Facing normal post-op pain from major knee surgeries such as ACL repair, meniscus repair, and knee replacement can be intimidating.
But you can cut back on the knee pain and recovery time.
Here are some tips to help you put your best foot (or knee) forward.
1. Take care of the wound.
When in bed or sitting, elevate your leg to improve blood circulation.
Also, follow the doctor’s instructions on keeping the wound clean and dry and apply ice packs or cold or heated compresses as directed.
2. Stick to the rehab program.
Keeping up with the rehab plan laid out by your physical therapist or doctor is vital.
The initial days following your knee surgery will involve a lot of rest. However, your therapist will likely emphasize that a little physical activity is much better than none.
Shift positions in bed every hour or two. If needed, use a cane or crutches to walk around some. Moving will circulate blood through the wounded area, speed recovery, and reduce the time you are in pain.
Your doctor will clear you to exercise after the initial recovery phase. But that doesn’t mean you won’t have pain. But low impact activities like walking, swimming, and stationary biking will strengthen your legs and promote faster healing.
3. Avoid setbacks.
Your doctor and physical therapist will probably warn you about exerting yourself too hard soon after knee surgery.
Lifting and moving heavy objects, heavy weightlifting, and too much exercise can reinjure your tender knee.
4. Build a healthier lifestyle.
Rehabbing after surgery is a golden opportunity to form and reinforce good habits.
- Eat better. Try to cut back on or eliminate poor eating habits. Extra body weight puts extra pressure on your knees.
- Stop drinking. Alcohol adds calories to your diet and can be dangerous when consumed with pain medications such as opioids and NSAIDs.
- Stop smoking. In addition to its well-known health hazards, smoking slows the healing process by shrinking blood vessels.
Taking better care of yourself will promote faster healing.
5. Take medication.
Immediately after surgery, the anesthesiologist may inject a peripheral nerve block at the surgery site, which will numb the area for 24 hours.
When this wears off, you have options for pain relief, including OTC medications like acetaminophen and NSAIDs (Tylenol and aspirin) and prescription opioids (oxycodone). As opioids are addictive, make sure to take them for as short a duration as possible.
6. Consult a pain management specialist.
Depending on your condition, health history, and preferences, a certified pain management specialist can help you choose treatments and medications.
We Specialize in Pain Management
Are you suffering from post-surgery pain? At Texas Pain Physicians, our pain doctors are board-certified in pain management.
Please give us a call at (972) 636-5727 to set up an appointment today!