After Knee Replacement: Managing Pain at Home

Woman’s hand holding pill with prescription pill bottle nearby.

You may be prescribed pain medicine to use at home. With pain under control, you’ll get back to an active life sooner. Use pain medicine only as directed. You may also be instructed to take over-the-counter pain medicines (these do not require a prescription) to use in addition to, or instead of, your prescription medicines. Take each dose on schedule, before pain becomes severe. Wait about 30 to 60 minutes after taking pain medicine before starting an activity, such as exercise. This will give it time to start working. Tell your doctor if the medicine doesn’t control your pain enough or if you suddenly feel worse. Icing and elevating your leg can also help relieve pain. Ask your doctor about possible side effects such as drowsiness, constipation or dependency.

Your surgeon may also recommend one or more of various non-medication treatments for your pain.  These may include relaxation techniques, massage therapy, acupuncture, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (a TENS unit), continuous passive motion, and others.  Often a combination of medicine and non-medicine therapy works best.


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