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After Knee Replacement: Managing Pain at Home

You may be given 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 be instructed to take pain medicine on a regular schedule for the first 2 to 3 days, then take them as advised You may also be told to take over-the-counter pain medicines that don’t need a prescription. You may be told to use these instead of prescription medicines. Take each dose on time, rather than waiting for pain to become severe. You may be instructed to take pain medicine before physical therapy for at least the first 2 to 4 weeks. Wait about 30 to 60 minutes after taking pain medicine before starting an activity, such as physical therapy and exercise. This will give it time to start working. Tell your healthcare provider if the medicine doesn’t control your pain enough or if you suddenly feel worse. Icing and raising your leg above the level of your heart may help reduce swelling and ease pain. Ask your healthcare provider about possible side effects. These may include:

  • Feeling sleepy

  • Having constipation

  • Becoming dependent on the medicine

Your surgeon may also advise some of these other treatments for your pain: 

  • Relaxation techniques

  • Massage therapy

  • Acupuncture

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (a TENS unit)

  • Continuous passive motion (used on rare occasions)

Often a combination of medicine and other treatments works best.

Online Medical Reviewer: Rahul Banerjee MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2024
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