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What should I expect when coming off of medications before surgery?

I am having a cervical fusion next week and stopping all arthritis meds. I've only been diagnosed with RA for a year and this is the first surgery since then.

Does it make you have to start back at square 1, where things were before getting to this level of controlled inflammation/pain? Will I have to ramp back up to the levels I was taking before the surgery? Will surgery pain be worse due to the RA pain on top of it?

Any insight is appreciated. I can't wait for the surgery to happen, but just not sure how RA affects the whole thing other than my healing may be slower.

  1. Hello Sonnysmom18,

    I have had numerous surgeries over the years since my RA diagnosis. Many of these have required that I stopped RA medications before and stay off of them after surgery. These surgeries include an extensive spinal surgery in 2020.

    So let em try to answer your questions:

    square 1: No. I always feel pretty bad, but I never go back to square 1. i always am glad to get my RA medications back, but I am never back to square 1.

    controlled inflammation/pain: I will not lie, I always feel tough until i get 'my life back'. I am usually slower, I hurt more, I am more stiff and yes my pain goes up a lot. But the good news is that I know there are ways to put that mean genie back in the bottle. I always feel better when I do get back to them.

    ramp back up: I have never had too. I have always restarted where I left off. However that is a question only your docotr can answer. Each person and each situation is different. But as I say I have been able to simply restart.

    surgery pain: I have never felt it was worse. Instead it is concurrent. Meaning the RA and surgical pain just happen at the same time. Not worse. I tend to treat surgical pain for a short period until I get it under control and then I notice the RA pain. I always say I notice what is worse at the moment. After a surgery it is usually surgical for a few days then I start to notice the RA pain. for the most part it is the same treatment so suppressing one is no different than the other.

    I seldom use opioids for any pain since i dislike it so much. However, if you wish to reach out to me feel free to do so. I will be happy to answer questions.

    rick - moderator

    1. Thank you Rick. It's good to know that I can (most likely) start back where I left off with the meds. I've been off of them around 3-4 days now and, all of a sudden, exhaustion hit a lot like it was before my diagnosis and starting to hurt more. I have 5 more days until the surgery, so I pray it doesn't get much worse. Thankfully, I know that surgical pain does end-I just have to keep reminding myself that the severity of the RA pain can end too. Any other thoughts on the matter are appreciated.
      I'm trying to not have to use the Tramadol too much now, because I want it to be effective after the surgery and not accommodate to it. So, I guess I just have to let my body rest before the surgery.

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