Health Blog with a stethoscope sitting on top of a laptop.

Welcome to Our Blog.

At McLeod Health, we are dedicated to providing useful health and medical information to our community. Take a look at our blog categories and choose those that interest you. Be sure to subscribe to each category of interest and we will send you new blog articles as they are posted.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
Posted on in Orthopedics

Managing Pain While You Recover from Total Joint Replacement

Medically reviewed by Dr. Michael Sutton, McLeod Orthopaedics Dillon

Total Joint Replacement  for Knees and Hips can reduce pain, increase mobility and enhance overall quality of life. So, why do people wait…and wait…delay…put off…find excuses to avoid the surgery?  For many, it’s anxiety over the pain they’ll have while recovering from the surgery. “There will be pain, as there is with any surgery,” says McLeod Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Michael Sutton. “Yet, remember two things.  One: Unlike the pain from your knee before surgery, this pain will ease and eventually vanish as you complete your rehab.  Two: New developments continue to improve post-surgical pain management.” 

BEFORE YOUR SURGERY

Many surgeons begin well before the procedure by talking with patients about their anxiety, educating them fully about what to expect, and even starting patients on some pain control medications before the surgery.

It’s important that patients discuss with their surgeon any expectations or fears. Sharing previous experience with pain management – good or bad – is also important. Studies show that women, between the ages of 45 to 65 and overweight individuals may experience the most pain following surgery.

AS YOU RECOVER

While you’re in the hospital, the staff will ensure you receive appropriate pain medication. After you go home, your pain management plan may include several approaches (what the doctors call multi-modal).

Most patient’s pain after surgery is well controlled within a week or two.  Additional pain medications may be needed during serious physical therapy.

“E & I” – simply Elevating and Icing your surgical point is one of the easier ways to control swelling and pain. 

You’ll likely be told to take some aspirin or ibuprofen (technically NonSteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs [NSAIDs]).

Your surgeon may prescribe pain medication that combines NSAIDs with an Opioid (Codeine, Tramadol). Tell your physician if any of these medications create extreme dizziness.  

You are better able to control your pain if you can take the medications before an episode of pain starts up again.  

Addiction to the painkillers – while a possibility – is very rare when using them only for a few weeks.  About 4 weeks after surgery, your Orthopedic Specialist will begin reducing the dosages. And you may require less and less until about 10 to 12 weeks after surgery.

FINAL THOUGHT

As you undertake the recovery/rehabilitation phase of your total joint replacement, keep your Orthopedic Surgeon informed about any medication you’re taking. Even vitamins, supplements or over the counter drugs, such as ibuprofen. 

Some medications can cause negative side effects when they mix in your system.

If you are concerned about the total joint replacement pain or pain management, talk to an Orthopedic Specialist about your feelings and options to consider. 

Find an Orthopedic Specialist near you. 

Sources include:  McLeod Health, American Academy of Orthpaedic Surgeons, National Institutes of Health, Hospital for Special Surgery, Journal of Opioid Management, Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, Foundation for the Advancement of Research in Medicine.

The information on this site is intended to increase your awareness and understanding of specific health issues and
services at McLeod Health. It should not be used for diagnosis or as a substitute for health care by your physician.
To report technical issues, please contact us. Public Access to Information or To Report a Concern.

©2012 McLeod Health. Download Vendor Code of Conduct | HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices | Patient Bill of Rights
Report a Concern | Visitation | Download McLeod Health Mission & Values