Pain Management Tips: Orthopaedic Rehabilitation

Rehab – it’s a scary word, and when you hear it, you’ll probably conjure up images of alcohol or drug rehab. In fact, there are many different types of rehab, and in no way should any rehab freak you out, because, at the end of the day, the sole goal of rehabilitation is to help you. If you’re wondering what orthopaedic rehab is, it can be described as a type of physical therapy. In a few words, it treats a number of conditions that affect a person’s skeletal and muscular systems.

Just like any rehab, it’s a form of on-going care to ensure you heal properly and don’t inflict any other damage or exacerbate your current condition. Typical injuries or health conditions that might see you checking into this kind of rehab are shoulder tendinitis, neck and back pain, carpal tunnel, sprains, hip pain, and chronic conditions much similar to osteoarthritis.

If you’ve undergone surgery recently, you might require orthopaedic rehabilitation. Spinal fusion, hip and knee replacements and even ankle and knee reconstruction will most definitely need some form of orthopaedic rehab.

The length of time you have to attend rehab will depend on you and your injury. Each person is different, therefore, some cases, it’s a game of wait and see. Your therapist will evaluate the situation and offer you necessary tips on how to deal with the pain along with the correct exercises you can do. But if you follow simple pain management tips for orthopaedic rehabilitation, you can also help yourself and speed up your road to recovery.

Anti-inflammatory Drugs 

There are many over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications that you can use to treat orthopaedic pain. Simple anti-inflammatory medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen help reduce the swelling. Follow the instructions and make sure you manage your intake correctly. Consult with your doctor if you wish to take more than the average dosage recommended for adults (which are more than two tablets every four hours).


Your therapist will most likely include massage sessions into your treatment. Massage for Orthopaedic pain manipulates the soft tissue area to relieve pain and swelling. While it’s not recommended to get an amateur or a non-trained practitioner to give you extensive massages, you can do something yourself. Using your thumb, lightly press on the area and roll the area around in a circular motion. The action loosens fluid, relax the area and temporarily relieve any acute pain you might be feeling. A word of warning, however, do not attempt anything else and leave it up to the experts instead.

Ice Packs 

You most probably already have an ice pack at home, so you don’t need to buy anything extra. You can place an ice pack on the affected area; you’ll be able to reduce swelling, muscle spasms, and pain.

Typically, this kind of treatment is used immediately after the injury, so if you understand you’ve severely sprained your ankle or put your back out, apply an ice pack straight away.

To avoid ice burns, wrap the ice pack in a tea towel, and let it rest in the area for about 30 minutes.

Turn Up the Heat 

Unlike ice treatments, you can use heat treatment on the affected area more when you suffer from a chronic condition. It’s amazing what a simple heat pack can do. It relaxes and loosens the tissues, stimulating more blood flow.

Although using heat treatments is safe, you should never place a heat pack directly onto an inflamed area. The swelling that you’re suffering from is caused by tissue bleeding and putting heat on it will just draw out more blood, resulting in even more swelling and discomfort.

Stretch It 

Exercise can help. It may be the last thing you want to do when you’re suffering from joint, bone or muscle pain, but if you do it right, you’ll be able to manage fluid build-up, keep the blood flowing, and keep any swelling to a minimum. Simple stretches for orthopaedic therapy could help you reduce the risk of doing further damage.

Get your therapist to suggest some light exercise and stretches, and follow a strict exercise regimen daily. Most specialists recommend around 30 minutes of light exercise daily, but don’t push it, remember you’re technically in rehab and not preparing to run a marathon. Pain management exercise and stretches can also benefit those suffering from chronic conditions, such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

You Are What You Eat 

Your diet can influence many things. Firstly, maintaining a healthy weight will speed up your orthopaedic recovery period, as there will be less pressure on your joints and therefore less pain. There are also some ‘super’ foods that can control and ease inflammation.

Whole grains are packed with fibre, which fills you up, and once you’re full, you’re less likely going to binge, meaning you’ll be able to control your weight better. Other foods include healthy grains which contain magnesium and were scientifically proved to reduce muscle pain.

Ginger is a common household spice; adding a bit of it into your Asian-inspired dishes can add some pretty amazing analgesic properties. It’s fair to say that this humble spice is the natural equivalent of ibuprofen. Another favourite spice, commonly used in Indian dishes is turmeric. This fragrant condiment contains curcumin proven to nip pain in the bud.

Another food you should indulge in more is oily fish. Salmon, mackerel, and tuna are teaming with Omega-3 fatty acids that bust pain. And if you’re not a seafood fan, try nuts instead, they’re just as potent, especially almonds and walnuts.

Yes, the recovery process after injuries can be long and chronic pain can put a dampener on your life and affect you from carrying out your daily activities. You need to execute patience and follow the doctor’s orders. Take care of yourself, don’t try and do things you shouldn’t be doing until you’re fully recovered, and follow the above tips on pain management for orthopaedic rehabilitation.

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