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fierceliketiger
03-03-2009, 01:14 AM
Wow. So, I am almost exactly 3 months out now...and I went through a bit of time where my pain was decreasing and I was doing good...about 3-4 weeks ago. Since that time I have gotten steadily worse. I called (well emailed, and she called me back) the surgeon and talked to the nurse and she said that the stabbing pains are normal and that since I had SO MUCH work done with the osteotomy and fusion I will have more pain than most. Okay..fine. But since that time I am walking less....(I promise!) I even took 2 days off because I wasn't able to sleep at all the nights before and couldn't get the energy up to walk at all those days. And I am REALLY REALLY hurting. I mean, bawling, have to keep moving or doing something with my hands, or something because I have to think about something else, HURTING. I emailed the nurse again today and havent gotten a response. I will try again tomorrow.
Also, I have a fairly high pain tolerance. I got through a lamenectomy/lipoma removal a few years ago without pain killers at all after day 2. So..this is not normal.
Any ideas or suggestions on things to alleviate this a little? Anyone else plunge into the depths of despair after a few months?

discombobulated
03-03-2009, 03:56 AM
Good grief - you poor thing...I sure hope your surgeon gets back to you soon! Perhaps it's a very high end of normal, but if I were in your position, I'd be insisting on an appointment & x-ray ASAP - in case it is a problem. But for now...

I had 2 osteotomies with my lumbar fusion almost 3 months ago & am still experiencing a lot of the stabbing/shooting pains, which I'm told are severe nerve pains (I, too, have a high tolerance for pain - but I was floored by their intensity and their constancy. And yes, at many 2 AMs, I was in despair...I really can empathise). Like you, my surgeon told me that a large portion of my post-op pain was to do with the osteotomies - as are my nerve pains. If it's nerve pain that's getting to you, I can suggest two things have helped me the most.

The quickest thing you can do (hopefully you have one) is grab a heat pack - wheat or the gel kind - & heat it to a temperature that's warm but comfortable to the inside of your wrist (no need to add burns to your list of problems, lol). If you know what vertebra level your osteotomy was performed at, place the heat pack there (of course, making sure it's comfy temperature there, too). If you're not sure, you might have to experiment with shifting it to different levels of your back, but hopefully you'll hit on it sooner rather than later. Heat packs were recommended to me repeatedly by my surgeon & is a common first-line treatment for nerve pains in hospitals here. On the downside, some types of heat packs need frequent reheating - but on the upside, it usually brings me relief within a minute. *Fingers crossed that you own a heat pack...*

The second thing that's helped massively is being prescribed a med called Lyrica. It's marketed here as a treatment for epilepsy, but is often used for neuropathic (nerve) pains. I'm told it doesn't work for everyone, but there are other similar drugs that can be tried. It's taken a while to hit on the right dosages for me, but I can't tell you how much even an inadequate dose helped me. Now, unless I overdo activity, I'm almost pain free & I'm even sleeping pretty well the full night through (for the first time in years!)....and as you'd know, getting enough sleep is so important for feeling able to cope! Is it possible that you could ask your surgeon about these meds? They take a few doses to have full effect, but within a couple of hours of my first dose, I was able to sleep for a couple of hours. I really hope this is an option for you.


I'm so sorry I can't offer you anything more useful than these suggestions. Hopefully someone else will come to your rescue with quick tips soon. Please keep us posted on how you're doing. I really hope you get some answers back from your surgeon SOON.

Take care.

debbei
03-03-2009, 06:17 AM
Are the stabbing pains all over or in one spot? I'm asking because about Valentine's day, I did SOMETHING (not really sure what) to strain/aggravate the muscles on one side that are between the ribs, they go around from back to front. It literally felt like a KNIFE was going through me from back to front EVERY time I took a deep breath. I am happy to say that I am now FULLY recovered from that setback. But let me tell you--I didn't just take 2 days off from exercise, I took 2 WEEKS off. I did a tiny bit of exercise at PT, but during those 2 weeks, most of my PT was either spent on heat or simply stretching. I'm told that this can happen from time to time and it can be normal to happen, but when it does, you have to really give your body as much rest as it needs.

