Chiari Malformation Community
PAIN after my surgery.
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PAIN after my surgery.

i just had chiari surgery done at UAB in birmingham, alabama on monday the 21st of june! not only did i have the chiari surgery done (mine extended 2.4cm or 24mm) i also had vertibres c1 and c2 removed. i am currently in SO much pain, it hurts to yawn, cough, laugh, drink though straw, etc...

but i have not had trouble swallowing since my surgery and infact, it has actually gotten better! i was told the headaches most likely would not disappear but i needed surgery to stop the progression of the symptoms.

anyways i know this board is for questions, so my questions are WHEN will this pain go away? my neck is soo stiff and i feel like my inscision is very tight.. i do feel some relief but its so difficult for me to get comfortable. i usually feel better at night than i do during the day. i have been taking my pain meds, but they gave me the same tthing my dentist gave me when i had a root canal? seems a little weak for someone who just had 2 vertibres removed, right?
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620923_tn?1416285879
HI and welcome back!

Wow...u r back on rather soon...a few r able to , but it surprises me everytime : ) R u home?

Well, u do need to move ur neck and take ur meds when scheduled to keep on top of the pain.
Also try a heating pad for 15 mins prior to doing ur neck exercises to loosen them up.
For swelling use an ice pack for 15 mins.

The pain u feel is most likely all from the surgery right now.....and if u keep on the meds it will taper off.

everyone is diff as to what they can tollerate.....so how long is very diff to say.

What exactly did u get med wise...I had several diff things...valium to help relax the muscles...and me...and I got sick on teh morphine so I had something similar....Dilauded (sp?)

U may have to ask for a diff med if what u have is not taking the edge off for u.

Good luck with ur recovery and remember to get plenty of rest, but remember to move ur neck.

"selma"
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1179332_tn?1297482590
HI- I posted on the other thread too but I know what you mean about the meds...they put me on T3's right away (night after surgery) b/c of my drug allergies and it was definitely NOT strong enough. I feel like I had a really bad battle with pain b/c of that. Did they say why you are on something so weak? I assume you had the duraplasty too? I think that is what caused a lot of my pain..the brain swelling from that...I had the worse pressure headaches of my life for the first week after. If you can take something else, I would ask for it!!

Honestly, I wasn't till about 4 weeks that I felt human again and really it took up to two months to feel like I had recovered. I still get up and have that stiffness at the back of my neck where my incision is.

The best thing you can do for the pain is to try and rest as much as possible but make sure that you shift positions every so often. I would go from the recliner to bed and back again..all through out the day.

I hope you feel better soon...give it some time!
Carolyn

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Avatar_f_tn
i don't have any answers for you but i wanted to say i hope you feel better soon.i wasn't sure on how long  was common for after this type of surgery for the healing.so i read this to help give me more ideas for my daughter.but i hope you can get something stronger that will help with the pain and have some improvement soon.God bless
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Avatar_f_tn
Getting comfortable was always my main issue too. I slept in our recliner for two weeks. I just couldnt get down in bed, even though I desperately wanted to. Selma is right about your neck. DO NOT keep it stiff. I learned the hard way. Ended up having horrific muscle spasms in my neck. No words can describe the pain.
I am five weeks post op and still have the heating pad attached to my head. Dont ask me why, but ice makes my neck and head hurt worse. But everyone is different.
The other thing my nurse suggested was two Benadryl at bedtime to help me sleep. And that has helped.
Right now I am alternating tylenol and Ibuprofen.  The Narcotics made me sick.
Get lots of rest and remember that it takes time.
Hang in there,
Dano
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1298467_tn?1277450537
   Thanks yall for the advice, stories and even just commenting back!

    Its been 5 days now and I really do feel a little better each day. My inscision is very very tight which is uncomfortable, and Im very slow turning my neck side to side or up and down. Its just so hard to get comfortable and its hard turning over when im laying down.
   I took a shower on my own the morning of surgery and today was the first time I have washed it since. (of course I have been bathing daily, fyi ha!) My har is very long.. below my bra line and its very thick-washing it just seemed like a nightmare so I pushed it as long as I possibly could. I feel so much better now, just had to be very slow. Thankfully my parents have a big juccuzzi and a shower cord-thing in the tub so I didnt have to stand.

    As far as meds go.. In the hospital they gave me  morphine alternative like selmaS and I had the Dilauded pump and I could push it every 6min for more.. they also gave me 2 lortab 7.5 every 6hrs, muscle relaxers, and thats about all i recall, if you know what i mean! I was never "doped up" by any means, but i guess the anesthesia messed with my memory!

-Phenegan for nausea(from main meds which i never have neausea but they knock me out & thats extremely helpful)  as needed

-60 MS Contins which is a form of morphine? i believe? its taken every 12hrs for pain, but also to "kick-in" the actual pain medicine and keep it in my system.

-60 Hydrocodone 7.5's- HA! I believe those to be a joke simply because I was given that medicine for a sore tooth once, and I was given 10mg, rather than the 7.5 for my "brain" surgery!..whatever.

In recent years, I have taken muscle relaxers and they did give me those in the hospital but not to go home with so for the first few nights I would take the m relaxers because NOTHING was even touching the pain.

I was prescribed to oxycodone 15mg before the surgery (for headaches, though they never helped and isnt a good medicine as far as dependancy goes) by a different dr. other than my surgeon and I had those filled before surgery--just incase and now I am waay more than thankful to know that I have something extra for pain when I need it. Honestly, If i didnt have those, I would definately be calling for something stronger because i'm not going to sugar-coat it at all.. the pain afer surgery is unreal.

I have been told that people use icepacks, heating pads and even doing exercises? My neurosurgeon didnt tell me anything of that nature.. not even about the exercises. He did tell me to be as mobile as I can during the day versus laying in bed rotting.

