Chronic pain and spinal fusion

Posted by lynn12 @lynn12, Aug 16, 2018

Hi
I am wondering if there is anyone out there has experienced what I am dealing with? In 2006 I had a spinal fusion from T2 through L4. Actually the fusion failed and after one year had to be repeated, this time using a bone morphosizing protein that ensured fusion. Like most who have endured a surgery like this I am left with chronic pain. I have through the years also developed quite a dowagers hump. The surgeon explained that my problem went up so high that she actually bent the rod a bit forward during surgery otherwise noting that I may become off balance. As the years have gone by this hump is looking more and more pronounced. I absolutely hate it and feel so ugly, can anything safely be done or does it involve another dangerous surgical procedure? As you can imagine the thought of more surgery is frightening to me. What complicates matters is I am on Warfarin (blood thinner) due to aortic valve repelacement in 2001. Any surgery for me is always more complicated.

@lioness I followed your advice, and got some Topricin. Love it! It helped tremendously with cramps in the calves of both legs, and my right knee. Like the old commercial "just a dab will do ya!"
Ginger

REPLY
@gingerw

@lioness I followed your advice, and got some Topricin. Love it! It helped tremendously with cramps in the calves of both legs, and my right knee. Like the old commercial "just a dab will do ya!"
Ginger

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@gingerw Wonderful glad it helped

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@hopeful33250 My bio is done Theresa just click on my picture I loved your bio.

REPLY
@lioness

@hopeful33250 My bio is done Theresa just click on my picture I loved your bio.

Jump to this post

Hello @lioness
Thanks for completing your bio. I really enjoyed getting to know you better. What a wonderful and interesting career you had. You must feel pleased of all of your accomplishments. Thank you for the many ways you contribute to Connect.

REPLY

Happy Friday….
I know many of us have had fusion surgery and many have failed.
I'd appreciate it if you think back to when you had the surgery (before it failed).
I had my surgery 2 1/2 weeks ago.
It has been one of the hardest surgeries from which I have had to recover.
My pain got really bad after I left the hospital.
Of course, the hospital gives you your pain meds 24/7 through the IV.

I was given Hydrocodone-Acetamin 10-325 mg.
It didn't give me much relief.
When I went for my 2 week post-op check up, I was given Cyclobenzaprine 5mg for the spasms.
Helps somewhat, but I am able to take 2 at a time when I need it.
The first week, I took 1 pill at a time when I needed it.
By the end of the 2nd week, I was taking 1 pill throughout the night.
I was hoping it would help.

Now I am worried about becoming addicted to the pain killers.
Actually, I've been worried addiction all along, which is why I didn't take it as presc ribed.
My doctor assured me that she would keep an eye on me.
Any how, she gave me a tentative schedule, assuming it works and said I could change it up, if I needed to.
Well, I do!!!!!!!!
I went to taking the pain medicine every 5 hours. Today I am going to every 6 hours (I've done 4 hr, 5 hr and 4 1/2 hrs throughout the night. I was also taking the Cycobenazprine (5 mg) every 4 hours. As of today, I upped it to every 4 1/2 hrs without getting up during the night. BTW…I take 2 Cycobenzapine just before bedtime (suggested by doctor). My problem is I am still in lots of pain. My hubby and I are so scared of me becoming addicted.

Those who have gone through this, what was your experience? What did you take for the pain? What did you take for the spasms? How long and how much did you take for the pain.

Thank you for sharing!
Have a TERRIFIC weekend!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

REPLY

@grandmar it is good to hear you are on the mend, albeit slowly. And very good you are monitoring your prescription use and avoiding addiction. I recall recently a conversation about staying ahead of the pain to allow the body to heal. Is guided meditation/visualization something that would help you, or hypnotherapy?
Ginger

REPLY
@grandmar

Happy Friday….
I know many of us have had fusion surgery and many have failed.
I'd appreciate it if you think back to when you had the surgery (before it failed).
I had my surgery 2 1/2 weeks ago.
It has been one of the hardest surgeries from which I have had to recover.
My pain got really bad after I left the hospital.
Of course, the hospital gives you your pain meds 24/7 through the IV.

I was given Hydrocodone-Acetamin 10-325 mg.
It didn't give me much relief.
When I went for my 2 week post-op check up, I was given Cyclobenzaprine 5mg for the spasms.
Helps somewhat, but I am able to take 2 at a time when I need it.
The first week, I took 1 pill at a time when I needed it.
By the end of the 2nd week, I was taking 1 pill throughout the night.
I was hoping it would help.

