Although I have been practicing acupuncture, pain management and naturopathic medicine for 20 years and have seen the amazing effects of pain being removed from the body, I was unsure if I could avoid pain medication after my knee surgery. I didn’t know what was possible until I fully experienced it for myself.
Here is my story.
The first thing I want to share is about the preparation for this surgery. It took me about a year to fully accept my need for surgery. I was determined to do everything possible to strengthen my accessory muscles and regain balance and use of my knee. I have helped many people avoid surgery so that was my first choice. Many people are able to have full lives with a torn ACL without surgery.
As much as I was able to have a great recovery, the damage increased with another injury. I tore my lateral and medial meniscus. Once I saw my 2nd MRI, I started my preparation. I did almost 3 months of pre-hab exercises that are meant to stabilize my core and surrounding muscles of my knee by increasing my balance and proprioception. I was taking supplements and homeopathy to start to heal the tissue that had been injured. Before the surgery, I also did a couple weeks of no sugar, coffee, alcohol, and removed inflammatory foods. A couple weeks before the surgery, I was able to dance all night at a big family party without any pain.
The surgery was more complicated than originally thought. It was hard to access all the damaged tissue and they had to make more than the usual entry points. The surgery went from a typical few hours to over 5 hours.
Post-surgery pain management issues:
One of my concerns about my surgery was the general anesthesia and the effect it would have on my sensitive to medications system. Interestingly enough, they had trouble waking me up, especially since I was under for so long, they had to use more anesthesia then anticipated. It usually takes 30-60 minutes to wake up after surgery. It took me 2 hours. I woke up nauseated and in pain and vomited for a couple hours. This is not a minor issue. The effects of anesthesia, if not properly excreted from the body, can damage sensitive glands. One of my side effects was my thyroid crashing after surgery.
The severe extent of my injured knee:
My surgeon came to my bedside and discussed the surgery with me. He said he was surprised that I could walk, let alone exercise the way that I was before my surgery. They do an exam before the start the incisions to see how much damage is done in the knee once the patient is under. He reported that my knee was hanging on by a thread. I had fully torn my ACL, partially torn my MCL, and torn 25% of my lateral meniscus and 50% of my medial meniscus. He replaced my ACL with an allograft and debrided the menisci.
Post-surgical immediate pain relief!
I came home with 8/10 pain and nausea, even after a lot of pain medication at the hospital. I placed 2 needles on the points on my ear for my knee and 1 for my nausea and took all of my supplements. Within minutes, all my symptoms reduced to 2/10 and then 0/10 by the time I went to sleep within the hour. I slept 10 hours without pain that night. The pain returned each day for the next 5 days, up to a 2-3/10. Each day I either did body or ear acupuncture and it returned to 0/10 within minutes. Click here to read more about treatments to remove pain.
To read more about pain management acupuncture, auricular medicine and its amazing effects: Click here.
First post-surgical visit to the orthopedic surgeon:
I had my post-op appointment 5 days after my surgery and the surgeon said he had never seen anyone have no pain post surgery, completely avoid pain medications and heal so well. I was cleared to start physical therapy for 2-3 months and needed to wear a full-length leg brace to be safe for full integration of the replaced ACL.
Treatment for full recovery:
I took many supplements and homeopathic remedies to ensure that my body had everything it needed for a full recovery. Regardless of the pain, there is a great need to respect the body’s time for healing and integration. Pain is usually the signal that prevents us from doing certain activities. With my treatments, it is important to respect the wisdom of taking time to heal for full recovery.
Throughout the next year, I continued to respect this wisdom of healing. I kept to the activities that I knew would not harm the repair that happened with the surgery and did the exercises that would help rebuild the muscles to strengthen and support the ligaments that were injured. Even though I’ve always been an avid skier, I waited to ski for a few years post-surgery.
I took NO pain meds the entire recovery and continued to be pain free throughout my rehab!!
I have been treating pain for many years with my patients with wonderful results, but to experience them to this extent personally is still surprising! I am so grateful that I have the ability to treat myself and have this experience to also be able to benefit my patients and loved ones.
Just so YOU know, you can have surgery and be pain free with naturopathic medicine and acupuncture!!