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Thread: pain meds

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    pain meds

    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.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    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.
    Jamie Age 29
    Mother to a 6 year old daughter & an 11 month old baby boy.

    2000 Curves - 28/40/32
    2008 Curves - 39/63/44
    Surgery Date - 3/25/08
    T4 - L1

    63 degrees corrected to 15 degrees !

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Big Bear, CA
    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.
    47 years old, dx at 13
    +30* to the right, +60* to the left, +30* to the right
    Surgery 12-13-07 - fusion from T4 to sacrum. Pre surgery Post surgery Xray from the side Xray from the back

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Houston, TX

    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!

    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!

    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op 53, Post-op < 20
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    pain meds

    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.
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Sydney - Australia
    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.

    Elysia 16 in Feb 2010
    Sydney - Australia
    Feb 2008 Fused T5-L1 and 5 ribs removed.
    Dec 2009 - Crankshafting
    Dec 10 - Revision surgery...3 vertebrae taken down, hooks removed, at T11-L1 - screws inserted, fusion extended down to
    L3 using Pedicle screws, some rib removed to try to derotate. Praying for things to settle.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Wheeling, WV
    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!!!


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    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.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    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!!
    28 years old. Dx at age 14.

    1994 20T/20L
    1998 22T/20L
    2002 30T/28L
    2006 34T/28L
    2008 43T/34L

    considering surgery in the near future as the curvature is getting progressively worse and for pain management.

    XRAYS and pics at 28 years old.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Thumbs up Impressive!

    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!
    67 and plugging along...
    2007 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15
    CMT (type 2) DX in 2014, progressing
    NEW 10/2018 x-rays show spondylolisthesis at L4/L5 - Dr. DeWald is monitoring

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    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!

    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!
    Last edited by misspaula; 03-27-2008 at 07:26 PM.
    Anterior/Posterior surgery T5 to Sacrum
    Sydney Australia
    58 years old

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    near Philadelphia
    Mobee mentioned ibuprofin -- just a reminder that most surgeons recommend spinal fusion patients NOT take ibuprofin for at least 6 months after surgery.
    A/P fusion on June 19, 2007 at age 52; T10-L5
    Pre-op thoracolumbar curve: 70 degrees
    Post-op curve: 12 degrees
    Dr. Boachie-adjei, HSS, New York

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    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.

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