Now I am worried about becoming addicted to the pain killers.
Actually, I've been worried addiction all along, which is why I didn't take it as presc ribed.
My doctor assured me that she would keep an eye on me.
Any how, she gave me a tentative schedule, assuming it works and said I could change it up, if I needed to.
Well, I do!!!!!!!!
I went to taking the pain medicine every 5 hours. Today I am going to every 6 hours (I've done 4 hr, 5 hr and 4 1/2 hrs throughout the night. I was also taking the Cycobenazprine (5 mg) every 4 hours. As of today, I upped it to every 4 1/2 hrs without getting up during the night. BTW…I take 2 Cycobenzapine just before bedtime (suggested by doctor). My problem is I am still in lots of pain. My hubby and I are so scared of me becoming addicted.

Those who have gone through this, what was your experience? What did you take for the pain? What did you take for the spasms? How long and how much did you take for the pain.

Thank you for sharing!
Have a TERRIFIC weekend!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

Jump to this post

Ronnie I wrote to you earlier this week. I am mainly on the MAC forum but have had horrid back issues since 1976 after my second child. (Spondylolithesis) Now I have several other issues that developed over time. I want to address your addiction concerns. Do you have addiction in your genes? Do you have an addictive personality? My PHD brother had 17 years of serious drug abuse! Yet, I can have a drink or take a pill without becoming addicted. I even have a card to use marijuana but haven’t tried it. And I don’t drink. I do use tramadol for chronic pain which at least takes the edge off. I think because you are so worried about addiction you won’t become addicted. From my friends who have had a fusion I have learned that it can take up to a year for a full recovery! Rest in that thought and tread lightly. Be patient with yourself. Take whatever pills are necessary to help ease the pain. Rule of thumb is to take a pain pill before the pain is too much. Your doctor has probably told you that. I think many people have addictive personalities. That coupled with a genetic propensity for addiction makes for a precarious situation. I think because your doctor is keeping an eye on you is very comforting. I think you are finding that the beginning of your recovery is very “bumpy.” It will get better. Take the pain meds! My motto has always been, “I don’t mind pain – as long as it doesn’t hurt!” Wishing you peace of mind and less pain. (Irene)

REPLY
@irene5

Ronnie I wrote to you earlier this week. I am mainly on the MAC forum but have had horrid back issues since 1976 after my second child. (Spondylolithesis) Now I have several other issues that developed over time. I want to address your addiction concerns. Do you have addiction in your genes? Do you have an addictive personality? My PHD brother had 17 years of serious drug abuse! Yet, I can have a drink or take a pill without becoming addicted. I even have a card to use marijuana but haven’t tried it. And I don’t drink. I do use tramadol for chronic pain which at least takes the edge off. I think because you are so worried about addiction you won’t become addicted. From my friends who have had a fusion I have learned that it can take up to a year for a full recovery! Rest in that thought and tread lightly. Be patient with yourself. Take whatever pills are necessary to help ease the pain. Rule of thumb is to take a pain pill before the pain is too much. Your doctor has probably told you that. I think many people have addictive personalities. That coupled with a genetic propensity for addiction makes for a precarious situation. I think because your doctor is keeping an eye on you is very comforting. I think you are finding that the beginning of your recovery is very “bumpy.” It will get better. Take the pain meds! My motto has always been, “I don’t mind pain – as long as it doesn’t hurt!” Wishing you peace of mind and less pain. (Irene)

Jump to this post

@irene5
Irene,
Thank you very much for your reply!
I am sorry but I did not receive your first message.
I do have an addictive personality.
For me, the addicition is food.
I know you are shaking your head and thinking that it is not an addiction, but it is!
For me, I overate to the point of develping pre-diseases like diabetes and heart.
I went for weight loss surgery almost 2 years ago.
I lost between 80-90 pounds.
Since I have been in so much pain and wasn't really up to walking, I sat around the house all day and snacked more and ate larger portions.
I know the dangers in doing this, but I can't see to help myself.
Isn't that an addiction?
Doing things over and over again doing things I know will harm me.
Then there is my dad, he was addicted to sleeping pills.
So that is my background.
I know I shouldbe taking the pain pills.
Members of this group as well as my surgeons said the samething, but I hubby keeps bugging me about my pill schedule.
I will try to take them less often.
I planned my pills, for today, with the time I am taking them spead out for a longer period of time.
If it doesn't work, I will take less again.
I do agree with you about pain not hurting.
I have NEVER been one to take pain meds on a set 'schdule' as long as it was within the time permitted.
That is why I am so nervouse about taking them.
I hope I'm not blabbering, I took my pain med not too long ago.

Enjoy your day and weekend…
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

REPLY
@gingerw

@grandmar it is good to hear you are on the mend, albeit slowly. And very good you are monitoring your prescription use and avoiding addiction. I recall recently a conversation about staying ahead of the pain to allow the body to heal. Is guided meditation/visualization something that would help you, or hypnotherapy?
Ginger

Jump to this post

@gingerw
Thank you for replay. Yes, we did get similar replies before.
I now think I know and understand what I need to do.

