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Pain after brain surgery

33 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Hi,

I had my craniotomy 2 weeks ago today to remove a cavernous hemangioma.

Anyway, my head hurts constantly, it even peaks through Percocet. But, my biggest problem is that the percocet only works for 2-3 hours at a time, and then I'm in pain all the rest of the time.

It sounds normal that my head should hurt after drilling a hole through it, but for how long?

My main question is, what about the transdermal patches? Might they be worth trying for a few weeks, or is that too extreme? I did read they are not for post-op pain., but it didn't have any other guidelines.

Trying to figure out what to ask my doctor.

Edited by Bueler

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Posted

Talk to your doc and let her figure out the options. Be real clear that the med only lasts 2-3 hours and you then hurt like hell after for hours. Also explain that you are bipolar and may not process meds the same as the average person. I know that pain meds don't work as well or last as long for me. Then they make me sick at higher doses. It rather sucks, but you didn't need that bit of personal info. Anyway, talk to your doc.

I'm sorry you are hurting but happy that the procedure is done and that all has gone well.

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Posted

It could be nerve pain, there are alot of nerves and blood vessels on your head. Nerve pain is the worst and last a while. If all else fails I would see a pain management specialist, they will figure it out and treat the pain accordingly.

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Posted

I called my neurosurgeon's office, and they just said if it hurts I should "Go to the ER". But, I was just in the ER maybe 5 days ago because of nausea I was having from all this. I still had the head pain then, so I don't see why I would go to the ER again.

Their conservative reasoning is, let's do yet another CT scan of the head to make sure it's all healing okay. But, I've done that already... and nobody is very helpful beyond that.

Except my primary care doctor who just prescribes pain meds without consulting the neuro... it's a hard balance for me, ugh!

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Posted

After I had surgery last year, the surgeon sent me home with a bottle of pain meds and my primary doc took over pain management. Use yours. I think that may be SOP.

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Posted

Don't diddle around by asking us armchair psychiatrists about your neurology problem!

1. Your neuro surgeon is the expert. He told you to go to the ER. Not five days ago. NOW!!!! So do it!!!

o

2. What went on 5 days ago is unimportant.

3. Bad things could have happened in 5 days. That is why he wants you to go to the ER. So they can do a CT and check for other problems.

4. Get your butt to the hospital. If you don't have someone to take you, call 911 for an ambulance. This rates up there in urgency!!!

Now get on the phone and head to the ER!!!! Hope you feel better real soon.

a.m.

p.s. I stopped a car with my head one time. I know it is medically possible to have five (5) officially named types of headaches at once for five months continuously.

p.p.s. If I have to pull your aching head out of your butt to kick it, that will really hurt. :):)

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Posted

I agree with Air Marshall. I just went through cranial surgery with my husband in the fall, and it is nothing to screw around with. If your doctor tells you to go to the ER, then go to the ER.

I don't understand consulting with a doctor if you won't take his recommendations seriously.

olga

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Posted

I put forth the question to my neurosurgeon's office, however she asked a NP, and the NP suggested the ER, NOT my neurosurgeon. That's just a default, stop-gap answer when they don't want to deal with it. Had I had a sufficient need to go to the ER I would have.

Stacia, thanks - that's what I'm doing currently. The hospital just sent me out with one script and left me hanging. So I'm going to my GP in the meantime, while I keep regular (Like monthly) appointments with my neuro where I do get CT scans.

And, AirMarshall, I had a CT scan 4 days ago! lol, we're keeping an eye on it, I promise.

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Posted

Oh, and my GP said he was more comfortable with oxycontin than the patch, and that they were equally addictive.

I wish someone could give me better advice... I guess just deal with it is the best thing to do.

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Posted

I guess just deal with it is the best thing to do.

Or go to the ER.

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Posted

NF, why? When I had a CT scan 4 days ago, I had my headache, and I was healing just fine according to the scan.

Yes, I still have a headache... nobody will tell me how long I'm supposed to have headaches. I'm not getting a daily CT scan, I can't afford that.

I don't even know why I started this thread... mostly I'm just talking to myself. People, stop telling me to go to the ER! If that's your response don't bother clicking the Reply button. That's a completely impractical answer.

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Posted

NF, why? When I had a CT scan 4 days ago, I had my headache, and I was healing just fine according to the scan.

It seems to me post op pain at 2 weeks not controlled by things like oxy is not normal. I had a friend have a craniotomy to remove a GBM tumor where they took off the front portion of her skull and she did not report this kind of pain even right after the procedure.

nf

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Posted

Well the pain has gone down considerably. It's about 2.5 weeks since surgery. Seems like the pain I experienced was normal... I'm not taking oxy anymore.

I'm finding new problems though... still a bit nauseas, short-term memory isn't great, and I'm VERY easily exhausted. I did manual labor yesterday, worked all day, and today I am TOTALLY wiped out. I feel like I haven't slept in a week. Even though, I just slept last night.

2.5 weeks isn't long after, and I'm getting better... I hope I get totally better though. It was almost dumb to push myself, but how else can I find my limits and exceed them?

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Posted

Oh, and I probably wasn't being clear... I wasn't having headaches that percocet couldn't fix, I just wanted to know how long I would have headaches in general, so I could plan a taper from the pain meds... my doctor has always kept my pain under control (My GP), but I wanted my neurosurgeon's input as some sort of guideline, and I was annoyed and disappointed by their copout answer. My GP says it was a copout answer too... so I just go to him in the meantime, but I keep my neuro appts.

