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Bilateral TKR What is the post op pain like?

Oregon mom

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Certainly every body is unique, and our experiences with pain can vary widely. I am so curious about the pain following a total knee replacement. Can it be felt in your bones? Is it more the pain of the incision? I fractured a finger years ago and the pain was a dull, deep (but intense) ache rather than the sharp stabbing pain of a c-section. Or is it all kinds of pain all at once? If I'm taking my medication as prescribed and on time, can I manage, or will I just be in constant pain?
 

Moriah

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Great question !
 

newlybionic

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Everyone experiences pain in different ways. What I can tell you that if you take your meds and use ice (a great pain reliever) the pain is bearable. Unlike the pain of arthritis this pain will diminish as time goes by. You must not push the knee too hard in the beginning. You will be given a number of articles when you are on the post op side that will give you give you a wealth of information on what to expect during your recovery.

I hope this helps.
 

leejaa

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You should not be in constant pain with proper pain management medication. Each person's pain experience is very different depending on their particular surgery and their pain tolerance. I can honestly say that with appropriate pain medication taken on schedule I never had really severe pain and most of the time it was 1-2 pain levels. The other thing that really helps is icing and elevation to get the swelling down and under control. I iced pretty much non stop for a long time when I was not walking around. Something to discuss with your surgeon pre operatively as to what they do for pain control and what their philosophy is about refills. Before my last hip replacement I asked my surgeon if there were any changes to his protocols regarding refills if I needed them. He had done my other 3 replacements but the opioid issue had caused changes and I wanted to make sure there were not new protocol.
 

doodlebug60

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As leejaa said the pain is very manageable. The pain from a tkr is mainly a dull aching pain; not a sharp stabbing pain. Most people are on an opioid of some kind whether it's Hydrocodone or oxycodone; usually with a couple of 500mg. Tylenol. Taken on a regular schedule; this seems to work fairly well. The key is not to wait until the pain hits. You must take your meds on a regular schedule. Also ice and elevation along with the meds helps tremendously. Hope this helps to ease your anxiety; Doodlebug
 

Jaycey

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Post op pain is different for everyone and for every joint replacement - even on the same person. But the important point is it is manageable. Make it a priority to get your pain management cocktail just right before you leave the hospital. If a particular medication isn't working for you ask for an alternative.

One note - some patients have a problem with nausea post op. This can be due to the anaesthetic or the heavy duty pain meds. Ask for anti-nausea medication if you need it.
 

pamsknees

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Everyone is very different. My pain was less then I expected by a lot, but i iced constantly & stayed on schedule with the pain meds, never waiting for pain to take them. I was surprised by how sturdy my knees felt immediately after surgery too.
 

Tykey

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I've always thought that worrying about what might be does nothing to improve anything, and makes life less pleasant. It'll be what it'll be.
For what it's worth, as long as I kept the meds up, wasn't vertical but sat down with my leg elevated and iced, I had virtually no pain with either of my TKRs.
The pain only occurred when I got vertical to go on the toilet run or to bed, and went away after a couple of minutes of getting prone again. Not forgetting to do my GENTLE exercises of course.
 

Roy Gardiner

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Can it be felt in your bones?
No.
Is it more the pain of the incision?
My incision was painless, so yes.
Or is it all kinds of pain all at once?
No. It comes from the soft tissue around the knees, and is caused by putting force through them (e.g. going from sitting to standing).

Pre-op pain is bad, crippling, horrible, demoralising, and only gets worse. Post-op pain can be as bad, sometimes, in the first days. Your body is shocked -- someone has attacked you with saws, hammers and other assorted weaponry, cut bits of you off and hammered foreign material in. It's no wonder it's a bit discommoded!!

But the key fact is that the pain gets BETTER.

One's condition post-op is sometimes worse than pre-op for a few days or up to a MONTH later. One has to learn to roll with the punches, to relax, take medication, let the body do its thing and heal. It will do this all on its own. PT can be helpful with this process, but the key element is time.

But it will happen. Millions of TKRs are done every year; this wouldn't be so if it didn't work.
 

Celle

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There will be post-op pain, but it gets better every day and it is controllable. That awful pre-op bone on bone pain is gone and you may find that you are almost pain free when you're resting.

You'll probably find that you get aches and pains in other parts of your body and not just in your knees. Your body will have to adjust to a different gait after surgery and that has an impact on your hips and your back.

You can control post-op pain with regular medication. It's important to take your pain medications on a regular schedule and not wait until you feel you need it.

have a look at the section on Pain Management in the blue bar at the top of the page, to see the various ways in which pain is controlled.
 

Abbylayla

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I had no pain after surgery until the nerve block wore off. The day after surgery when it completely wore off I was in excruciating pain to the point breathing was difficult. I was put on an IV of dilaudid and another mixture alternately. Can't remember what the 2nd one was. That controlled the pain almost immediately.
I'm now 1 week out. I have pretty much zero pain at rest, its does hurt when walking & during PT though. It also swells up during those times.
My extension right now is -4. Flexion is 60. I'm having a difficult time gaining flexion.
 
