The first two or three days are the most difficult. After that, each day gets better.
You probably won’t have as much privacy as you are accustomed to during the first few days. Not being able to do some things for yourself may be embarrassing or it may not bother you as much as you think. Remember, you have more important things to be concerned about.
There are a lot of things you may have to do that you may not want to do or may not feel like doing. You may feel agitated because so many people are telling you what to do. Because you are frustrated and uncomfortable, you may feel emotionally explosive. Try not to take it out on the people around you.
Remember, they are doing everything they can to help you feel better and get you home faster. When you are feeling frustrated, try to think about what you can do today that you were unable to do yesterday. You have already come a long way!
The best way to make this an easier experience is to work together with the nurses, therapists, doctors and your family. Communicating with the care team will greatly benefit you and will help them take better care of you.
Everyone’s experience with pain after spinal fusion surgery is different. Your doctors, nurses and family all have the same goal: to help you be as comfortable as possible. Tension in your body and tightening of your muscles can make you hurt more, so it is very important to help yourself relax and stay as calm as possible. It is okay to ask for medicine for your pain when you need it. In fact, the medicine works best if you receive it before the pain becomes unbearable!
Pain After Spinal Fusion Surgery
Your nurse will frequently ask you the level of your pain. He or she will use what we call a "pain scale" from 0-10. The 0 represents no pain, while the 10 signifies pain that is the worst you’ve ever experienced. Your nurse may ask you to describe your pain with words such as sharp, burning, throbbing or dull. Please be honest with your nurses at all times. They are here to help keep you comfortable.
Here are some suggestions that have helped other kids and teens relieve pain after scoliosis surgery:
- Change your position.
- Channel your pain. Think about the pain moving out of your body or concentrate on another part of your body such as your thumb or elbow.
- Listen to relaxing music.
- Have someone wash your face or hair. Feeling calm and fresh makes a world of difference.
- Have someone read to you.
- Change the look and feel of your room. For example, turn off the lights, close the blinds and turn on a fan to cool you.
- Use breathing techniques. Taking slow deep breaths sometimes helps your body to relax.
- Get up and move around.
- Go for a short walk (with help of course!).
The most important thing you can do is to identify what helps you relax and then make a plan for yourself. Share your plan with a family member who will be at the hospital with you or write it down. Always keep a positive attitude; each day will get better!