mac pain management back surgeryDear Angela:

I am scheduled to have back surgery in a few weeks. One big concern I have is pain management. I’ve had so many friends and family members who’ve had back surgery and have told me how painful it is afterward.

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Is rehab right for you?

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My goal before surgery is to explore natural ways to manage pain and to learn more about pain medications.

Do you have any guidance you can share? I’m hoping to have a smoother recovery than what I’ve witnessed people I know suffer through.

Sincerely,

Steve

Tips for Pain Management

Dear Steve:

Pain management can be a complicated issue, for sure! And pain from back surgery can be complex.

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Here’s how to avoid rehospitalization.

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Everyone has a different pain threshold so they react to pain differently. Doctors sometimes have a tough time finding the right balance between too much pain medication and too little. And with addiction rates nationwide on the rise, no physician wants to put a patient at risk.

While it will be very important for you to work closely with your own physician after your surgery, here are a few general tips from pain management experts:

  • Stick with Medication Schedule: Pain medications need to be taken on time every time. You will often hear healthcare professionals say sticking with your scheduled doses is important to “staying ahead of the pain.” What they mean is that if you take a dosage too late, the pain may increase to the point where your prescribed dose can’t catch up.

  • Follow Doctor’s Orders: This one can be difficult to do once you are home. But it is important to follow your doctor’s order with regard to daily activities. When in doubt, call your physician’s office for clarification on what you can and can’t do.

  • Be Honest: Patients sometimes feel like they are whining or being difficult if they call their doctor about pain. It is important to be honest and to communicate with your physician. They will often ask you to rate your pain. If you aren’t sure about how to use the pain scale to do that, ask your nurse or doctor to review it with you. Being able to objectively assess your pain will help the doctor decide on the best custom intervention to make you more comfortable.

  • Natural Remedies for Pain: Talk with your doctor before the surgery for advice on natural pain management remedies. Sometimes they will recommend hot packs and, other times, cold packs. And there may be occasions to alternate between the two.

I hope these tips help, Steve! And best of luck with your upcoming surgery.

Angela Smith

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