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When a person is told of the need to undergo surgery, one of the first things that comes to mind is the pain after the procedure. Is it going to be very painful? How long is it going to last? How to manage it? These are some questions that doctors are repeatedly asked and they spend quite a bit of time trying to put the patient at ease.
The talk about post-surgery pain management should begin well ahead of surgery so that the patient can plan accordingly and be mentally prepared. There could be cases where the patient may need to have a caretaker when back home so that they can assist in daily chores and manage pain. Read on to know some of the tips to manage pain.
- Expect the pain: Talk to your doctor well in advance so that you are mentally prepared for the pain that will come post the surgery. The type of pain, duration, radiation to surrounding areas, etc., will help to plan in pain management. While back surgery produces spasms, abdominal surgery can cause cramps in the stomach. If you have pre-existing conditions like chronic pain, the pain is likely to get worse.
- Beat the pain: After surgery, take the pain medication before the anesthetic effect wears off. This gives enough time for the medication to kick in before the effect of anesthesia wears off. Else, there could be a period of intense pain, which can be quite difficult to manage. Though some people avoid pain medications, take them if you need. Also, if you had side effects with any, let your medical team know so that an alternative medicine can be prescribed.
- Emotional management: A surgery comes with a lot of anxiety and depression. This could be due to social, financial, physical, and emotional reasons. Pain is a lot more emotional than physical, so preparing for pain helps in dealing with it better. Talking to friends and family can be really help you deal with the entire situation and If required, you can reach out to social workers or counsellors so that you are at ease with other issues and manage pain better.
- Alternative therapies: For some, in addition to the painkillers, therapies like mild yoga, acupressure, meditation, music, and other relaxation techniques work wonders. They soothe the mind and make sure pain is lot reduced. They also improve blood circulation and thereby promote healing. Quicker healing promotes pain relief, making it further easy.
- Types of pain relief measures: Depending on the severity of the postsurgical pain, one of the following may be used
- PCA or patient-controlled analgesia: The patient can program the amount of pain medicine via a small pump.
- Nerve blocks: This is useful to control pain over a specific area supplied by a nerve.
- Oral pills: In mild to moderate cases, tablets are given to control pain. Depending on their duration of action, repeat doses are planned. Narcotics could be used initially before switching to non-narcotic painkillers.
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