Is it that kind of pain, or as Michelle is saying below, is it nerve pain? I have nerve pains here and there which are more of annoying pinching pains; they feel like bee stings and pass within a few minutes. I think nerve pain at this point is still normal.

I hope you feel better soon. ((Hugs))

txmarinemom
03-03-2009, 10:36 AM
The quickest thing you can do (hopefully you have one) is grab a heat pack - wheat or the gel kind - & heat it to a temperature that's warm but comfortable to the inside of your wrist (no need to add burns to your list of problems, lol).

Yes, be very, very careful with heat packs if you're the least bit numb in that area. Being smart like I am (doh!), I burned the CRAP out of my back more times than I can count after surgery.

Cold packs can also be very effective ... experiment and see which of the two seems to help more.

I'm so sorry you're having a rough time, FLT :(. Like Disc, I'd urge you to push for an appointment with your surgeon. While the chances are probably pretty low there's anything structurally awry, maybe he can give you something (like Lyrica or Neurontin/Gabapentin) for relief if it is nerve pain.

Post-op depression isn't all that uncommon around 3-4 - especially if you're having pain, or feel like you've hit a plateau (and they inevitably happen at some point in recovery). If it's particularly bad, why don't you talk to your surgeon about that while you're there?

Hang in there, hon, and keep us posted, okay?

Regards,
Pam

Doodles
03-03-2009, 03:57 PM
So sorry you are having such trouble. Did this pain just come on in the last few weeks? You didn't have it initially? I'm really concerned since I just checked the questions and notes from my pre-op on Feb. 18th. I'm supposed to have 4 or 5 of those things. Is this a big problem for most people? Are there other remedies or things to do to avoid these difficulties? It's interesting 2 of you said that you have high pain tolerance. I've been told that too. I think it must go with years of scoliosis suffering.
I hope you find some answers to alleviate your pain, Fiercetiger.
Janet

titaniumed
03-03-2009, 09:04 PM
Like Pam says the hot pads can be dangerous! I threw mine out.

Nothing like a hot bath to help dampen the pain. Turn the hot water heater up. Go see your Doc!

Ed

fierceliketiger
03-04-2009, 09:50 AM
Unfortunately I still havent heard back from them. But, I am going to call them this afternoon.

Thanks for all the tips. I still have some numbness on one side of my back. And my surgeon won't let me take baths yet. :-( He says getting into the tub will increase the chances of bending/twisting, and falling. :-(

txmarinemom
03-04-2009, 12:39 PM
Unfortunately I still havent heard back from them. But, I am going to call them this afternoon.

Thanks for all the tips. I still have some numbness on one side of my back. And my surgeon won't let me take baths yet. :-( He says getting into the tub will increase the chances of bending/twisting, and falling. :-(

FLT,

It's unacceptable for your doctor (or someone on his staff) to ignore you for 2 days - especially when you're in severe pain. You have a right to demand a higher level of service from his office.

Also, that's very odd you're restricted from bathing at 3 months post-op ... like showers are any safer? It's baffling he'd tell you to walk 10-15 miles a day and then say a long, hot, relaxing soak is dangerous this far out!

Regards,
Pam

asccbodypro
03-04-2009, 12:56 PM
fierceliketiger,

I am just wondering on the comment about your doctor not wanting you to take a bath as opposed to a shower. I can understand the concern of maybe slipping in the tub but I would think it's not much more dangerous than stepping over the side of the tub to stand for a shower. I have fallen in the shower many times lol.....always pregnant to...sent me into early labor one time...anyways that's beside the point! My question here is by 3 months post op shouldn't the wound be healed up enough to sit in a bath? Maybe I just misread....I do have a screaming baby right now...ugh!

fierceliketiger
03-04-2009, 07:43 PM
Well, we have a walk in shower...so that in itself isnt too dangerous. But he says since I have a really deep soaker tub, getting in and out will be hard and nearly impossible to not bend.

