Managing Pain After a Back Surgery

People undergo back surgery because they are in pain. Following back surgery, there is one guarantee. You will experience pain, but of a different sort. The intensity and length of your post-surgical pain depends on various factors, including the type of surgery and your overall health and pain tolerance.

Minimally invasive back surgeries usually involve less pain and less need for pain medication than traditional, open back surgeries. Your skilled doctor will discuss pain management with you prior to your operation, and answer questions about your particular situation.

Pain Medication

Pain medication is the initial method of managing back pain immediately post-surgery. Opiate pain medication provides strong pain relief, but there are possible side effects. These include:

  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Patients are closely monitored when prescribed opioids, and weaned off them as soon as possible. It is important that a person’s health care providers know their patient’s pain level and gives them an honest assessment rather than trying to “tough it out.” Adequate pain control is needed in order to go through the physical therapy and an exercise regimen is necessary for successful healing.

After the initial use of prescription pain medication, the back surgery patient may find relief through the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are available over-the-counter. These include drugs such as ibuprofen, under the brand names Advil and Motrin, or naproxen, marketed under the name Aleve. Generic versions of these drugs work well.

Some patients may find pain relief through the use of anti-anxiety or antidepressant drugs. Individuals should discuss this option with their doctor.

Non-Drug Pain Relief

Certain forms of non-drug pain relief can offer help for postoperative back surgery patients. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another. Examples of non-drug pain relief include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Meditation
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation (TENS) – this therapy uses low voltage electricity to relieve back pain.

Healing Takes Time

It can take a while to thoroughly recover from back surgery. Pain diminishes over time, but complete healing may take up to a year. Fortunately, most patients are able to return to work and resume normal – but not overly strenuous – activities within a few months post-op.

During this period, pain levels may fluctuate. It is essential for a person to let their doctor know about any pain they experience, especially if the pain worsens rather than improves over time.

Contact Skilled Back Pain Doctors Today

If you suffer from back pain, call a Tampa Bay doctor today and arrange an appointment for a consultation.