Anyone who’s had lower back surgery knows that the procedure itself is just the beginning of the journey.
Rehabilitative measures and pain management are two crucial components of recovery from back surgery. This post will share tips for creating an effective pain management for after your lower back surgery. Structuring your plan before the big day will make transitioning to the next phase of your journey much easier.
Hospital-Based Pain Management
Ask your doctor about hospitals offering an in-house pain management service. Many surgeons in urban centers attend at more than one hospital, so while discussing your lower back surgery, be sure to enquire which of the hospitals she operates at offer an in-house pain management unit.
Once you’ve determined which hospital your operation is scheduled to take place at, book a pre-op appointment to discuss your options. It’s best to work with one person throughout your recovery, so enquire about this aspect, as well.
During your interview, you’ll be asked to share a variety of information, including:
- Concerns about pain medications
- Pain management interventions which haven’t been successful for you in the past
- Medications you’re currently taking (as these can cause complications and may have contraindications with other drugs in your pain management regime)
Most pain management specialists will counsel a combined strategy of drug and other therapies. Medications will include anti-inflammatories and non-opioid pain medications. In some cases, opioids may be prescribed, as well as local anesthetics. Your options will be discussed in detail, including methods of delivery.
Options which don’t involve medication are varied and your pain management physician will talk to you about techniques to mitigate pain and to reduce the need for pain medication.
Pain management professionals will tell you about techniques like coughing painlessly (because it can really hurt), breathing techniques to help you move through pain, body mechanics and walking without risk.
Massage, stretching and heat/cold application will also be discussed with you in detail.
Be Ready for the Pain
Don’t let pain rear its ugly head. That means taking your medication exactly as prescribed. Your pain management doctor will discuss this with you, because it’s crucial to containing the pain and heading it off at the pass. Just because you’re not in pain when it’s time to take your meds does not imply that you won’t be if you fail to.
Have a post-operative plan which encompasses easy and rapid access to your medications. Know where they are and reduce the possibility of pain having its way.
You’ll also need support when you go home. Enlist loved ones to assist with things like meal preparation. If you’re given movement restrictions for the initial healing period (and you most likely will be), be sure to obtain the appliances you’ll need at home to enable you to go to the bathroom, put on socks and pants, as well as mobility aids like canes and walkers.
Central Texas Spine Institute is committed to your wellbeing. Contact us.