Pain and surgery seem to go hand-in-hand. A surgical procedure usually means pain or discomfort, which can be moderate to severe, but the good news is surgical pain can be controlled once you’re out of the operating room. Better controlled pain means a quicker and easier recovery. Here are a few ways you can control pain after surgery.

Ways to Control Pain After Surgery

Don’t Wait Until After the Surgery

You don’t have to wait until after your procedure to talk to your care team about your pain. In fact, it’s recommended that you start this conversation before your procedure during your pre-surgery testing. Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about:

  • All the medications or supplements you’re taking
  • How much pain to expect and how long it should last. Keep in mind that everyone experiences pain differently, but having an idea of how much pain to expect and its duration can be helpful. 
  • The possible side effects of any pain medications you might be prescribed. Common pain medications like opioids come with side effects like nausea, constipation and drowsiness. Remember, it’s common to be prescribed medications to control your pain after surgery, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Create a Plan for When You’re Discharged

Before you’re discharged, ask your doctor about how you can manage your pain at home. If you’re given medications, take a look at the prescription. If you’re only given an amount to last a few days, ask what you can do to stay comfortable once your prescription has run out. Also, before you’re discharged, talk about your pain. Tell your care team where and how and how much things hurt. This can help them better control your pain.

Stay Ahead of It

A common mistake people make is forgetting to take their pain medications at their prescribed time. This can make it harder to control your pain because it will take a lot more medication to get a handle on it. Stick to the schedule set by your care team, even if you have to wake up to take more medication.

Keep an Eye on Your Mental Health

Anxiety and depression can worsen your pain, and experiencing pain or having a difficult recovery can bring on anxiety or depression. If you manage these conditions — either through the use of medication, therapy or both — you’ll lessen your need for pain medication. 

Try Non-Medication Options

Non-medication options can be an effective pain management tool, too. Things like elevating a limb, icing the area or using relaxation strategies can help.

What to Know About Opioids

Opioids are commonly prescribed for pain management after surgery, but they carry risks. They are highly addictive and can come with side effects like nausea, drowsiness or constipation. If you’re prescribed opioids, you’ll likely get the lowest dose possible and only for a few days — it’s unlikely to become addicted to opioids if you use them for 5 days or less, according to the American College of Surgeons.

Get Relief from Your Post-Surgical Pain

If you’re struggling with post-surgical pain, we can help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and start feeling better.