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Managing Pain Following Orthopedic Surgery

Last updated 4 years ago

Thanks to modern medicine, orthopedic surgery patients can expect only minor discomfort following the procedure. Your orthopedic surgeon and other members of your care team will work closely with you to ensure that your pain is well managed, both while you’re in the hospital and while you’re recovering at home. The following are some types of medications that may be included in your pain management plan.

Opioid Drugs

Opioids are commonly used following orthopedic surgery and other types of procedures because they are effective for relieving moderate to severe pain. Opioid drugs may be natural or synthetic. They work by adhering to opioid receptors in the brain to block pain signals. Often, an orthopedic surgeon will provide patients with a Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA) pump after surgery. When you feel pain, you can press a button and a machine will release a pre-determined amount of pain medication into your body intravenously. Later, your doctor may switch you to oral opioid medications. Be sure to follow the dosage instructions carefully if you’re still taking opioids when you return home.

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs are ideal for managing mild to moderate pain following surgery. Doctors often prescribe NSAIDs in conjunction with opioids for more effective pain management. NSAIDs have the added benefit of reducing inflammation and swelling. Adding NSAIDs to your pain management plan may help you use fewer opioid drugs.


Acetaminophen is another type of pain reliever that may be recommended along with opioid drugs. Although it may help you take fewer opioids, acetaminophen does not relieve inflammation.

In the Joint and Spine Center of Palms of Pasadena Hospital, our caring team members strive to make your recovery from orthopedic surgery as comfortable as possible, with private rooms, gourmet room service, and a concierge service. Our hospital in St. Petersburg provides a range of minimally invasive orthopedic surgery options to get you back on your feet as soon as possible. Residents near the St. Pete Beach area can contact our hospital at (855) 245-8328 or browse our website for more information on orthopedic surgery.


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