If you are to undergo major surgery, you may be aware that you will be provided with an anesthetic to keep you asleep. This is essential to keep you from feeling pain, but it is still expected that you might experience pain after the surgery. Pain management is necessary to ensure you recover fast enough and do not develop complications. If it is not well managed, it may even become chronic pain, lasting longer than three months. This makes it a priority both for you and your physicians to develop a plan for controlling your pain. Using a range of drugs and non-pharmacological methods, your physician will assist in managing this discomfort. 

What to Expect After A Surgery 

  • It is not unusual to experience pain in areas that were not the surgery site. Patients find it surprising, but it is possible to feel pain randomly. You may have an itchy or sore throat from being under for a while. If you had long hours of surgery, you might feel soreness in your back and arm muscles. Asides from these, the surgery site will hurt when you sneeze, cough or try to sit upright and walk. 
  • You might be given painkillers via an IV in a vein in the initial hours of your recovery. This is sometimes necessary, even for days after. The pain relief administered may be an opioid. Opioids activate the release of dopamine, a brain neurotransmitter that lessens the sense of pain. To help manage your pain when the doctors are out of reach, you might be given a programmed pump so you can take the doses of pain relief medication as needed. The pump is set so that you cannot administer too much medicine to yourself.
  • It is important to speak up about your pain. Do not keep silent in fear of bothering your health providers. Tell someone if you are experiencing pain that inhibits your ability to breathe or cough. Be honest about your pain levels so your doctors and nurses know how best to help you.  
  • In addition to the medications you will be administered, you can discuss non-medical alternatives with your physician and nurses. Heating pads and ice packs can be used for swelling, and you can explore tips for relaxation to take your mind away from the pain. 
  • Your doctors will advise a course of action for managing your pain, but you ultimately decide what plans suit you best. This is especially true if you have concerns about the risks of using pain medication. While risks like addictions run low if you properly take your medication, it is necessary to talk through your worries with your doctor. Do mention if you have a history of substance use or a low tolerance for pain. 

Pain management is different for everyone, so it is a priority to work with your doctors to strategize a plan. Poorly managed pain sometimes becomes chronic, and this alters the quality of life of sufferers. 

If you are experiencing severe pain more than three months after surgery, or you would like to explore management techniques, contact the specialists at Lakeshore Pain and Spine Center. We provide individualised and comprehensive therapies to help our patients achieve the best quality of life possible. Contact us here today.