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Oregon mom

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"You'll probably find that you get aches and pains in other parts of your body and not just in your knees. Your body will have to adjust to a different gait after surgery and that has an impact on your hips and your back."

I hadn't even thought about that! Thank you
 

Steph1234

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Hi there, I’m nearly 5 weeks post op with bilateral unicompartment knees. (50yrs old)
Interesting reading all the different responses about pain, it shows pain is different for everyone.
I had 8/10 pain day 2 when the spinal Morphine and local had worn off. I felt that pain was quite an intense bone throbbing pain. After about 8 hours of regular hourly medication combinations and icing of the knee, we got on top off it. The pain since has been manageable :)
I learnt the importance of maintaining regular pain relief to the point that your exercises can be carried out successfully without too much pain.
I was maintaining my pain while resting be needed to increase it to carry out my exercises.
Don’t be too worried about your flexion, it will come as your swelling reducers. Continue with regular exercises and by about week 2-3 you should have 90degrees flexion.
Regular rubbing in/massage of antiflamme cream helps and feels good!
I started riding my exercycle at post op 16 days, very slowly and only for about 2-3 min a day to start (not advised if any signs of new swelling) The first couple of turns are very slow and tight but it gets a whole lot easier after that!
Heading to pool next week to start aqua exercising!
I have scar sensitivity at night, I find my bedding stingy on my scars, so I sleep with a little pillow between my legs to keep blankets off them. I sure this will settle in time.
I also have numbness/tingling on the lateral side on the R knee which runs down to mid calf, the pain is pretty sharp and stingy when meds wear off but otherwise manageable.
 

TBITKR

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Today is 5 weeks for me, left TKR. The amount of pain has been a shock. Not only my knee hurts but pretty much my whole leg. BoneSmart has helped me figure out that I was possibly overdoing PT, exercises, and the amount of walking I was doing around the neighborhood. Be ready to ice with your legs elevated most of the day. I use the couch with a stack of pillows. The intense swelling feels
like granite, and is what keeps your knee from being able to bend.
Along with eating high protein and calcium supplements, I suggest eating pineapple each day (canned is fine). It is great for inflammation.
**One thing not often mentioned is the constipation caused by opioids. What works for me: take 2 Colace with each dose, also have Miralax once a day, and if by 3 days you haven’t moved your bowels then take 1-2 Ducolax (makes me nauseous during the overnite)
 
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Oregon mom

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I've been told that I'll have a nerve block that I'll wear around in a fanny pack for a couple days and then my husband is welcome to wash his hands, don gloves and remove it for me! Yikes!
I was also told that I'll basically be on a strong Tylenol and will be given 50 pills of an (as of yet) unnamed opioid to take as needed. That sounds like a skimpy approach to an intense procedure on both of my knees.
 

Tykey

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Tylenol and a occasional codeine was all I needed. Tylenol was a routine, normally codeine was used only at bedtime.
Quite a lot of icing to back it up.
Worked fine for me.
 

Dear mom

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I had
Certainly every body is unique, and our experiences with pain can vary widely. I am so curious about the pain following a total knee replacement. Can it be felt in your bones? Is it more the pain of the incision? I fractured a finger years ago and the pain was a dull, deep (but intense) ache rather than the sharp stabbing pain of a c-section. Or is it all kinds of pain all at once? If I'm taking my medication as prescribed and on time, can I manage, or will I just be in constant pain?
I had tkr and my pain was not bad. I was in hospital for 3 days with a nerve block to the site. I was well medicated with pain meds every 3-4 hours. I was given sufficient narcotics pain meds for my recovery period. I’d classify moderate pain level when stopping pain meds.
 

Tykey

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It's interesting to note that in the first couple of weeks, I differentiated pain between

A) when I was lying down, leg up, meds taken, ice in place, or in bed, then all I had was an occasional slight ache. 99% of my time was like this.

B) when I was vertical, ie about 1% of the time, ie getting to and from the toilet and/or bed,it hurt quite a bit, even with the meds. I just gritted my teeth, knowing it would be gone in a couple of minutes.

I suspect my experiences (twice) are the norm, others may have continual bad pain, but this doesn't often seem to be the case. Getting enough meds of the right type are the key to this.
 

InkedMarie

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I urge everyone having a TKR to find out exactly what your post op medications will be. Find out the dosage, frequency and how many pills will you get. Then, figure out how long that amount will last. If it says to take
1-2 every 4-6 hours....when will you run out? Can you get a refill? How will that be done? Do you have to pick it up? If yes, do you have to or can a friend or family member? Can the script be faxed to your pharmacy?

How much notice do you need to give for a refill?

Do you tend to get nauseous with meds? If yes, ask for the patch behind your ear while in the hospital and get a script for anti nausea meds for home. Make sure you have enough.
 

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