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Posted

When Dad has his craniotomy last month we went to the ER four times afterwards, and he was admitted twice, in the span of a month. Yes, each time, he had one or more scans.

That's because the situation can change very quickly, and any possible infection there can quickly turn into meningitis (which kills in hours. Not days). So, even if everyone who works the ER knows your name keep going back until the problem is resolved. Also, what is approved for this country might not be for yours. So our giving advice here is really not that helpful. But know what is helpful? Doctors.

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Posted

I have family pressures too. My dad doesn't want me to waste too much money, and he thinks i just "like seeing doctors". He NEVER goes to the doctor himself. But he also didn't just have a craniotomy.

Things will get better.

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Posted

When Dad has his craniotomy last month we went to the ER four times afterwards, and he was admitted twice, in the span of a month. Yes, each time, he had one or more scans.

That's a lot of scans and a lot of radiation! What happened with your Dad? Did the scans show anything? What symptoms prompted him to go to the ER? And, what did they do for him?

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Posted

Bueler, I am going to make some comments. And if I am off the wall then please forgive me. First, I am so relieved you have made it through this. A serious surgery....so glad you are slowly recovering.

Perhaps it is too soon for you to be doing manual labor all day long!!! Just too soon for your body.

Also, I think your own anxiety is whipped up. You need to take the pain meds. Don't worry yet about doing a taper. That is not where you are. Stay in close contact with your GP. Let them help you with the medications.

Your dad is very invalidating. For God sake, you just have brain surgery and he tells you that you 'just like seeing doctors'???

:wall: That is so unsupportive and insulting. I am so sorry Bueler.

How long will you continue to have headaches? I don't think there is a way to predict that. So try not to worry about it. Just try to eat healthy, get extra rest, take your pain meds, and don't be hard on yourself. This is just going to take some time. You have been through a hard thing. Congratulate yourself Bueler.

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Posted

Beuler, you just had brain surgery. Your neurosurgeon thinks the amount/kind of pain you're having is sufficiently unusual to warrant a trip to the ER. Not following his advice strikes me as unspeakably stupid. It's your BRAIN we're talking about here. Any complications could be incredibly serious, even fatal if left untreated. What's wrong with you that you're worrying more about irritating your father than about the state of your own brain?

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Posted

Beuler, you just had brain surgery. Your neurosurgeon thinks the amount/kind of pain you're having is sufficiently unusual to warrant a trip to the ER. Not following his advice strikes me as unspeakably stupid. It's your BRAIN we're talking about here. Any complications could be incredibly serious, even fatal if left untreated. What's wrong with you that you're worrying more about irritating your father than about the state of your own brain?

My neurosurgeon didn't say that, a nurse practitioner did. I don't feel she has the expertise (nor is she really trying) to answer esoteric questions, such as how long exactly will my headaches last?

And yes, it's probably my anxiety. Nobody can tell me, it will be exactly 23 days of headaches, etc. Not even the neurosurgeon has a crystal ball.

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Posted

So because he is not able to see into the future, you are deliberately going AMA. I think you are being being foolish about a rather important part of your body. And so what if they are covering their asses? They are trying not to make a fatal mistake. If they are concerned about your symptoms, why would you dismiss it?

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Oh, and I probably wasn't being clear... I wasn't having headaches that percocet couldn't fix, I just wanted to know how long I would have headaches in general, so I could plan a taper from the pain meds... my doctor has always kept my pain under control (My GP), but I wanted my neurosurgeon's input as some sort of guideline, and I was annoyed and disappointed by their copout answer. My GP says it was a copout answer too... so I just go to him in the meantime, but I keep my neuro appts.

Sorry, guess I misunderstood when you said:

Anyway, my head hurts constantly, it even peaks through Percocet

nf

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Posted

Tell the doctors that this is fucking bullshit and they need to find a solution for your pain. You're already a hero for going through brain surgery and there is no reason -- medical, ethical, or otherwise -- that you should be in pain. If that's not clear to them, then emphasize that when they're done treating you, your pain should be controlled.

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So because he is not able to see into the future, you are deliberately going AMA. I think you are being being foolish about a rather important part of your body. And so what if they are covering their asses? They are trying not to make a fatal mistake. If they are concerned about your symptoms, why would you dismiss it?

This. Totally, totally, this.

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Posted

Oh, and I probably wasn't being clear... I wasn't having headaches that percocet couldn't fix, I just wanted to know how long I would have headaches in general, so I could plan a taper from the pain meds... my doctor has always kept my pain under control (My GP), but I wanted my neurosurgeon's input as some sort of guideline, and I was annoyed and disappointed by their copout answer. My GP says it was a copout answer too... so I just go to him in the meantime, but I keep my neuro appts.

Sorry, guess I misunderstood when you said:

Anyway, my head hurts constantly, it even peaks through Percocet

nf

Okay, you're right... you're following my posts closer than I am. At this point, the headaches aren't as bad... which is why I feel like I'm getting better and this isn't an emergency.

And to the other person, you're right, it's okay if they are covering their asses and don't want to make a mistake. I don't want to either. My worst fear though, is going to the ER and them telling me (and my father!) there is nothing wrong with me. I just couldn't do it, or I wouldn't tell my father.

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