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How will my pain be managed after joint replacement surgery?

Scott D. Martin, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
If you had an anesthesia line in your back after joint replacement therapy, it may be left in place for a day or two to administer medication to keep your lower body pain-free. Otherwise you initially receive pain medication through an IV. If your doctor has recommended patient-controlled anesthesia, you push a button to administer pain-killing drugs into your IV as you need them; the machine is programmed so you cannot use too much medication. After a while, you switch to oral painkillers. Don't hesitate to use the medications. Pain is easier to control before it becomes intolerable. Taking medication 30 to 60 minutes before physical therapy helps you perform the exercises. In addition, the medication can help relieve pain and swelling, particularly after activity.
Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
While you are in the hospital after joint replacement surgery, your pain will likely be managed with intravenous painkillers you control yourself. After a few days, you may be able to manage your symptoms with pain-relieving pills. After you leave the hospital, your doctor will probably prescribe more pills for pain control. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.