Pain and duration thereof

I’m not looking for medical advice, I am just curious about something.
Next week I’m going in for Arthoscopic(sp?) surgery on my shoulder for a labral tear.

How bad is it going to be afterwards, and for how long?

They have already prescribed for me about four different pain med’s, one of them being Oxycontin!

Is it going to be that bad?!?!

Nah, they only prescribe narcotics for things that don’t hurt much. If you were going to be in soul-searing pain, they’d tell you to take a couple Advil.

Or maybe that’s just my demon-spawn physician.

I had two arthroscopies (of the knee, not the shoulder, but invasiveness I suspect would be more or less equal) when I was in high school. The surgeries were a year apart.

Um, it did hurt, a lot. But I don’t know if you’ve had surgery before-- these kinds of medical procedures are never the way you imagine they will be. When you first come out, you will be dizzy and numb and not feeling much of anything but relief that it’s over with. Then, as time wears on, it will begin to hurt… but slowly, in a way you can handle. My peak was 24-72 hours after the operation. I took pain medication, but it made me violently ill and I ended up going without pain meds for my second surgery. It interfered with my sleep sometimes, but for the most part I was okay.

I’m sure a lot of this really depends on the person and the type of operation. While there is almost certainly going to be pain involved, it is probably not the way you are imagining it. This has been the case for me for every medical procedure I have dreaded–it’s always completely different to the point that I realize I was foolish to worry.

Also, with those happy pills, I suspect you could have some serious fun. Keep people around you at all times so you can entertain yourself with their reactions to your nonsense-speak. Check out some books from the library, stock up on your favorite things to eat, and revel in your helplessness. That’s what I’d do anyways.

Thank you for the info Olivesmarch4th !
This will be the first surgery I have ever had.
I am a 54 year old guy, in pretty good shape, so I hope it will turn out fine.

No problem! I don’t know if you’ve learned the details of arthroscopic surgery, but it’s basically designed to be LESS invasive than other forms. They will enter with thin probiscus-like implements through tiny holes wherein they can take a look around with a little camera and do any repairs necessary. You shouldn’t have any major scarring, just little dots where the incision points were (I’ve got three on each knee, each scar about the size of a small pea, barely visible anymore.)

The toughest/weirdest part will be physical rehabilitation, if that’s required. For me it was a big time commitment and really strange (and often painful) to have to learn to use my legs all over again. But like I said, the imagination is always excellent at making things out to be worse than they actually are. It is normal to be nervous, but if I could survive it (I’m pretty much afraid of EVERYTHING), then anyone can! Good luck!

I’ve never had a procedure like that myself, but advice from those who have (including hockey players) take your pain meds before the pain gets bad. Especially the first day or so, take them as prescribed. Do not wait until you start hurting to take them. It is much easier and better to knock the pain back before it gets bad than to let it get bad and try to knock it back. This is advice from guys who get stitches in the face (with no local) and come back out to play for another 40 minutes.

Good luck!

See, what my problem is, is that I absolutely hate any kind of drug that will mess with my head.
I think I would rather suffer through the pain than be all drugged out of my mind.
It’s just a phobia I have had for as long as I can remember.
I guess if it gets bad enough I will opt for the pills, but then as you say, it would be better to go for them before I start hurting real bad.
Damn, I hate to be in this position.
I have to figure out the lesser of two evils I guess.

Buckwheat, let me tell you a story.

My husband is a nurse, and was an orthopedic nurse at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawai’i. Tripler takes care of all services, not just Army. They got in a “train wreck” - a Marine with some bad injuries. He refused pain meds - he didn’t want anything to “mess with his head” (with some “big tough Marine” thrown in). He would not listen to the doctors who tried to explain that excessive pain would slow his recovery. The head doctor finally called in his C.O., who ordered the Marine to take his pain meds as ordered by the doctors.

Doctors in this day and age do not prescribe narcotic pain meds for shits n giggles - they only prescribe them when they are needed. Excessive uncontrolled pain will hamper your recovery. After the first few days, you can decide how much pain medicine you need and take it accordingly. But for the first 24-48 hours I strongly urge you to take the medication as prescribed. Made sure you drink lots of fluids - narcotics can cause constipation - and have someone with you if possible. But take your meds!

[/mother mode]

Oh man…oh man.
I’m already starting to hate this choice!
I appreciate your story SnakesCatLady but I am hatin’ my choices right about now.
I know I tend to overthink these things…but…oh geeez.
I am going to SUCK at this getting old thing!
Dammit all to Hell!

Buckwheat, I presume you are currently in pain because of your injured shoulder? Trust me–the surgery pain, which will be temporary, is not comparable to the lifetime you would otherwise endure living in constant pain from your shoulder. Don’t be afraid. Maybe you can find a website with other folks who have had this surgery before, and talk to them about your fears. Knowing other people have gone through it and lived to tell about it sometimes helps to take the sting out of the anxiety.

Have you much experience with pain meds? Do you know they mess with you to a point that you find disconcerting? I ask because it sounds like you’re freaking out over the potential side effects and, personally, I find the normally prescribed painkillers do very little that I’d describe as “messing with my head”. A couple shots of tequila screws me up far worse than a Percocet. I don’t want to go shooting while on prescription drugs, but I’m not messed up by them. Slightly distracted and lethargic yet not sleepy, and if you’re recovering from surgery you probably need to be a little lethargic.
But maybe that’s just me. Beer wakes me up, too.

Another thing that pain meds do, at least some of them, is reduce swelling, which takes away a cause of pain and additional damage. And it’s true that pain stresses the body and makes healing more difficult. You’ll heal faster if you manage your pain.

I’ve never had arthroscopic surgery . . . let me modify that. I had it once, but it was as a round one that then went on to more major surgery, with bone saws and stuff. So I’ve had it, I’ve just never recovered from it alone. But whenever I’ve had surgery, the only thing the pain medicine did was lower the pain and put me to sleep. You won’t necessarily feel spacy.

You need to have someone else around, though, because your reaction may be different, because you’re going to need logistical support, and because you may get that kind of sleepy were, say Icing your shoulder (or whatever) does not seem nearly as important as sleeping now.

You might want to set up your recovery area before you head to surgery. Practice gathering everything you may want within reach of the recliner, couch, or bed you plan to rest on most.