Pain Management for Moderate to Severe Pain

It is common for patients to experience an increase in their pain levels following surgery, and it depends on the type of procedure they have just had. However, when a person’s pain is disproportionate to what would be expected and what the doctor told them prior to the operation, that becomes concerning. The patient should call their physician for further information on what kind of pain they are experiencing, so that the doctor can localize the pain and address it directly. Pain management is a very 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 actually doing the work to improve the symptoms. The procedures can cause some local inflammation which takes a little bit of time to go away, but is pretty 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 patient should be walking around and feeling a bit better. Patients should just 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 recommended method for managing moderate to severe pain following a minimally-invasive spine surgery is to take some low-dose narcotic medication and take it easy. If an individual can, it is recommended that patients wear back support if they 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. They have those available to them if they are having increased pain.

When to Contact Your Doctor About Pain

Any patients suffering from moderate to severe pain post-operation should know that if they are experiencing anything bizarre or out of the norm, they should immediately call their physician. There should be instructions given to each patient with the best contact information to reach their doctor so that they can reach their physician in a timely fashion.