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.

@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.

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@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

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@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)

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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

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@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)

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@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.

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@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

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@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!

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@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.

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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.

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@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

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@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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@lynnydave12 Im sorry to hear of your problem The only thing
I can suggest is shoulder exercises slowly increase till you see some differences .I would try this before surgery this should be last result ask your Dr.about P.T also they maybe have specific exercises.

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@gingerw
Hi Ginger,
I read your reply to Irene regarding food addition.
I was just discussing that today.
An addiction is when you take or do something beyond the commonly suggested dose.
Those who go beyond the suggested amounts and can cause a 'real' illness either mentally or physically is an addiction.
I often hear people say that you cannot have a food addiction.
All you need to do is meet a food addict and have a conversation.
The food addict does not know how to eat a standard amount of food.
You might have a 1/4 cup of pasta with your meatballs, where an addict will probably have 1 cup of pasta for the meatballs
Addicts are usually hungry ALL the time and eat mindlessly. Rather than having a cupcake for a snack, the addicit will eat the box.
I am sure you can think of several more examples in reference to food.
Buth there is another symptom.
The food addict eats themself sick.
I don't mean a belly ache, I mean something serious.
Many addicts develop the following as they gain more and more weither: high blood pressure, diabetes, high triglycerides, high cholosterol, heart disease, huge growths on their body, the inability to walk any distance, breathing difficulties, etc.
How do I know if I am NOT in the medical field?
I know because I am a food addict.
I kept eating and eating, even though most of the meals were good healthyfood, my portions were way OUT OF CONTROL!
I developed pre-diabetis, I was pre-diabetic, high blook poressure, high tryglycerol, and others.
I hope thins information brings light to your thoughts.

Have a nice weekend!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@grandmar

@gingerw
Hi Ginger,
I read your reply to Irene regarding food addition.
I was just discussing that today.
An addiction is when you take or do something beyond the commonly suggested dose.
Those who go beyond the suggested amounts and can cause a 'real' illness either mentally or physically is an addiction.
I often hear people say that you cannot have a food addiction.
All you need to do is meet a food addict and have a conversation.
The food addict does not know how to eat a standard amount of food.
You might have a 1/4 cup of pasta with your meatballs, where an addict will probably have 1 cup of pasta for the meatballs
Addicts are usually hungry ALL the time and eat mindlessly. Rather than having a cupcake for a snack, the addicit will eat the box.
I am sure you can think of several more examples in reference to food.
Buth there is another symptom.
The food addict eats themself sick.
I don't mean a belly ache, I mean something serious.
Many addicts develop the following as they gain more and more weither: high blood pressure, diabetes, high triglycerides, high cholosterol, heart disease, huge growths on their body, the inability to walk any distance, breathing difficulties, etc.
How do I know if I am NOT in the medical field?
I know because I am a food addict.
I kept eating and eating, even though most of the meals were good healthyfood, my portions were way OUT OF CONTROL!
I developed pre-diabetis, I was pre-diabetic, high blook poressure, high tryglycerol, and others.
I hope thins information brings light to your thoughts.

Have a nice weekend!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@grandmar Like you, I am a food addict. There, I said it out loud for the first time in my life, although I have privately known it almost all my life. Food held court over my emotions, good and bad, and has been a refuge. And thanks to you, now I feel ready to address it.
Ginger

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@ginger first step is admitting it whatever it may be. Congrats now you can do something about it right? Me too Ive struggled with my weight all my life so I'm in it with you

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@lioness

@ginger first step is admitting it whatever it may be. Congrats now you can do something about it right? Me too Ive struggled with my weight all my life so I'm in it with you

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@ginger and @lioness

Those posts deserve a round of applause!

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@hopeful33250

@ginger and @lioness

Those posts deserve a round of applause!

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Hear, hear!!! Bravo!!!!

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