Have a great day and weekend!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

REPLY
@hopeful33250

Hello @lioness
Thanks for completing your bio. I really enjoyed getting to know you better. What a wonderful and interesting career you had. You must feel pleased of all of your accomplishments. Thank you for the many ways you contribute to Connect.

Jump to this post

@Thank you Theresa for your kind words I feel being on Mayo connect is helping me to keep all I know alive and hopefully will help others Im glad to know you ,your very kind

REPLY
@grandmar

@irene5
Irene,
Thank you very much for your reply!
I am sorry but I did not receive your first message.
I do have an addictive personality.
For me, the addicition is food.
I know you are shaking your head and thinking that it is not an addiction, but it is!
For me, I overate to the point of develping pre-diseases like diabetes and heart.
I went for weight loss surgery almost 2 years ago.
I lost between 80-90 pounds.
Since I have been in so much pain and wasn't really up to walking, I sat around the house all day and snacked more and ate larger portions.
I know the dangers in doing this, but I can't see to help myself.
Isn't that an addiction?
Doing things over and over again doing things I know will harm me.
Then there is my dad, he was addicted to sleeping pills.
So that is my background.
I know I shouldbe taking the pain pills.
Members of this group as well as my surgeons said the samething, but I hubby keeps bugging me about my pill schedule.
I will try to take them less often.
I planned my pills, for today, with the time I am taking them spead out for a longer period of time.
If it doesn't work, I will take less again.
I do agree with you about pain not hurting.
I have NEVER been one to take pain meds on a set 'schdule' as long as it was within the time permitted.
That is why I am so nervouse about taking them.
I hope I'm not blabbering, I took my pain med not too long ago.

Enjoy your day and weekend…
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

Jump to this post

That’s wonderful about your weight loss! My oldest and most wonderful daughter has suffered with an eating disorder – I know about food addictions. I’m not shaking my head one bit. But I think Ronnie that is more of an emotional addiction than a physical one so I still think you will be ok with pills especially since you have good supports. Try not to worry so much about it. Hugs, irene

REPLY
@grandmar

Happy Friday….
I know many of us have had fusion surgery and many have failed.
I'd appreciate it if you think back to when you had the surgery (before it failed).
I had my surgery 2 1/2 weeks ago.
It has been one of the hardest surgeries from which I have had to recover.
My pain got really bad after I left the hospital.
Of course, the hospital gives you your pain meds 24/7 through the IV.

I was given Hydrocodone-Acetamin 10-325 mg.
It didn't give me much relief.
When I went for my 2 week post-op check up, I was given Cyclobenzaprine 5mg for the spasms.
Helps somewhat, but I am able to take 2 at a time when I need it.
The first week, I took 1 pill at a time when I needed it.
By the end of the 2nd week, I was taking 1 pill throughout the night.
I was hoping it would help.

Now I am worried about becoming addicted to the pain killers.
Actually, I've been worried addiction all along, which is why I didn't take it as presc ribed.
My doctor assured me that she would keep an eye on me.
Any how, she gave me a tentative schedule, assuming it works and said I could change it up, if I needed to.
Well, I do!!!!!!!!
I went to taking the pain medicine every 5 hours. Today I am going to every 6 hours (I've done 4 hr, 5 hr and 4 1/2 hrs throughout the night. I was also taking the Cycobenazprine (5 mg) every 4 hours. As of today, I upped it to every 4 1/2 hrs without getting up during the night. BTW…I take 2 Cycobenzapine just before bedtime (suggested by doctor). My problem is I am still in lots of pain. My hubby and I are so scared of me becoming addicted.

Those who have gone through this, what was your experience? What did you take for the pain? What did you take for the spasms? How long and how much did you take for the pain.

Thank you for sharing!
Have a TERRIFIC weekend!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

Jump to this post

@grandmar

I'm happy you are healing from your fusion surgery. As far as your concern about getting addicted to painkillers, my experience is that even though I was "dependent" on Tramadol after taking it for a year, it was easy enough to withdraw from. Uncomfortable for a couple of weeks yes, but very doable. I think it's important for you to take care of your pain as your doctor prescribed, and stop worrying about your addictive personality.

As I have said before, I too have an addictive personality. I have been able to take pain medications over the years and withdraw from them. I had the RnY 4.5 yrs ago; I lost 80 pounds, and I've gained 7 pounds this year. It's making me a little crazy that I've gained weight again! I think it's possible that taking your pain medications and relaxing about doing that may keep you from eating to relieve your pain/anxiety. I also have noticed that when my husband is critical of me or is angry about something I did or didn't do, I find myself looking for something to eat. I had never put the 2 together before a couple of months ago. My husband is a wonderful man who is real. He's not mean, but my PTSD kicks in immediately and I worry about being left again. It takes me a day to run through my scripts around that, and then I'm OK. Now that I know that I turn to food during those times that I worry about things, I am careful with what I eat. Of course I'm not perfect, but I'm workingto stay aware and take action on my eating disorder.

