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!
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!