06:18 AM
I have to be honest and say that for me it was as bad as childbirth-but then I did have natural childbirth with my 2nd.My pain was very intense for 3 nights and it felt like somebody else was yelling out for someone to take the pain away.Apparantly they gave me everything they could so I dont know why my pain wasnt under control.In the end a pessery did help relieve it for a couple of hours.
I think I was just one of the unlucky ones whose pain couldnt really be stabilized for a couple of days.

jrnyc
01-03-2012, 06:30 AM
a pessery?
not to sound stupid, but i've never heard of that here in the States...

jess

patty22
01-03-2012, 09:55 AM
anyone else have any input on this? I'm really curious about how you feel immediately post-op as I'm having some sleepless nights over this!

golfnut
01-03-2012, 02:00 PM
I have never had a child so I can't make a comparison. Before surgery, I, too, was getting cold feet and even started a thread about it. I had read on this forum that someone stated the pain was "horrendous" while someone else said the surgery was "insane" and just could not imagine severe pain that would compare to these descriptions. Mine did not! I felt like my pain was well controlled in the hospital with my morphine pump. After returning home, I had achiness and had trouble sleeping. For about a month, I had some abdomen pain from the medications, constipation, etc., but on a scale of 1-10, my back pain was about a 4. I was fortunate!

Singer
01-03-2012, 02:27 PM
I obsessed over this very issue myself -- it's all part of the effort we all make to figure out the unknown, which of course we can't do. In my case, I had very invasive anterior surgery as well as posterior, and the anterior cut was much more painful than my back. I also had temporary nerve damage in my leg which hurt a lot more than the back. But the main thing I discovered about pain is that it's difficult to remember once it's over, and the anticipation of pain is far worse than the pain itself, in every instance. I also learned that pain is never severe for a prolonged period of time -- if it was a stabbing pain, it eventually subsided into something more manageable. I had a pain pump filled with Dilaudid and I know I was pressing that thing every few minutes although it was programmed to release every 10 minutes, and it did its job. I would say that overall, the nerve pain in my leg was the most painful thing about my first few months of recovery, and I haven't heard of more than a few people who had a similar complication, so you probably don't have to worry about that.

JenniferG
01-03-2012, 02:59 PM
My earlier post referred to post op pain after Day three when my epidurals were removed. My immediate post op pain and for the three days I had the epidurals, was nil. Just a general, mild achiness which didn't stop me from sleeping. I wonder why they don't use the epidurals (I had two) in the US. Anybody got any information on this? My surgeon sets the epidurals before closing.

Is it because of a fear of infection at the epidural site?

I have to say it did give me a three day break after surgery, to sleep and recuperate before I had any pain, which I was grateful for.

loves to skate
01-03-2012, 04:12 PM
My Doctor placed some kind of pain medicine (can't remember now what it was) in the wound before he sewed me up so for 24 hours post -op, I had no pain. He told me he was going to do that before I had my surgery, so I had no angst about pain. The pain pump took care of the pain after that for the most part. Truth be told though, I would rather give birth, and yes, I mean natural childbirth:)
Sally

Lilysaidwhat
01-04-2012, 09:33 AM
I bet that pump is great! Too bad mine never freakin' worked!!!! LOL

bluestone
01-04-2012, 10:27 AM
a pessery?
not to sound stupid, but i've never heard of that here in the States...

jess


Sorry I mean supository-the capsule that goes up your bottom!

bluestone
01-04-2012, 10:32 AM
My surgeon always stressed to me that this surgery is a very personal thing-you cant compare yourself to other people because some have more work done than others.For example he apparantly did a lot of work on my lower back which explains why I was in horrendous pain around my right hip for weeks-couldnt even walk to the bathroom without gritting my teeth-doesnt mean that will happen to you.
Plus my spine was in his words 'stiff and hard work' which resulted in him having to use 28 screws-especially around the apex of my spine-which is why im having problems with some protruding ones there.

Everyone is dfferent so please dont think that because someone said they have awful pain it will mean you will too.

progress
01-09-2012, 04:15 AM
In hospital the worst pain was from a bowel ilius. I would suggest doing everything possible to avoid this. My spine area itself didn't hurt at all. I had a bad abdominal ache like a severe gnawing stitch that was so bad they gave me a scan to rule out something insidious. That went away slowly over a few weeks. My surgery was all posterior and I'm still not sure what that pain was but my doctor said he did a lot of work on that side. Because my bowel was so distended I went off all pain medication except panadol for a few days around day 5 and it wasn't that bad, it was the abdominal ache that got me back on tramadol. Now at almost 5 months I get a bit of soreness around the lower right back and a little mild sciatic feeling on that side. I think once I start stretching this will help because I think I have really tightened up. Does anyone else need to do stretches and how early after surgery is ok?
Kelly

Kayde
01-09-2012, 07:47 AM
I had children -natural childbirth and I don't think I would compare my post op pain to that. I would compare it more to the worst sunburn of your life. Your skin feels funny and everything hurts to touch it for a while like deep inside. You constantly need the pain relief but you can move and get around you just get sore and you walk funny Then comes the itchy phase and if you have any rotation correction you ribs feel like you were hit by a baseball bat. With that said I'm glad to say like sunburns it only lasted for me a few days relatively speaking. I was off the oxy in 2 weeks. Didn't know you had to wean off so the withdrawals were no fun. I thought I had the flu lol. Anyway my dr put me on butrans patches and gave me lidoderm patches and that got me thru the sore ribs when I became more active. Still need it ever so often. He also got me a e-stim that if I overdo I can use to help relieve the pain. It is much better than the tenz unit they suggested first.

Roxjanine
01-18-2012, 04:04 PM
My earlier post referred to post op pain after Day three when my epidurals were removed. My immediate post op pain and for the three days I had the epidurals, was nil. Just a general, mild achiness which didn't stop me from sleeping. I wonder why they don't use the epidurals (I had two) in the US. Anybody got any information on this? My surgeon sets the epidurals before closing.

Is it because of a fear of infection at the epidural site?

I have to say it did give me a three day break after surgery, to sleep and recuperate before I had any pain, which I was grateful for.

My Dr said he didnt like the epidural because it is too numbing and it could prevent them from knowing if you are pain free because of the medication or if something could actually be wrong. Essentially, the pain is good indicator that there isnt any nerve damage etc.