Managing Pain After Joint Replacement

Senior swimsAfter joint-replacement surgery, patients often suffer pain and discomfort. Managing this pain is key to recovery, and resuming regular day-to-day activities in a timely fashion.  According to, patients can take several steps to manage their pain after joint-replacement surgery:

1. Get Plenty of Rest
Surgery to replace a joint is very taxing on the body. Getting plenty of rest is critical to the body’s full recovery.  The damage that was caused to the joint did not happen in a short time, so you should not expect to resume simple daily activities until at least five days after the surgery. You should not expect to do more rigorous activities until at least two to four weeks after surgery.

2. Remember to Ice
Ice is a very effective way to reduce pain after joint-replacement surgery. Patients can either use bagged ice or gel ice packs; make sure to change ice regularly and don’t put ice packs directly on your skin – they can burn. If you had knee-replacement surgery, elevate your leg while icing.

3. Take your Medication
Narcotic medication is typically prescribed after joint-replacement surgery. Patients should expect to be on steady pain medication for a few weeks after surgery. Because pain causes swelling, it is very important to take your medication, as well as communicate with your surgeon about possible tweaks in the dosage. As time goes by, the amount of medication/level of frequency may be reduced, but patients should expect to continue with medication for several weeks (especially at night).

4. Elevate if Necessary
If you’ve had knee-replacement surgery, elevating your feet higher than your hips is imperative.  Elevation helps reduce pain. Use pillows or rolled up blankets to help keep your feet propped up.

At the Medical Center of McKinney, we’re committed to helping you manage your pain after joint-replacement surgery. For more information about joint-replacement surgery, or managing pain post-op, contact us by phone at (972) 547-8000.

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