Knee replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty, is a common orthopedic procedure that can tremendously improve the quality of life for individuals suffering from severe knee pain. It involves the replacement of damaged parts of the knee joint with artificial components to relieve pain and restore function.
However, as with any major surgical procedure, knee replacement often brings up one significant concern among chronic pain patients — post-surgical pain.
What are the options for pain management after knee replacement surgery?
Understanding Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement surgery entails the removal of the damaged bone and cartilage from your thighbone, shinbone, and kneecap, replacing it with an artificial joint made from metal alloys, high-grade plastics, and polymers. Factors such as the extent of damage, your overall health, age, and weight can all impact your post-surgery pain levels.
The Reality of Post-Surgery Pain
Post-surgical pain is a normal part of the healing process. Following a knee replacement, it’s common to experience moderate to severe pain initially. However, this discomfort should gradually decrease over time and is typically manageable with proper pain control methods. The duration of post-surgery pain varies among individuals but usually subsides within 12 weeks.
It’s helpful to differentiate between normal post-surgery discomfort and unusual pain. Normal pain decreases over time and responds well to pain medication. However, if your pain intensifies or lasts longer than expected, it may indicate a complication.
Pain Management After Knee Replacement
For the most effective pain management after knee replacement, most medical doctors recommend one or more of the following strategies:
Medical Pain Management
Your doctor will likely prescribe medications to control your pain after surgery. These might include opioids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and local anesthetics. It’s essential to use these medications as instructed to avoid potential side effects including potential addiction.
Physiotherapy and Exercise
Physical therapy is a key component in recovery and pain management following knee replacement surgery. Regular exercise strengthens the muscles around your new knee joint, enhances mobility, and helps reduce pain.
Diet and Nutrition
A healthy diet can aid in your recovery by promoting wound healing, fighting inflammation, and boosting your immune system. Consuming foods rich in protein, vitamins C and D, and calcium can help speed up recovery.
Techniques such as mindfulness and meditation can be powerful tools in managing post-surgical pain. These methods shift your focus away from the discomfort and promote relaxation.
Minimally Invasive Procedures
These advanced treatments are becoming more popular for managing pain. They target the precise source of a patient’s pain and provide faster, more noticeable relief for most patients. Therapies in this category include corticosteroid injections, radiofrequency ablations, nerve blocks, and trigger point injections. You can find these treatments at pain clinics like HPM.
When to Seek Further Medical Attention
While some level of discomfort is expected after surgery, certain symptoms may indicate a need for further medical attention. These include severe pain that doesn’t improve with medication, significant swelling or redness around the knee, difficulty moving your leg, or signs of infection such as fever or chills.
Always report any abnormal or persistent pain to your doctor promptly, or visit a pain management clinic.
Find Help with Pain at HPM
At HPM, we know firsthand that living with chronic pain can be challenging. That’s why we offer comprehensive pain management services at clinics throughout rural America to help you on your journey toward a more comfortable life.
Visit our website today to find a location near you. Our highly trained specialists can help with pain management after knee replacement or any of a long list of conditions that can cause chronic pain. HPM is committed to helping patients manage their pain effectively so they can get back to enjoying life again.