Dealing with Post-Op Pain from the Nuss Procedure

by Purple Herbal

I posted earlier about preparing for surgery and getting the Nuss Procedure. It’s been 6 weeks since my surgery and I have finally quit my pain meds.

I had a doctor’s appointment last week, and was totally expecting to walk out of his office with a prescription for my pain medication in hand. But I didn’t. If someone had told me earlier in the day that I wasn’t going to be getting my prescription, I probably wouldn’t have believed them. The Nuss Procedure is one of the most painful surgeries, especially for an adult, and since getting home and writing the last post about my surgery, my pain had not decreased very much.

I had fallen into a cycle of pessimism in my mind about the pain I was experiencing. I was stressed that I wasn’t feeling any better after 4 weeks and that made me stress out about how much pain medication I had…if I had enough and if I would be able to get more, which made me feel even worse about the pain. This sounds like the ramblings of an addict, I know, but the pain was something brutal. Imagine taking your leg and bending it into a new position and keeping it in place with steel bars. That would hurt, a lot. And having this surgery does hurt, but at some point, I had to take responsibility for what I was experiencing and try to make it better for myself.

Even though I have been using herbal medicine for 10 years, not taking any kind of over the counter (except ibuprofen once in a great while) or prescription medicine, the Nuss Procedure really put me to the test in terms of how much I truly believed that I had control over my condition.

I had to change my thoughts and focus on my breathing, in addition to using herbal and remedies. My thoughts and how I feel at any particular moment effect me physiologically. Once I realized that I had so much pain because I constantly focused on being in so much pain, things really did get better. For one, I was able to quit my pain meds, which was a big deal for me.

It feels so good that I’m not focusing on when I’m going to take my next pain pill,  or continuously worrying about how much pain I am in (when the pain meds wore off). I just deal with it and live my life. The more I am able to push myself beyond my comfort zone, the stronger and more flexible I become.

The main issue I was having too, was that my body was extremely tense from the surgery. Before, when I would feel a pain sensation come on, I would focus on it getting worse, because that’s what had always happened before. Now, I don’t focus on it getting worse. Rather, I relax my body and deepen my breathing, focusing my breath on the area that hurts and visualize healing energy in order to put my mind  on another path of thinking.

Tension has been scientifically proven to cause pain. In fact, most back, neck, shoulder, and buttock pain is caused by tension. Not to say there aren’t people with legitimate pain in those areas (I think my case would be considered legitimate pain), but about 85% of people have pain that is caused by tension.

So, even though this surgery has left me dealing with A LOT of pain, I am grateful for the awareness it has given me. It has forced me to change the way I carry myself and retain stress and tension in my body, which are definitely worth the pain.

I’ve been taking the homeopathic remedies:  arnica, ruta graveolens, chamomilla, magnesium phosphorica, rhus toxicodendren, and some herbal extracts: st. john’s wort, celery seed, lavender, oat straw, and skullcap. I also supplement ibuprofen as needed when I am extremely sore and cannot move, sit, stand, or lay without being uncomfortable. I can’t wait for the day that I don’t need it anymore.

I started using this homeopathic sports gel, which contains almost the same list of homeopathic remedies that I take internally. It has helped quite a bit in alleviating the soreness that I get from doing a lot of housework and such.

I’ve also started using the sauna again, which has helped me release a lot of tension and discomfort. I missed the sauna so much after having my surgery, so I was happy to finally go back. I missed it almost as much as I miss laying on my side, which anyone having the Nuss Procedure knows what I am talking about.