One thing i have noticed is the mornings are terrible.. I guess because Ive been sleeping and in one position for a long period of time but at nights i get very antsy.. granted, I am a 22year old college student and always been a night person but it seems as though I really do feel better at night? I dont know if thats the meds kicking in or just me!

If anyone wants to know anything at all, feel free to ask. I was always told that but now that Im on the other side I love telling my story ! xxx
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620923_tn?1416285879
Hi...I was ask that u take time and start a journal and keep all the details of ur experience...we find it easy to have someone read the journal instead of repeating everything here, plus it gives u a reference for going to drs ect.....

My dr had a PT work with me while I was in the hospital and was given heat packs while there as well.....I can not do ice as the cold hurts me....plus it is used for swelling...the heat is used to help with tight muscles...to loosen them....

I am glad u r doing so well...I will look to see if I can locate my paperwork of exercises  to do at home.

My DH washed my hair for me at the kitchen sink...it was easier than lifting my arms to do it myself...plus, when the scar/skin  dries after washing u will notice the pulling and or tightness of the skin....plus I was told to use J and J baby shampoo as it is supposed to be gentile.....

It is hard to sit and do nothing, but trust me even if u feel u can do something ...DON'T....it will bite u later and really hurt...allow urself to heal.

"selma"
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1159737_tn?1286520857
Yes! Post a journal- I am going in for surgery soon and I love to hear everyones experiences, also what helped, what didn't etc.

Selma- Great idea about the baby shampoo.
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1159737_tn?1286520857
Oh- I am taking Vicodin now too and I haven't had surgery yet- and they barely help- I can imagine that they are not helping!
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Avatar_f_tn
Heat might be good to loosen up before the neck-turning exercises ("exercises" is a strong word - just move your head a little more, side to side, up to down, each day it all I was told), but ice will do more to reduce inflammation and swelling and relieve pain early on.  Get a flexible icepack if you can find one - they have shoulder / neck wrap ones that are nice and stay put.  That helped me a lot.

Looking down was the hardest direction for me ultimately b/c of scar tightness - neosporin or the like can help it heal somewhat softer, I think, if your Dr. OK's using that on it. (I was instructed to use it.)

Comfort lying down - use lots of pillows...I used several so I was semi-reclined in bed (rather than using a recliner) and then put one pillow lengthwise behind my back, so I could lie partly on my side and still lean back on something.  Pillow under the knees is good, too, if sitting on your back.  Audiobooks are good also, because you don't stress your shoulders holding something and also don't get too bored.

Washing hair I recommend to try sitting in the tub, bending forward, part hair down the back and cover your incision site with a folded washcloth  (to keep it dry, if needed) and use a cup (great if you have a shower thing, as long as the pressure isn't too high) to pour water over the rest of the hair. Easiest to do this if you have a helper. Light leave-in detangler is also good to avoid yanking at knots!

Pain: percocet, valium, and either naproxen sodium (aleve) or ibuprofen were what I went home with - was told most people don't get the percocet (contains oxycodone), but I didn't react well to darvocet or vicodin, which were the other options. Selma is right - stay on top of the pain.  I set alarms to wake up when I needed to take it (past shoulder surgery experience told me this was the best thing to do.)  

My experience has been that nurses and PAs are stingy with pain control because they've been bludgeoned with the idea of addiction and abusers (and threat of legal action against them), but doctors are more understanding - I believe you heal better / faster if you don't feel awful, and most surgeons I have spoken to agree.  Definitely talk to your doc if your pain control is lousy.  FWIW, I didn't need any percocet except on rare occasions after 3-4 weeks.
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Avatar_m_tn
How are you feeling now? I may be having surgery soon...thanks!
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1236570_tn?1276742125
Hi! I had my surgery on June 10th, not tool long before yours. I know it's been a while since you originally posted this but how have you been? I had couple questions. Did they also put you steroids? I didn't think I saw any listed. That was what helped me a lot with my pain. They really help to control inflammation. In fact I was pain free (minus the first few days) until I tapered off the steroids. Also I noticed you wrote that it hurt when you drank thru a straw. My doctor very specifically put that on the no-no list. It puts a lot of pressure back there, same as other types or straining.

Have you tried any of the recommendations to use heat then do exercises and stretching then ice it up? Thats exactly what I do everyday and at my PT. It has really helped with the stiffness of the muscles as well as how tight the incision feels.

I hope this finds you in good health.
-Stephanie
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Avatar_f_tn
My understanding is that the NS will often give you IV steroids at the time of surgery to reduce the immediate post-op swelling, but I was told they did not want me to take steroids in the first couple of months after surgery because it can slow the healing process - although clearly you had a different experience and different recommendations! (My doc didn't mention anything about no straws...)  NSAIDs help with the inflammation without the steroid-impeding-healing problem, which is what I was told to transition to after the major pain meds.
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Avatar_f_tn
Jeez people reply to this question like crazy.
I had most of the same problems after surgery. I also had two vertebrates removed. It hurts for about the first couple weeks...But the pain will get better. Just sleep a lot, and don't over do things...(Which I had a problem with)...Just keep fighting through the pain. It'll all be worth it in the end. Good luck!!
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1274661_tn?1301871921
Thinking of you and hoping you are doing well!
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1236570_tn?1276742125
Your right, steroids do slow the healing process which was why I had to tapper off them w/ in about a week after the surgery. But boy did they help for a while. After that I just relied on good old ibuprofen... well that and vicodin and vallium!  :)

Its interesting hearing how all the different doctors and different hospital have they own way of doing things. It would be neat if they could some how do a study on these kind of things to see if you particular way has better outcomes and better/faster recovery.
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