Joint replacement surgery in the United States is relatively common, with over 400,000 hip replacement surgeries happening every year. Joint replacement surgeries are considered the most common elective surgery in America and involve removing part of a damaged joint and replacing it with a prosthetic that can mimic a real joint.
When you are worried about hip replacement recovery, the most important thing to do is to inform yourself of what to expect and prepare your home for your return. Discover how easy hip replacement recovery can be when you implement these 8 tips into your recovery plan.
1. Hip Replacement Recovery Pain Management
It goes without saying that every major surgery involves a certain degree of pain, and hip replacement recovery is no different. Your pain will undergo a series of stages, and will ultimately begin to decrease by about the third day following your surgery.
If you count the day of your surgery as day zero, the day after would be day one. By day three, doctors and surgeons say your pain will peak, and then begin to subside.
On day zero and day one, you may still have some pain meds from the surgery working through your system. You will have intense pain on day one and will be treated in hospital for that pain, through medications such as morphine and oxycodone.
Following that, you will be prescribed pain medications to take home with you, and they will likely be opioid medications or anti-inflammatory medications.
Day three may be your most difficult day related to pain, as at this point your body is realizing it needs to heal and is starting the inflammation process. They will be at their highest levels on this day and will begin to dissipate with every passing day.
Pain causes stress in the body and this could interfere with your overall recovery. So don’t be afraid to ask for pain management help.
Here are 5 expert ways to save on prescription drug costs after surgery.
2. Walk Soon and Often
Every expert that you meet along the way of your hip replacement recovery is going to expect you to start walking on your new hip, and soon. You may be asked to start walking on Day One of your hip replacement recovery plan.
You may not even be able to leave the hospital until you have walked regularly, and often, even if it means just walking down the hall with your walker.
Doctors recommend walking often on your new leg, even if it is painful. This will promote recovery and speed healing time.
Doctors recommend that you take one of your pain pills about one-half hour before you start your walk, early in the recovery process. That will make the walk easier at first, and you will soon be walking without any medication at all.
Visit this site to get more tips from a top-rated hip replacement surgeon.
3. Rent or Borrow Equipment
Every hip replacement recovery is going to require the use of equipment that will help you get mobile again. This will include something for the bathroom, with rails that you can use to use the toilet with.
You may want a seat for the shower or bath as well. You will also need a walker, and may not even be allowed to leave the hospital without one.
All of these items are very expensive. Unless you expect to need them for a long time, it is often not cost effective to buy the equipment in advance for just a few weeks of use.
Ask around with friends and family that have had their hips or joints done, and find out more cost-effective ways of getting this equipment. Many charities and churches have spare equipment on hand to loan or rent during a joint recovery.
4. Clear Space in Your Home
Before you go into surgery, spend a day or two beforehand proofing your home for safety purposes. Your greatest risk when you arrive home will be a trip or a fall that will send you back into the hospital, possibly for months if you break something severely.
You want to remove all tripping hazards and have a place to sleep ready for you. If you need to go up some stairs to get to bed, consider putting your bed onto the main floor if you are able to until you are fully recovered.
You also want to remove any trip hazards such as animal toys on the floor, loose rugs or floor mats, or any cords or wires that a walker or your feet could easily catch.
Remember that you will be shuffling your feet for a while.
5. Invest in Pillows
While you may be reluctant to outright purchase a walker, you may want to consider investing in orthopedic pillows. You will want to use these when you are sitting, and you also want to use them in bed.
Considering that you will spend many hours a day resting before you are fully recovered, this is a worthy investment. A body pillow may be able to help you stay in one position while lying down to sleep.
Some triangle shaped pillows will also help you with your hip exercises, for both your back and leg support. You also always want to keep your legs elevated when not walking, to ensure your swelling stays down.
Pillows and wedges will help with all of this and will be a useful investment for you long after surgery.
6. Artificial Hands Make Light Work
When you are in hip replacement recovery, you will find that even bending over to grab something might be painful. And your doctor probably won’t recommend that anyway, at least not for a while.
There are a number of very affordable tools on the market that function as artificial hands for you so that you can put on socks, pick up a dropped item, or just reach things easier.
You may even be able to find a company that sells all of these items in one complete hip replacement recovery package or kit.
7. Wait to Drive
When you are in any kind of surgical recovery stage, after the initial first days you are going to start feeling normal again. It is human to want to get up and start your life again.
But when it comes to driving, your doctor will probably want you to wait. Have your driving needs arranged in advance, so it is something you won’t be worried about when the time comes.
That undue stress could release hormones that impede healing.
You will probably be able to drive by about the sixth week of recovery. Start driving an automatic transmission vehicle first if you can, as manual transmissions require a lot of leg work that could also impede your healing.
8. Talk About Sex
It is a misnomer that most hip replacement surgeries are happening with the geriatric community. But even if they were, that doesn’t mean the talk about post-surgical sex must end.
It’s one of the most common questions after a hip replacement surgery, but many patients are afraid to ask.
Ask! Have open conversations about it with your doctor and with your partner. Just because you are recovering from surgery doesn’t mean you can’t feel good other ways.
And your doctor may have some suggestions for you as to how and when to go about this. You may even find that this activity offers a new perspective on pain management as well.
Take Control of Recovery
When we lose the ability to walk, or have it impeded in any way, it can lead to a lot of psychological and emotional stress that a recovering body just doesn’t need. It’s important to take control of your hip replacement recovery before it even begins.
You are not alone, and this means that there is a wide body of support available to you during the recovery process. With over 7 billion dollars being spent on the hip replacement market in the United States today, hip replacement recovery is one of the most common surgical recoveries in America today.
The most important thing you can do to ensure the fastest recovery is to be your own advocate, ask as many questions as you need to along the way, and have your home and family prepared to spoil and pamper you for a little while. Read more about how to do just that by taking control and avoiding the 9 top medical concerns for seniors.