Traditional Methods of Pain Management
Following a minimally invasive spine surgery, the patient is able, and advised to walk around as much as possible. In most cases, patients will take some time off of work as a precaution to avoid any strenuous activities that could hinder their recovery. For pain relief following a procedure, the patient is advised to avoid bending, lifting, twisting, and anything that could be considered an aggressive activity.
If you have been suffering from physical discomfort that could be relieved with a minimally invasive treatment option, do not let anxiety about the recovery period stop you from seeking the medical attention you need. These procedures are designed with speedy recovery in mind, and the goal is that post operative pain management is only a brief component of your path to recovery.
Managing Pain at Home
The first thing to do for patients to manage their pain at home is through activity modification, which means no bending, lifting, or twisting. Following some of the lower back procedures, patients can take anti-inflammatory medications, but should try to refrain from taking these after undergoing a neck procedure, because bleeding can become a more serious complication in that region of the body.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can often increase bleeding a bit, so physicians try to avoid these in neck operations, although they tend to be fine in some of the lower back operations. The patient should always follow their physician’s instructions on how to manage post-operative pain whenever they have a procedure.
Follow-up care instructions are written in laymen’s terms so the patient can understand the protocol they are meant to be following. Patients are usually always given prescription medication, such as a low-dose narcotic medication for a short period of time to keep them comfortable after their surgery.
Depending on when the procedure is being performed at the area of the body, people may use ice or heat to manage the pain. They could also use their brace if necessary to alleviate pain.
Duration of Pain Management
The length of time a recovering patient should continue these methods is entirely dependent on how quickly the recovery progresses, their age, and the type of procedure they have undergone. Most people improve in the first seven to ten days, while some people can improve sooner than that.
Some patients go back to work in two to three days. It depends on what procedure they have and how many levels they are having done, their age, and many other factors. However, that can vary significantly from patient to patient.
Every patient is different and their pain experiences will be different. Some people will require pain medication for about two to three days after the surgery. As the incision site heals, the pain will improve and therefore they will not require pain medications.
Post-Operative Pain Increase
Most people do have some discomfort for a short period of time after the procedure that is initially alleviated by the anesthetic medication and the pain medications that the physician prescribes. That being said, it is possible to feel little to no discomfort following a procedure, while certain patients may be prone to take longer to recover. Every person’s body is very unique, and that should be taken into account when considering recovery.
Some people actually start to show an improvement with minimally-invasive surgery soon after the procedure is over. Everyone reacts to pain differently, so some people can have more pain, but that is not typical.
If the pain is unbearable, or worse than it was prior to the surgery, that is concerning. The patient should contact their physician immediately for post-operative management if any of these things happen.