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How do I manage pain after spinal nerve decompression surgery?

Prescription pain medication and muscle relaxants can help manage the pain following decompression surgery.

You should notify your neurosurgeon if there is increasing arm or leg pain, weakness or numbness, or overall pain that doesn’t diminish over time.

You will also likely be given strict instructions regarding your recovery period and subsequent physical therapy, if necessary. Instructions will likely include restrictions on certain movements and activities after a period of extensive rest.
Matthew F. McCarty, MD
Anesthesiology

As in any surgery where tissue is cut there can be muscular pain and spasm following a surgery and can be treated with opioids and muscle relaxants over the first 2-3 weeks. Spinal nerve decompression surgery can still leave a nerve swollen even though not directly impinged by the disc or bone structure. Shooting, constant tingling pain can be the result. Neuropathic agents such as lyrica and gabapentin aimed at stabilizing the nerve membranes can be helpful if inflammation and or chronic damage are present.

Use pain medication as directed. When you leave the hospital after spinal nerve decompression surgery (a surgery to take pressure off compressed, or "pinched," nerves in your spine), your pain should be under good control.
  • Your doctor will talk to you about continuing to manage your pain with medications. Don't take aspirin for five days after surgery.
  • Take your pain medication as soon as you need it. Don't wait for the pain to get too bad.
  • Your doctor will give you specific instructions on caring for your surgical wound.

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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.