How long will I have to take pain medicine?
A few to several weeks, depending on your age, health, prior medication requirements, and the type of surgery done.
You only have to take pain meds as long as you have pain. I have had some people only need it for 3 or 4 days after surgery. Some need it for several weeks.
Glen Burnie, MD
Most patients will require some type of pain medicine during the post-operative period. There are a wide variety of medications available to fit the needs of each individual. Narcotic medications are useful during the initial few weeks. These can be gradually weaned as recovery progresses and the pain diminishes. Patients undergoing a fusion operation should avoid taking non-steroidal medications because they inhibit bone formation and diminish the chance of obtaining a successful fusion.
New York, NY
Pain medication may be necessary for a week or two after the time of discharge but is generally not required after that point.
Each person is different, but most take narcotic pain medication for 2-3 weeks after surgery. As pain decreases, patients can gradually taper off their use of pain medication.
This is very variable. Our experience is that patients generally are completely off pain medicine by six weeks after surgery. During the first six weeks after surgery we are as liberal with pain medications as is required by the patient. There is no fear of becoming "addicted" to the pain medications as my experience is with most patients adolescents and adults once the pain has decreased the patients voluntarily discontinue their medication.
University of Utah Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
Most patients need some pain medicine for about two weeks.
Pain medication is typically taken for 1-3 months. At the end of this time, occasional Tylenol will be required, but narcotic medication will no longer need to be given.
Woodridge Orthopaedics & Spine Center, P.C.
Pain medicine is usually only necessary for 2-3 weeks after surgery.
New York, NY
Most children and adolescents do not require pain medication beyond ten days to two weeks following the surgery. They may require Tylenol on occasion for mild aches and pains thereafter. Adults tend to require medication for up to two months following the surgery in the form of a narcotic such as Percocet. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. should not be taken as these may inhibit the process of fusion.
New York, NY
The amount of discomfort and pain will depend upon the type of surgery performed. Most likely, your surgeon will send you home from the hospital with a two-week supply of pain medication. Gradually this should be decreased day by day until no pain medication is needed. Often in the process of reducing the medication, your doctor will change the prescription from a narcotic to a non-narcotic anti-inflammatory before complete discontinuation of all pain medication.
Los Angeles, CA
Young patients remain on pain medicines for two to four weeks after surgery. Adult patients may require pain medicines beyond that point but are discouraged from taking them for more than three months.
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital Orthopedic Group
For the first 2-3 weeks, gradually decreasing the dose and frequency.
St. Louis, MO
In general, most individuals take prescription narcotic pain medication for two to three weeks, with less medication taken each week after surgery. Over this period, use of acetaminophen is encouraged during the daytime while using prescription pain medication prior to bedtime to help in getting a restful nightâ€™s sleep.
The commentary above recounts the experiences of these physicians. Medtronic invited them to share their stories candidly. Keep in mind that results vary; not every patient's response is the same. Talk with your doctor to learn more about any products that are mentioned above.
It is important that you discuss the potential risks, complications and benefits of spinal surgery with your doctor prior to receiving treatment, and that you rely on your doctor's judgment. Only your doctor can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for this treatment.