Although I have been in practice for 17 years and have seen the amazing effects of pain being removed from the body, I was unsure if I could avoid pain meds after my knee surgery. Here is my story.
The first thing I want to share is about the preparation for this surgery. Although it took me about a year to fully accept my need for surgery, once I saw my 2nd MRI, I started my preparation. I did almost 3 months of prehab – 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.
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. 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.
The severe extent of my injured knee:
My surgeon came to my bedside and discussed the surgery with me. He said 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 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.
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.
I took NO pain meds the entire recovery and continued to be pain free in 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!!