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Pain Management and Control After an Operation

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 18 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Pain Management After Surgery Pain

After you’ve undergone surgery, you’re inevitably likely to suffer some kind of pain and discomfort afterwards which may be for a shorter or longer period depending upon the type of operation you’ve had and how your recovery progresses. However, the surgical team will always try to ensure that any pain is controlled and kept to the absolute minimum.

Why Pain Control is Important

Apart from the obvious reason for not wanting you to suffer, pain control is also important as it facilitates a more speedy recovery and can also help in reducing the potential of complications occurring post surgery. Things like blood clotting, infection and even contracting pneumonia are all risks that can be potentially reduced by having effective pain management and control procedures in place.

Long term recovery is often dependent on making positive steps towards recovery in the immediate aftermath of surgery so in controlling pain, you are much more likely to be able to get out of bed sooner and walk about or do basic initial physiotherapy exercises and suffer less with things like chest problems and more able to undertake breathing exercises.

Therefore, pain management is important on a physical level but it is also equally important from a psychological perspective too. This is because if you can start some kind of physical rehabilitation early, you’re going to feel more positive about your recovery prospects and more motivated to strive to achieve the goals you’ve been set with regards to your recovery.

Types of Pain After Surgery

You may suffer from various types of pain after surgery, some of which will be directly related to the surgery itself and there may be other indirect consequences of the surgery that can prove painful too. All of this is perfectly normal and can be professionally managed and controlled but types of pain can include and be associated with:

  • Pain around any incision site and as the result of any sitting up, walking or coughing exercises you’re asked to perform and how they impact directly upon the incision site
  • Muscle pain which can occur in the neck, back, shoulders or chest as the result of lying on an operating table or being unable to get out of bed as quickly as you’d like to following surgery
  • Pain in your hand, arms or other areas of your body through bruising where tubes have needed to be inserted or around your nose or throat if tubes and any other equipment have needed to enter inside your body via your nose or throat

The Importance of Being Honest With Your Surgical Team

Although your surgical team will be aware of the types of pain a person is likely to need help with as the result of a particular procedure being carried out, ultimately a certain degree of pain control and management will only be best achieved through your surgeon and nurses asking you about your pain and you being completely honest with them.

You shouldn’t think you’re troubling them if you feel in great pain nor should you feel the need to play the ‘brave soldier’. It’s up to you to discuss pain with the medical team and you’ll often find they’ll ask you to consider your pain on a sliding scale level between 1 and 10 - with ten being the most severest pain you could ever imagine.

Only by doing this kind of test and you being completely open and honest about your pain can the medical team provide you with the best solution to controlling and managing it and, of course, this will also be discussed prior to surgery so that you’re at least prepared for what to expect.

It will also be discussed post surgery and, subsequently, even after you return home to continue your recovery whereby you’re likely to still have access to some form of pain control medication and the pain you may (or may not) be suffering with will always form part of the questions you’ll be asked when you return for routine check-ups as an outpatient, once you’ve been discharged.

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