View Full Version : pain meds

03-04-2008, 11:29 AM
I have to go back to work in 2 weeks so I'm trying to come off my pain meds . My surgery was 3 weeks ago and I'm finding it so hard. Last week I stretched out my meds from 4 hours for lortab and 6 hours for valium to 6 hours for lortab and 8 hours for valium. This week I've tried not taking any but its not working. Does anybody have any suggestions? :( I'm taking Lortab 5mg and valium 5mg.

03-04-2008, 12:41 PM
I can't help since I have not had the surgery yet but let me know how it goes because I will have to go back to work too! I am hoping to be back at work in 5 to 6 weeks post op.

03-04-2008, 01:04 PM
Is there any chance they can change your medicine? I specifically asked for Ultram . It was the painkiller I was on prior to surgery. It doesn't make me dizzy or tired like vicodin does. I think lortab is similar to vicodin. I am able to take Ultram and function quite well. You might also try taking the valium only at bedtime. I take robaxin at bedtime. I would assume the valium and robaxin are pretty similar as well and I take it for muscle spasms. I hope this helps.

03-04-2008, 01:12 PM

Is there a reason you're pushing so hard for complete cessation before you return to work?

Difficulty focusing/concentrating?

Worried about driving?

Funny (and not the hah-hah type) you's rather others not see?

I ask because perhaps you can continue to wean down (both pills can be split along with dosage timing) and manage any issues/side effects of concern vs. total elimination of meds.

For instance, if you're concerned about driving, maybe someone could drive you for a while. Perhaps you could try 1/2 days at first.

Just a thought.

Don't forget there is NO shame in still requiring meds at 3-5 weeks post-op, and if you're more comfortable on them, it might be best to manage the effects - and plan contingencies around them - than focus only on removing the meds from the equation.

Best to you, and your return to the "real" world ... yay!


Karen Ocker
03-04-2008, 01:25 PM
What kind of work do you do and will you be driving?!?!

Just one dose of Valium is not totally excreted by the body for 3 days. Regular, daily, doses accumulate/get stored in the body continuously. This means that this can increasingly affect your mental acuity and mood(depression). You might not notice it but others will. When taken for a considerable period of time it must be tapered off to prevent seizures.

This surgery is so major that one must takes such meds(maybe not necessarily Valium) to promote healing, adequate rest and activity. I went off all narcotics after 12 weeks but needed Neurontin(couldn't work though because it causes short-term memory deficits), extra strength Tylenol, Aleve and TENS machine. Tapering off opioids was helped with short term 2-3 months antidepressants which act like pain killers.

03-04-2008, 02:15 PM
thanks for all the feed back. I was on Ultram as needed prior to surgery and it did work quite well. I see my doctor next week and see what he recommends as far as nonnarcotics. I will have to drive myself to and from work which is about a 35 min. drive. I am a nurse so I have no choice but to be off narcotics before returning to work, even though I will only be doing paper work and no patient care. I don't like taking meds so I think this is the reason for the rush to be off them by next week, even though my husband thinks I'm crazy for trying to hard. Thanks to everyone, it is nice to come here and ask questions because nobody else understands :)

03-04-2008, 02:49 PM
Are any of your meds the slow release kind?? Our GP put Elysia back on them and she's all smiles again - as compared to waiting for the pain to mount and then having a shot of immediate release tablets (all the same substance).

Yesterday she was back to being active and happy again after two days (off meds) lying around on the couch because of sore back and ribs.

Because it's slow release it's not such a big hit into your blood stream at once and could take the edge of things whilst also getting your body used to some of the pain. Elysia takes Oxycontin which is slow release Oxycodone.

Are you not allowed any medications as a ruling of your position as a nurse?? Have you checked into that thoroughly? I guess you would have. It's pretty tough if that's the case, how many nurses have some kind of health problems and need prescribed medications??

Good luck, hope it all works out.


03-21-2008, 02:28 AM
Hi kdawn,

I can't answer your question because I still take medication. But I just wanted you to know how impressed and jealous I am that you are able to return to work so soon after surgery!!!

That gets a WOW from me!!! :)


03-27-2008, 02:17 PM
shari, thanks but i had to go back to work. The first week was bad but now i'm on week 2 at work and doing much better. I'm off my pain meds and just taking a muscle relaxer twice a day. I can't believe how much getting out of the house and actually doing something has helped me. I'm on my sixth week postop,and doing better than i hoped for. I hope everyone else is doing good too.

03-27-2008, 02:31 PM
I had a bowel resection in 2004 and they sent me home with dilaudid (hydromorphone). After a week I switched to 800mg ibuprofin. Not sure if you have tried that but you might want to try it. I found the dilaudid took the edge off the pain but ibuprofin worked pretty well too. good luck!!

03-27-2008, 02:32 PM
kdawn-- that's so great to hear you are adjusting and doing so well with your return to work AND being off pain meds. It must be a little taxing, but you sound so good!!! Way to go, girl! :D

03-27-2008, 07:02 PM
Hi there

You're back at work already! I'm dumbfounded!

I'm 5 months post op and going back this Monday and I'm scared to death that I will fall in a heap! :eek:

I was in Hospital for 3 weeks and Rehab Hospital for 2 weeks. My 82 year old Mother was more energetic than me and she still is!

03-27-2008, 07:03 PM
Mobee mentioned ibuprofin -- just a reminder that most surgeons recommend spinal fusion patients NOT take ibuprofin for at least 6 months after surgery.

04-02-2008, 03:38 PM
my surgeon gave me the ok with ibuprofen at 4wk visit. I do take it once a day, usually in the morning. I took so much of it before surgery that i don't want to go back to that again so I try to make do without taking anything else. This third week back at work is a little worse than the second week, don't know why but hopefully it will only get better from here. I can't wait to start PT in May. I didn't realize how hard it would be not to bend, or twist.