Pain Management for Moderate to Severe Pain

Depending on the type of surgery, you may experience increased pain after your procedure. However, when a person’s pain is disproportionate to expectations, that becomes concerning. You should call your physician and describe what you’re experiencing so that the doctor can localize the pain and address it directly. Pain management is an important step in the recovery process because the purpose of operating in the first place is to relieve pain, not build upon it.

The cause of excessive pain can be local inflammation from working around the nerves and doing the work to improve symptoms. The procedures can cause some local inflammation which takes a little bit of time to go away, but it is standard and is not a cause for concern unless it does not stop.

Duration of Pain

It is unusual to have severe pain beyond seven days past surgery. Patients may have some residual pain, but it is unusual to have any severe pain with a minimally-invasive procedure. After seven days, the you should be walking around and feeling a bit better. Most patients start feeling better every single day after that.

Managing Pain Following a Minimally-Invasive Spine Surgery

Patients can manage moderate to severe symptoms of discomfort with different types of prescription narcotic medication. In some circumstances, physicians will prescribe steroids, while at other times, they use gabapentin, an anti-seizure medication for nerve pain. Recovering patients can also use a back support or a TENS Unit as non-medication methods to support pain management.

The most common recommendation for managing moderate to severe pain following a minimally-invasive spine surgery is to take some low-dose narcotic medication and get rest. If you can, we recommend you wear a back support if you are recovering from a lower back operation as opposed to a neck operation. When the physician does a neck operation, they also put patients in a supportive collar. The neck collar, back support, and narcotic medications in the immediate post-operative period are very effective for controlling the symptoms of moderate to severe pain.

It is very unusual that a patient has severe pain after a procedure like this. These are smaller procedures and the whole goal of the procedure is to get the patient back to function as fast as possible.


Most patients are given opiates, which are narcotic medications. These are prescriptions given to the patient after the surgery.

When to Contact Your Doctor About Pain

Any patients suffering from moderate to severe pain post-operation should immediately call their physician if they believe the pain is abnormal.