Doodles, I did have pain before, it was really bad for at least 2-3 weeks right after the surgery, then seemed to get better for 2 months. Now it seems to be getting worse. I don't think that happens for most people.

titaniumed
03-05-2009, 12:17 AM
I have a deep tub also and I don't know how I would have made it without soaking in hot water. I was in the tub 4-5 times per day for 3 months, then I stopped completely.

Of course I like it hot, like 105-108 degrees. Hot tub temps usually run around 103degrees. After turning up the hot water heater all the way, I would fill the tub about 70% with hot water, then I would wait about 30-45 minutes till the hot water heater would catch up, then I would enter the tub.

Its just one careful step, moving real slow into the tub, with your hands on a wall for support. Then squat down into the water maintaining your vertical position. I would usually go down on my knees in a kneeling position with both arms supporting on both sides of the tub.

The way that I would go from the kneeling position to a laying down position, is basically a reverse log roll. I would rotate 90 degrees to my right side, and with my right arm extended, would lower down without any bending. ( like I can bend, LOL ) This is not a very demanding movement due to the support you receive from your buoyancy in the water. I had to do it this way as sitting up with the huge anterior cut was impossible. To get up just reverse the procedure. Right side rotation, push with right arm to vertical kneeling position, stand up carefully, and step out slowly.

You need to hydrate as you will lose about 2-3 lbs of water in 30 minutes of hot water. This water needs to be replenished right away. This is why health departments do not want children in hot tubs. Children lose a higher percentage of water vs. adults.

Its easier to heat up cold water than to cool off hot water in the tub.

Like a rock climber, who always has 3 points of contact before moving the last limb, you should again, move slowly, and have your arms positioned and hands contacting and supporting a wall or ledge.

Grab your drinking water, and your rubber duckie, and your intro PADI book, and your ready to dive! You wont need your dive computer as you will not be pushing nitrogen in 24 inches of water. Watch for Jaws, DUM, DUM, DUM, DUM.

I should post this on the scuba forums! LOL
Ed

fierceliketiger
03-05-2009, 10:57 AM
titaniumed, thanks for the procedure! I just might go against his wishes and just go for it. haha.

I talked to the nurse about 10 minutes ago. After days of trying to get ahold of them, I decided to try calling in a prescription because I knew they would call to confirm. I called it in last night and they called me this morning. Apparently this is "not normal" and my heartrate should NOT be up as high as it is...I think I forgot to mention that. Two days ago I was trying to walk and at a 3.5 mile pace my heartrate hit 198 bpm. I slowed down to 3.0 and then 2.5, and after 5 minutes it was only down to 189-190, so I quit. Thank god for heartrate monitors. So, I have an appointment at 1:00pm next friday, the 13th. Luckily, they called in more pill refills and muscle relaxers until then. Fun stuff.

Thats about all I know now. At the moment the pain isnt SO bad, its probably a 5/10, so i can deal. The pills took the edge off at the moment,

Luckily the weather is GORGEOUS today, so that in itself has lifted my spirits. We are supposed to hit 70 degrees today! Hopefully the rest of the snow will melt.

loves to skate
03-05-2009, 11:42 AM
Hi fierceliketiger,
If your heart rate got that high while walking, I suggest you don't get into a tub of hot water until you get checked out by a heart doctor. Just use your walk in shower until you get cleared for a hot tub. Just my opinion, but the hot tubs at the gym have a sign for people with heart conditions to not use the hot tub.
Sally

Doodles
03-05-2009, 01:08 PM
I'm so glad they finally got an appt. for you! I hope it answers some of your questions and gives you some relief. And yes central Iowa is beautiful today, and I'm going on a walk! Good luck! Janet

fierceliketiger
03-05-2009, 06:28 PM
I've been checked over pretty recently for heart stuff. I was born with a malformed heart, and 5 holes in it. So I am followed pretty closely, it only goes up like that when I am in extreme pain. Generally my resting runs about 72, and my when I exercise it gets no higher than 140. Unfortunately its just been higher because of the pain.
:-(

discombobulated
03-09-2009, 01:02 AM
Fierce,

I'm so glad you've got an appointment for the ticker....hope they can get you sorted quickly & smoothly.

