After any surgery, pain control will be a priority for you and your doctor. And while there is a level of discomfort and pain to be expected after any type of surgery, your doctor will take preventive steps to provide you ways to manage your pain. This isn’t only to keep you comfortable, but when your body is in pain, it can’t heal as quickly as it should.
When you are about to have surgery, your doctor will go over your current medical well-being as well as your medical history. Always be honest and advise them of any type of medication you are taking, especially if you are already taking medication for managing your pain.
The Types Of Pain To Expect
After surgery, you may experience pain in places that will be a surprise. Many times it is not at the surgery site. Some areas where you may experience discomfort or pain after surgery are:
• Muscles – You may feel discomfort or pain in the area of your back, chest, neck, or shoulders muscles. This comes from lying in one position on the operating table or the “handling” the team may do with you while in surgery.
• Throat – Your throat may feel scratchy or sore. This is from having any tubes in your mouth or throat. Movement – Any movement like sitting up or walking will be uncomfortable and painful. Even coughing or sneezing will cause increased pain.
Keeping Your Pain Under Control
You will have a big part in your own pain management simply by keeping your doctor and the nursing staff advised about your pain. Your main will be measured and during your hospital stay, you will be asked to rate your pain on a scale using numbers zero through ten. Zero is no pain and ten is the worst possible pain. This system is helpful for your medical team to know how the pain management treatment is working or if there is a need to make changes.
Who Will Help You Handle Your Pain?
You and your doctor will talk about your pain management prior to surgery, determining what is acceptable for you. Sometimes doctors will bring in a pain specialist to work with you after your surgery.
At the end of the day, though, you are the one that will make the ultimate decision. Your medical history and current health condition will be used by your doctor and the pain specialists to provide you the options for pain management.
The Different Types of Pain Management Treatments
It is common for a patient to be given more than one type of pain management treatment. It is based on their needs and the type of surgery they had. Your doctor and the pain specialist will make certain they are effective but safe, although, there is some level of risk for any type of medication. Some of the most commonly used pain management treatments are:
• Intravenous PCA (Patient-Controlled Analgesia)
PCA is a pump that is computerized and allows the patient to self-medicate safe amounts of pain medications. The unit is programmed and will only release a specific amount within a certain amount of time.
• Nerve Blocks
A nerve block controls pain in small, isolated areas of the body. This method of pain management may be distributed by an epidural catheter for prolonged pain management.
• Oral Pain Medications
After surgery at some point, your doctor will most likely order some form of pain management medication that is taken orally. You will need to let the nursing staff know when you are experiencing pain and if it has been within the usual four-hour timeframe, they will give you the prescribed dosage.
Pain Management Without Medication
There are ways to achieve pain management too. Such as guided imagery, a focused relaxation method that works by the patient’ creating calm and peaceful images in their mind. This mental escape can be enhanced by listening to music and changing positions.
Your doctor may give you instructions for cold and heat therapy. This will reduce your pain and any swelling you may be experiencing. For surgery in the abdominal or chest area, using a pillow when you a cough, sneeze or take deep breaths will help as a method of pain management.