Make sure you get proper pain management

July 14, 2018

The list of NBA players’ injuries this season was astounding: Golden Stater Steph Curry (ankle, ankle, ankle, ankle, MCL of knee), Boston Celtic Kyrie Irving (knee), 76er Joel Embiid (broken eye socket) and many others.

They all must contend with post-op pain management and the challenges of rehab if they’re going to get back into the game. That’s just like the 1.77 million of you who will rehab this year from a knee replacement, rotator cuff surgery or hernia repair.

But there’s a catch, according to a new study presented at this year’s Scientific Summit of the American Pain Society. For everyday athletes (including those of you getting your 10,000 daily steps) it’s difficult to get the post-op pain management you need in order to heal rapidly and endure rehab. That’s because too often nurses take you at your word when you rate your pain level. According to one of the study’s authors: “We’re sometimes fixated on this number scale. (‘Please rate your pain 1 to 10.’)

We really need to go back to that patient and say: ‘Are you satisfied?’ ‘Can you tolerate this for a long period of time?’”

Generally, that’s not happening, so you or a family member should be prepared to give more info to your nurses. (“It’s OK now, but it won’t be if it persists.”) Then you’ll get more effective pain management (usually not narcotic-based), heal faster and need less pain medication in the long run. That’s a rebound that back-in-the-lineup Cavalier Kevin Love would appreciate!

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

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