After Knee Replacement: Managing Pain at Home

Woman’s hand holding pill with prescription pill bottle nearby.

You may be prescribed pain medicine to use at home. With pain under control, you’ll get back to an active life sooner. Use pain medicine only as directed. You may also be instructed to take over-the-counter pain medicines that don’t need a prescription. You may be directed to use these with, or instead of, your prescription medicines. Take each dose on schedule, before pain becomes severe. Wait about 30 to 60 minutes after taking pain medicine before starting an activity, such as exercise. This will give it time to start working. Tell your healthcare provider if the medicine doesn’t control your pain enough or if you suddenly feel worse. Icing and raising your leg can also help relieve pain. Ask your provider about possible side effects such as drowsiness, constipation or becoming dependent on the medicine.

Your surgeon may also recommend one or more of various nonmedication treatments for your pain.  These may include: 

  • Relaxation techniques

  • Massage therapy

  • Acupuncture

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (a TENS unit)

  • Continuous passive motion

Often a combination of medicine and non-medicine therapy works best.