Pain Management After Spine Surgery

Norton Leatherman Spine approaches pain management carefully. Here’s what to expect in the hospital and once you get home.

What to Expect

  • You will have pain after surgery, and the nurses and doctors will do their best to help you manage it. While you are in the hospital, you will still have some pain even though you will be given medicine.
  • Your doctors and nurses will tell you what medicines you can take to lessen the pain, including pain pills and muscle relaxers, and how often you are allowed to take them.
  • Your doctor decides how much medicine you can take safely, and how often it can be given safely.
  • Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication while you are in the hospital and when you go home.
  • You will get IV pain medication immediately after surgery in the recovery room. As soon as possible you will start taking pain pills and muscle relaxers.
  • While you are in the hospital your nurses will ask you to rate your pain with a number from 1 to 10. Because you have had surgery and have an incision, we may not be able to take away all of your pain.
  • Even if you still have pain, you will need to move around in bed, sit up for meals, walk in the hall and do your physical therapy. This will help you get better faster.
  • Whether your stay is overnight or a few days, you will still have some pain when you go home. Remember, pain medications take time to work (at least 20 minutes).
  • It is important to take your pain medication and muscle relaxers exactly as your doctors prescribe. Pain medication side effects include slowing down your breathing and making you sleepy, so do not take more medication than your doctors prescribed. If you overuse your medicine, you may not be able to have your prescription refilled.
  • In addition to taking medicine, you may try to lessen your pain by listening to music, meditating, deep breathing and changing position.

Controlling Your Pain

Pain control measures can help with your comfort as you recover. Fear and anxiety turn up the volume on the pain alarm, making pain seem worse. If you know what to expect, you’ll feel less afraid and more in control. This helps make pain a little easier to handle.

Exercise, mind/body therapies (such as meditation and deep breathing) and medications are a few methods for controlling pain. After surgery, medications will be used as the primary method of pain control.

Pain Control During Your Hospital Stay

Your nurses in the hospital will ask you to rate your pain using a pain scale. The scale lets you rank your pain and describe it to others. It ranges from 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst possible pain).

About Norton Leatherman Spine

Norton Leatherman Spine is a combined team of orthopedic spine surgeons, neurosurgeons from Norton Neuroscience Institute and pain management specialists who provide care for adults and children from Louisville and Southern Indiana, as well as from across the region, nation and world.

  • The multidisciplinary team incorporates expertise from a variety of specialties to offer a comprehensive array of treatment options that include minimally invasive and nonsurgical therapies.
  • Our team approach to the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of spine conditions works cooperatively with primary care physicians and other specialists to develop a treatment plan as unique as each individual.
  • Because you may not need surgery, you may work with our pain management team, physical therapy specialists and others who can create a care plan with the right types of treatments for you.
  • If you need surgery, you’re in experienced hands. Norton Leatherman Spine physicians perform more than 4,000 surgeries a year.
  • Our team has more than 45 specialists at nearly 20 offices across Louisville and Southern Indiana. Many offer same-day appointments and Saturday hours, with no referral needed
  • Our specialists are internationally recognized leaders in clinical research of spinal disease, injury and deformity, and have served in senior positions in the Scoliosis Research Society, the most prestigious organization for scoliosis surgeons around the world.
  • Norton Healthcare is the first health system in the nation to be recognized as an Advanced Orthopedic & Spine Center of Excellence by DNV.
  • We offer minimally invasive and robotic-assisted procedures that carry less risk and can speed your recovery.
  • We use the EOS Imaging system, which collects high-resolution images while exposing the patient to 50% to 85% less radiation than traditional X-rays and 95% less than basic CT scans. The system is especially beneficial to scoliosis patients who often need repeated imaging to monitor their progress.
  • Use MyNortonChart to communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions and more, anytime from a mobile device or computer

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