Take it easy, & please keep us posted when you can. Thinking of you - & wishing you much more gorgeous (aka. freezing!) weather to lift your spirits :)

fierceliketiger
03-13-2009, 08:49 PM
Well, I had my appointment today. The x-rays look normal. They did some blood work to rule out rejection/infection, and I have a CT planned for two weeks from now. The car ride plus the appointment really took it out of me though. They had a pt look at me too, and he made me bend. OH HOLY MOLY! OUCH! Do NOT like bending. The pain was nasty for the rest of the day after that. grr.
So thus far, no news is good news. :-)

Doodles
03-13-2009, 10:46 PM
Oh, I truly hope that it stays good news! You've been through enough. Glad you were able to get in to the doctor. Janet

jesscv
05-05-2009, 04:34 PM
Are the stabbing pains all over or in one spot? I'm asking because about Valentine's day, I did SOMETHING (not really sure what) to strain/aggravate the muscles on one side that are between the ribs, they go around from back to front. It literally felt like a KNIFE was going through me from back to front EVERY time I took a deep breath. I am happy to say that I am now FULLY recovered from that setback. But let me tell you--I didn't just take 2 days off from exercise, I took 2 WEEKS off. I did a tiny bit of exercise at PT, but during those 2 weeks, most of my PT was either spent on heat or simply stretching. I'm told that this can happen from time to time and it can be normal to happen, but when it does, you have to really give your body as much rest as it needs.

Is it that kind of pain, or as Michelle is saying below, is it nerve pain? I have nerve pains here and there which are more of annoying pinching pains; they feel like bee stings and pass within a few minutes. I think nerve pain at this point is still normal.

I hope you feel better soon. ((Hugs))


Debbei,
The stabbing pain you described here is EXACTLY the type of pain I've been experiencing for the past three weeks. It literally feels like a knife is going through me from back to front EVERY time I take (or try to take) a deep breath. Did you ever find out the cause of this pain? And, how long did it last? It is worse when I lie down. And, in addition to these stabbing pains every time I take a deep breath - or cough, sneeze, laugh, cry, burp, whatever - I constantly feel winded. I made an appt. w/ my doctor for later this week, but it just stinks right now because no medication seems to provide ANY relief. I am five weeks post-op.

debbei
05-05-2009, 05:45 PM
Debbei,
The stabbing pain you described here is EXACTLY the type of pain I've been experiencing for the past three weeks. It literally feels like a knife is going through me from back to front EVERY time I take (or try to take) a deep breath. Did you ever find out the cause of this pain? And, how long did it last? It is worse when I lie down. And, in addition to these stabbing pains every time I take a deep breath - or cough, sneeze, laugh, cry, burp, whatever - I constantly feel winded. I made an appt. w/ my doctor for later this week, but it just stinks right now because no medication seems to provide ANY relief. I am five weeks post-op.

Jesscv,

I can't pinpoint exactly what I did that caused the pain, and it lasted between 10 days and 2 weeks. But remember at the time it happened to me I was 4 months post op. Muscle relaxants and a heating pad helped. Could you be feeling winded because it hurts too much to breath deeply? When it first happened to me I wondered if I had a lung problem or Lord knows what else. I had all kinds of crazy thoughts going through my little head, but in the end my Physical Therapist helped me figure it out. I'm glad you have a doctor's appointment to have it checked out. Let me know what they say.

sccrm08
05-05-2009, 10:28 PM
Jesscv

At about 2 weeks post op I had horrible pain when breathing. It started on a Friday night and when I got up Saturday morning I made my husband take me to the ER. After taking tests all day I had fluid build up around my lungs. They upped the pain meds and started Antibiotics and after they had the pain somewhat under control they let me go home (late into the night). There big concern that day was they thought I had a blood clot...luckily not.

Good Luck with your appointment.