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NSAIDs and back pain



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I'm 34 years old and have been experiencing on and off issues with my low back for the last 12 years. I have some herniated discs and degenerative disc disease but it seems like most of my pain comes from inflammation and muscles as I don't experience a lot of nerve pain. For the most part I can treat with Motrin or Naproxen and relieve my pain to the point that it isn't a bother. Occasionally I have bad flare ups that require prescriptions.

Part of the reason I wanted the sleeve surgery is the possibility of reducing this pain. I know it isn't a guarantee and some people have continued or even worse pain. But I'm hopeful that removing excess weight from my spine and joints will help in some capacity. However, I'm terrified of not being able to take NSAIDs after surgery. A lot of it may be more anxiety based than body based but it's a scary thought that I won't have something that I currently rely on. I've heard from a friend who was also worried that it was a non issue post op because most of his aches and pains when away with the weight. I'd love to hear some other people's experiences, especially anyone who has also dealt with chronic pain.

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My back pain sucked so much when I was 270 that it was hard to get through a shopping trip without sitting down. I was always looking for a bench. God, it hurt. Mostly lower back pain and hip pain from arthritis from several nasty equine hobby related injuries. And being fat.

I also worried about not having NSAIDs. Bigtime.

After losing the weight, my back felt tremendously better.

I didn't the first year....but these days if I want to take a dose of ibuprofen, my doctor is ok with it if I take antacids with it to protect my stomach and only use it a couple of times a month. Regular use would be a problem...but the occasional dose is ok with him since I'm over a year out.

I have no regrets. I have so little pain now and am so much more active. I've built up muscle in my core again and corrected most of the problems.

Have a talk with your doctor about it. What your options would be, what you could expect.

Wishing you the best.

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Thank you for your response, I appreciate it. I'm a highly anxious person so hearing positives from others is helpful. I'll definitely ask my surgeon about it. I guess my endoscopy will show what kind, if any, damage I've done using them currently and maybe that will guide his answer. And I'm sure increasing my activity levels will help too.

As a side note, we have similar starting stats and I will be thrilled if I'm where you are in a year or so! It's great to see how well others are doing and I've read some of your other posts that show how much normalcy and balance you have with things post op, its very encouraging.

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I'm a bypass patient, so NSAIDs are even worse for us (they used to allow NSAIDs for sleeve patients, but more and more surgeons now are telling their sleeve patients not to take them, either). I was worried about this as well because I had a lot of headaches and a lot of hip pain prior to surgery, but like Creekimp, most of my pain went away as well. I haven't taken ibuprofen or naproxen since surgery almost six years ago. Getting rid of that weight really made a difference!

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I have two back injuries myself and so I was concerned about that as well, but I've had less pain. What pain I do have I just take tumeric for and it works just as well as Naproxen or Ibuprofen used to.

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I also have chronic back pain and was on Mobic and muscle relaxers before surgery. I had to stop the Mobic (an NSAID) 2 weeks prior to surgery. I was terrified but at least I could still take Tylenol arthritis. I chose to get WLS because I still have to work another 20 years as a healthcare worker and I couldn't see my back holding out for that long. There were other reasons as well but that was a big motivator. I know my weight loss has already helped and it's only been since March 22nd. According to my doc I am never to take NSAIDS again. However, I did get a post-op Pneumonia and a pleural effusion which resulted in excruciating pleurisy pain. The ONLY thing that helped was when I added in Motrin. My doc allowed it for a few days. So, I think as long as you take a PPI (Omeprazole, Pantoprazole, etc..) while taking an NSAID, there will be times when NSAIDS will be ok. But of course ask your doc first.

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My surgeon was fine with me taking nsaids too but it was because I took them randomly: one or two tablets maybe once every couple of months for tension headaches. They are the only pain meds that worked.

I have oozing discs in my lower back so I know that pain. Losing my weight certainly helped but honestly, if I stand for an hour the discomfort returns. It’s like the weight of my upper body puts pressure on & squeezes the discs. I try to get off my feet as quickly as possible which will ease it. Over the counter nsaids don’t help me though. Thankfully, the pain hasn’t been so great or prolonged that I’ve had to seek stronger anti inflammatories from my doctor since my surgery. Fingers crossed.

Hope your weight loss eases a lot if your pain. But have a discussion about taking nsaids in the future with your surgeon. Your surgeon may have a different response than mine & @Creekimp13. Every case is different.

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