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Tapering off pain medications

Started by Beth Ann on 12/31/2010 8:57am

I just had two spinal fusion surgeries in November one week apart and they have me on Dilaudid 2 mg and Valium 5 mg every six hours, plus a Fentanyl pain patch. I am very concerned about getting addicted because I was getting by on physical therapy and not much else before. I don't feel woozy or sleepy when I take the medicines; it just takes my pain to a tolerable level. The doctor and therapist that are working with me said not to worry, that I am only JUST one month out from the surgery and that it's too early to worry about that, they will take me down slowly over time and to just keep taking the medicine as prescribed and do the therapy exercises the best I can....and be patient.

I'm wondering if anybody else has had extensive (10 vertebra fusion for degenerative scoliosis; one 10 hour surgery, and one 11 hour surgery the 7 days later) spinal fusion and, if so, what was your experience with coming off the pain medications. It has only been a month.....should I stop worrying about tapering off and follow doctors orders? I looked up the dosages of all three medications and I am on the lowest dose of Fentanyl available and the middle dose of the Dilaudid and Valium.

I see the doctor again for a post-op on January 6th.

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I'm still wondering what other spinal fusion/adult scoliosis patients have experienced postoperatively for pain control and how and when the medications began to be tapered off. I currently take one pain medicine four times a day, one muscle relaxer four times a day, and one pain patch every three days. I looked on-line and I am on the lowest dose of the pain pill and the pain patch and the middle dose available of the muscle relaxer.

I saw the surgeon and asked him about the taper but he wants me to see a pain management doctor. I have seen two in my town that I don't want to see again (my surgeon and surgery were in a distant town)....and I have a local neurosurgeon who had already agreed to manage things locally for me .....just wondering what kind of pain management experiences other folks have had following extensive surgery.