We want to work with you to lessen or relieve pain after your procedure. Keeping your pain under control will help you heal better and faster. When your pain is under control you will be able to do your breathing exercises to prevent pneumonia, and regain strength more quickly.
The key to the best pain control is:
Take your pain medication as soon as the pain starts.
Take your pain medication before you start any activity that might cause increase in pain. It is harder to ease pain once it has started.
Measuring Your Pain
We will ask you to measure your pain before and after each dose of pain medication. Rate your pain on a scale of 0-10 – see scale drawn below.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
0= no pain 5= moderate pain 10= worst pain imaginable
Tell your nurse if your pain is not relieved, if you have nausea, itching, or if your medication wears off too quickly. The pain medication ordered can be adjusted or changed to meet your needs. Studies show that getting hooked on pain medication should not be a concern and this is very rare– unless you have a history of drug abuse.
Forms of Pain Relief
Your doctor will choose the best form of pain control that best suits your needs. Several forms of pain control are:
- Oral, injection or IV pain medication, given at your request or specific times
- Patient controlled Analgesia (PCA) the pain medication is in a pump which you press a button to inject the pain mediation into your system.
Your physician and anesthesiologist will consult with you and develop a plan specific to your needed for the type of anesthesia best meets your situation. You may have one or two types of anesthesia and each have some discomfort associated depending on the type.
General Anesthesia (you are a sleep)
- You may have a sore throat and may use throat lozenges as needed
- Drowsiness is expected for the first 24 hours after the procedure.
- You need to notify your doctor is you have nausea that does not go away.
Regional Block (specific body area will be numb)
- Numbness may last 1-8 hours depending on the type of block and medication. When the tingling feeling start you should take oral pain medication right away.
- Protect the numb area from injury until all the feeling and movement has fully returned.
Spinal / Epidural (numb from the waist down)
- You must have full movement and bladder control before you go home, therefore you may stay longer in the postoperative area.
- A rare side effect is a headache when you stand up and goes away when you lie down. Lie flat and call your doctor.
Nondrug Pain Relief Methods
- Cold packs if ordered by your doctor, no more that 20 minutes on 20 minutes off cycle to prevent burning of skin.
- Slow rhythmic breathing for relaxation.
Once you go home
- If you are given a prescription in you doctor’s office before the procedure, get it filled and take it as ordered as needed after the procedure.
- Some medication causes nausea, be sure to follow directions carefully.
- If your pain is not relieved or gets worse, call your doctor.
- Switch to over-the-counter pain medicine as the pain lessens.
- Increase you intake of water, fruits and vegetables to reduce the side effect of constipation.
Road to recovery starts before your procedure.
- Reduce smoking or better yet stop smoking as far in advance as possible of your procedure.
- Start several days before your procedure to eat healthy and get plenty of rest.
- The day before your procedure, relax and eat on the light side.
- Plan something special that you can do relaxed at home after your procedure as:
Collecting those books you’ve wanted to read
Select the videos you haven’t had time to watch
Gather albums and plan to sort photos
The list can go on and on
- Start a daily walk if you haven’t already as soon as possible before surgery, if able.
- If you haven’t already, make your post-op appointment and have a better chance of arranging a time that accommodates you.
- It is helpful to have more than one person identified who may drive you to and from your procedure. When possible a caregiver that is available for the first 24-36 hours is advisable.