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Addiction & Recovery Message Board

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Anterior Cervical Discectomy is nothing to laugh at from a pain standpoint - I know, I've been there and pain management is a significant issue. If she was not previously using/abusing the oxy (although if she had the surgery, I suspect pain med use/abuse has been going on for a while), then 10 days out from surgery may be a bit soon to be worried about addiction and subsequent weaning off of pain meds. But from my experiences of being a recovering addict who abused pain meds for years after getting started on prescription meds to alleviate pain from a ruptured disc/fracture vertebrae at C3/C4, I suspect you are asking the question because your mom has been using the meds for a considerable period of time and has become tolerant and dependent upon the Oxy and with this scenario, I would recommend the following:

Considering talking to a pain management person - the recovery from an anterior discectomy is significant so you want to try and determine where your mom's pain should be and whether or not the pain is getting better - unfortunately, surgery is not always effective at relieving the pain. Perhaps you can discuss alternative pain management strategies such as the use of fentanyl patch to manage pain with oxy or something to manage breakthrough pain. Controlling pain is a significant portion of the healing process, so at this time, it should be a priority. A warning though - if you are convinced that your mom is abusing the meds, do not give her access to the fentanyl patches - abuse of fentanyl is deadly.

Considering whether the oxy is making the pain worse - One of the most insidious consequences of overuse of pain medications is that they can actually make the pain worse and you end up increasing your dose to try and manage the pain and the pain only gets worse. Try cutting back on the oxy to see if the pain becomes more manageable.

Controlling her dose - It sounds to me like you or your dad are at least monitoring if not controlling her access to medication. If you are not controlling the access, consider taking steps to control her access to meds - believe it or not if you can control access to meds, she might willingly cut down on her meds and you can slowly wean her off while still managing her pain.

Finally, keep in mind that there is a period of healing associated with cervical surgery that is not always to understand, the rehab can be brutal and the success of the surgery is not always immediately apparent - often the pain will get worse before it gets better, sometimes the pain doesn't get better so managing pain is critical to the recovery process, but if not properly managed, the use of pain medication can easily lead down the slippery slope to addiction, but if your mom is using the pain meds as prescribed, then I would think that your doc has things well managed, if on the other hand, the use is above the prescribed dosage, or you find your mom is running out of her meds before the prescription is due for a refill, then you need to have a conversation with your mom and her doctors to discuss a plan. So often we as addicts don't consider ourselves addicts because we are taking medicine prescribed by a doc and surely they know what they are doing, but at the end of the day, we are the only ones who know why we are taking the meds and quite often, by the time we realize we have a problem, we are too embarrassed to ask for help.

Good luck to your family and remind your mom that surgery is just half the battle, now she has to do the hard work of physical therapy to strengthen the muscles so her pain will subside.

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