One thing I have learned about you Ronnie, is that you work on anything that comes up for you, and you have an incredibly positive attitude about yourself and others. You are a very strong and obviously very smart woman who can withdraw from any pain medication you need to at the time you no longer need it. I was prescribed Cyclobenzyprine in the past for my back spasms, but I hated taking it because it made me a little crazy mentally. I got paranoid and was aggressive/anxious while taking it. When i had my last spasm issue 3 years ago, the doctor prescribed Baclofen, which worked much better for me. It worked immediately, and I had no problem withdrawing from it at the right time. You might want to ask your surgeon about taking Baclofen.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you that you're not in as much pain because you're taking your medicatons as your doctor prescribed. I'm hoping you will stop worrying about addiction/dependence as you will be able to withdraw from the medications when it is time due to your conscientiousness and awareness. Your doctor will help you, as will your pharmacist if you ask him/her about how best to withdraw at the time. Big, gentle hug Ronnie.

REPLY
@lioness

@Thank you Theresa for your kind words I feel being on Mayo connect is helping me to keep all I know alive and hopefully will help others Im glad to know you ,your very kind

Jump to this post

@lioness Yes, I agree, Your wealth of experience in health-care makes you a valuable asset to Connect. It is nice when, as we get older, and cannot do all of the things we use to do, that we can still act as encouragers and helpers.

At my church, I started Living & Thriving Group, which supports people who have chronic illnesses. One of our members, a retired RN as well as a nursing instructor, just passed away. She was so enthusiastic to encourage and teach us all, even when she went into hospice care. We will all miss her!

REPLY
@gailb

@grandmar

I'm happy you are healing from your fusion surgery. As far as your concern about getting addicted to painkillers, my experience is that even though I was "dependent" on Tramadol after taking it for a year, it was easy enough to withdraw from. Uncomfortable for a couple of weeks yes, but very doable. I think it's important for you to take care of your pain as your doctor prescribed, and stop worrying about your addictive personality.

As I have said before, I too have an addictive personality. I have been able to take pain medications over the years and withdraw from them. I had the RnY 4.5 yrs ago; I lost 80 pounds, and I've gained 7 pounds this year. It's making me a little crazy that I've gained weight again! I think it's possible that taking your pain medications and relaxing about doing that may keep you from eating to relieve your pain/anxiety. I also have noticed that when my husband is critical of me or is angry about something I did or didn't do, I find myself looking for something to eat. I had never put the 2 together before a couple of months ago. My husband is a wonderful man who is real. He's not mean, but my PTSD kicks in immediately and I worry about being left again. It takes me a day to run through my scripts around that, and then I'm OK. Now that I know that I turn to food during those times that I worry about things, I am careful with what I eat. Of course I'm not perfect, but I'm workingto stay aware and take action on my eating disorder.

One thing I have learned about you Ronnie, is that you work on anything that comes up for you, and you have an incredibly positive attitude about yourself and others. You are a very strong and obviously very smart woman who can withdraw from any pain medication you need to at the time you no longer need it. I was prescribed Cyclobenzyprine in the past for my back spasms, but I hated taking it because it made me a little crazy mentally. I got paranoid and was aggressive/anxious while taking it. When i had my last spasm issue 3 years ago, the doctor prescribed Baclofen, which worked much better for me. It worked immediately, and I had no problem withdrawing from it at the right time. You might want to ask your surgeon about taking Baclofen.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you that you're not in as much pain because you're taking your medicatons as your doctor prescribed. I'm hoping you will stop worrying about addiction/dependence as you will be able to withdraw from the medications when it is time due to your conscientiousness and awareness. Your doctor will help you, as will your pharmacist if you ask him/her about how best to withdraw at the time. Big, gentle hug Ronnie.

Jump to this post

Great insight, @gailb
Yes,when those childhood tapes starts playing it takes me some time to turn them off and play a new tape. I appreciate your reminding me of that.

REPLY
@irene5

That’s wonderful about your weight loss! My oldest and most wonderful daughter has suffered with an eating disorder – I know about food addictions. I’m not shaking my head one bit. But I think Ronnie that is more of an emotional addiction than a physical one so I still think you will be ok with pills especially since you have good supports. Try not to worry so much about it. Hugs, irene

Jump to this post

@irene5 I feel I must respectfully disagree with you on this point. Food addiction can be as debilitating as any other addiction, be it alcohol, illegal (or legal!) drugs, gambling, unhealthy relationships, etc. Some people have an inborn leaning towards addictive behavior. The biggest issue with a food addiction, is that we need food to nourish ourselves and live. Someone who has an addictive personality will find the line is blurred mightily between nourish and comfort that food presents. This is just my humble and personal opinion and experience.
Ginger

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