I had a total hip replacement last year. The first few days after the operation were very painful. I don't like using drugs. Is there any other way to control the pain?

Pain control is one of the biggest challenges after surgery of any kind. Some doctors are using a much smaller incision to do some hip replacements. It depends on the type of hip implant being used. With a small incision there's less damage to the muscles and less pain. Ask your doctor if you might be a candidate for this mini-incision operation.

Other methods of pain control are used such as acupuncture, electrical stimulation, hypnosis, and patient controlled analgesia (PCA). A recent study from Japan suggests using constant cold therapy for the first four days. A cooling pad is placed over the surgical site. A computer keeps it at a constant temperature.

More than half the patients were pain free by the end of the third day. This reduced painful days by at least two full days. Tell your doctor about your concerns. Find out what's available at your hospital or surgery site.