post surgical fatigue and lightheadedness

Posted by rfkavesh @rfkavesh, Aug 12, 2011

I had total knee replacement surgery almost two months ago. My knee is improving with physical therapy, but I am totally fatigued and lightheaded when I walk. All blood and other tests have been normal, yet the symptoms of fatiigue and dizziness persist. Any advice??

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Thanks to all of you who replied. I didn't notice that I had any replies until now. I know the surgery has a big part of the fatigue. I'm 63 and work full time on my feet. So that takes a toll on me as well. I've kind of always had trouble with fatigue but now with having neuropathy and RA for many years it's hard to pinpoint what is the actual cause. I take Orencia along with sulfasalazine and Plaquenil and Celebrex along with 4 mgs. of prednisone. I take a cbd supplement also. I may look into getting that Cubii thing or just try some of the videos shared here.
Thanks again for responding.

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@ktgirl

Meds not effective after arthroscopic elbow surgery
I've had the elbow surgery May 7th and had to be off Orencia for 4 weeks. I have RA and osteoarthritis and other autoimmune diseases. I feel I've been set back a lot. I asked my Doctor about switching meds but doesn't want to. My knees are swollen and have a hard time keeping up at work. He put me on a prednisone taper and now I'm down to 5 mgs. and am feeling extremely tired and lethargic. The same thing happened when I had my total shoulder replacement. I was on methotrexate then and had to switch to a biologic drug. I will need knee replacements soon and don't even want to think of going through this again. I know people say to get some exercise and I get that but I can hardly move. Just plain exhausted. I saw this thing on tv called cubii and wonder if anyone here has tried it. It's like a floor pedal machine you can do while sitting.
Just wondering if that would help. Thanks

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@ktgirl

I have lost count of my surgeries… always tired after them even if minor. Some of it has to do with the anesthesia.. sometimes blood loss. Medications do not always work as well for at least a couple of weeks after surgery. .. it may enhance some medications. Your pharmacist is the best person to tell you the best way to take your daily medications. Some actually may need some time in between…. especially with an antibiotic thrown in or extra pain relief medication.

You need a higher protein diet after surgery to help healing. Eggs are a good, easily digestible protein. Make sure you use ice and heat on your elbow as directed. It will help with the pain and swelling. Exercise the elbow as directed… don't overdo.

Get up and walk every hour to help prevent blood clots. Exercise your legs while sitting. Air biking is good or leg pumps and lifts. Exercise your arm too. When you get up to walk around reach up the wall with your non-surgical arm… I have rolled a play ball up the wall… or done a spider crawl with my hand walking it up and down the wall. It is doing extra work right now and keeping the muscle strong is important. … the stretching will help.

Eat 5 small meals a day. It will help keep your energy up. Make it nutritious food… make sure you get enough fiber.

I had a surgery on August 02. I am still tired. I am trying my best to behave… want to get back to my chores.

I hope a little something I said helps.

Wishing you the best,
ZeeGee

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Thank you. That is helpful. My surgery was May 7th. I think a lot of my fatigue is related to my RA and other autoimmune diseases. I do eat as much protein as I can. Eggs every morning! I work retail so I do get a lot of moving around all day. I may need some other exercise to get my heart pumping a bit more.
Thanks again for your response.

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@ktgirl

Thank you. That is helpful. My surgery was May 7th. I think a lot of my fatigue is related to my RA and other autoimmune diseases. I do eat as much protein as I can. Eggs every morning! I work retail so I do get a lot of moving around all day. I may need some other exercise to get my heart pumping a bit more.
Thanks again for your response.

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I have always thought that it takes about 3 months for the body to recover from smaller surgeries and a year for major ones. When I was young, I could fool myself into thinking I was "over it" and keep going much sooner than that. Now, slightly older and with other health issues, that is no longer true…you just have to let the body recover.

Remember – you have been anesthetized, traumatized and put back together. Each of those alone would be a thing to deal with, but put together, that's a bug deal! And you have other fatiguing conditions and a job! As for aerobic exercise, one of the quickest ways to get your heart rate up is find some stairs to climb, start by going up and down once or twice and build from there. After one major surgery before I retired, I did it by using the restroom down one floor from my office to start, and progressed to climbing stairs to my 4th floor office at least 3 times a day.

My 40 yo daughter is just learning this lesson big time – she was traumatized (compound arm fracture) anesthetized and put back together – now she is mending and being pushed with therapy. What she thought would be 12 weeks of recovery will take probably a year. And her job is sedentary!

Be gentle with yourself!
Sue

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Thanks for your reply. I guess I'm just so anxious to feel better so I'm rather impatient. The doctors didn't have many exercises for me to do. Just basically stretching my arm out and back. I basically wanted my arm fixed before I have any knee surgery. Figured I'd need the strength to be able to lift myself up. Thanks again.
Carol

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@ktgirl

Thanks for your reply. I guess I'm just so anxious to feel better so I'm rather impatient. The doctors didn't have many exercises for me to do. Just basically stretching my arm out and back. I basically wanted my arm fixed before I have any knee surgery. Figured I'd need the strength to be able to lift myself up. Thanks again.
Carol

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Hello, @ktgirl Like you, I get impatient and want progress to go more quickly than my body allows for. The fatigue after surgery takes awhile and then you mention RA and meds which you said contribute to how you feel. I had two major surgeries in 2019. I had a hysterectomy (endometrial cancer) and then a total hip replacement. I injured myself by pushing too hard and that set me back. I didn't keep up with the stretching and exercises and once I decided it was worth it to go back to PT, followed by working with a personal trainer I began to see and feel the progress. It's a hard earned lesson to remind ourselves that nope, I'm not 21 anymore (I'm 69) and my body needs more healing time. Listen to my body. Can you request PT from your doctors? A PT I saw at Mayo Clinic suggested stretching that were yoga-based and very helpful. I still do them. I'm wishing you blessings as you move forward and hope the fatigue will continue to dissipate over time.

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I think it would be a good idea to see a PT. I need to look into that. Also if I need to get knee replacements done I know there are exercises to do before the surgery so I'd like to do them as well. Thanks.

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@naturegirl5

Hello, @ktgirl Like you, I get impatient and want progress to go more quickly than my body allows for. The fatigue after surgery takes awhile and then you mention RA and meds which you said contribute to how you feel. I had two major surgeries in 2019. I had a hysterectomy (endometrial cancer) and then a total hip replacement. I injured myself by pushing too hard and that set me back. I didn't keep up with the stretching and exercises and once I decided it was worth it to go back to PT, followed by working with a personal trainer I began to see and feel the progress. It's a hard earned lesson to remind ourselves that nope, I'm not 21 anymore (I'm 69) and my body needs more healing time. Listen to my body. Can you request PT from your doctors? A PT I saw at Mayo Clinic suggested stretching that were yoga-based and very helpful. I still do them. I'm wishing you blessings as you move forward and hope the fatigue will continue to dissipate over time.

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I am 11 weeks in to my replacement I just about had everything I was to weak to do PT in th Hospital stayed in for four days . Lost a lot of weight fatigue I was left with things that move around in my foot. I walked out of the hospital that way.I have a very bad BACK what does anybody think about water aerobics. Ty

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