Is Pain After Surgery Normal?
The short answer is ‘Yes’. However, the intensity and duration of pain determine the ‘but’ that follows the ‘yes’. While pain of a certain kind is supposed to follow any kind of surgery, there are several ways to help alleviate it.
If you have already undergone surgery
It may well be the case that you have come across this article while trying to find out why your abdomen/leg/other body part does not feel well after surgical operation. If we’ve guessed right, then chances are that you have instructions on what pain medications to take and how often.
Have you followed all the instructions? Do you take all the medicines you have been prescribed? Are you sure you have not skipped a pill or two?
The thing is, medication schedules are supposed to be developed to cover all periods of the day, and sticking to it can help you make your pain manageable regardless of whether it’s day or night: your doctor must find a schedule that would enable you to get through your day. However, if you feel intense pain in the area of incision or some other organ, do not hesitate to consult your surgeon, as it can point to postoperative complications.
If you are worried by the fact that you feel pain, but it is manageable and does not prevent you from doing the activities you have been allowed to do, then it is likely that your body is responding the way it’s expected to: all surgical operations imply hurting some parts of the body, and it is normal to feel certain pain afterwards.
If you have not already done so, ask your surgeon what kind of pain you are supposed to experience at this particular stage of recovering. Should your feelings differ from what your doctor will describe, tell him or her what bothers you so that they can try to find what causes it. Don’t tough it out, ask for help.
If you have yet to undergo surgery
If your operation has not been carried out yet, it means you have a better opportunity to prepare for possible pain.
The stage of pre-surgery testing is just the time to discuss the recovery period and pain associated with it with your surgeon. To make it easier for him or her to determine what kind of treatment you may need after the operation, tell your doctor what medications you take, be it some over-the-counter drug, supplements or something you were prescribed. This information is required to reduce the risk of drug interactions.
Your surgeon should tell you what kind of pain you should expect and how long it is expected to last. If you know what you are going to experience, such physical pain may be easier to bear. Besides, you will know what to compare your feelings with: if your pain differs from the “standard” pain to a significant extent, you will know when it is reasonable to consult your doctor ASAP. Also, it can help you prevent transition of acute pain to chronic pain.
Another important aspect of postoperative pain is possible side effects of pain medications. All drugs can have side effects, and the category of drugs in question can have a variety of effects, including nausea, constipation, etc. (besides helping relieve the pain). Ask your doctor to tell you what kind of side effects you are likely to experience.
Medications are not the only part of your pain prevention plan. Do not neglect instructions regarding physical activity: if you are told to exercise a little bit, don’t skip that recommended stroll, as it can contribute to your recovery. And vice versa, if you are supposed to stay in bed or just avoid significant exercising, do not start working in your normal mode until you have an opportunity to.
One of the key things to remember about pain medications is that postoperative pain is easier to manage if you follow the schedule provided by your doctor. Do not wait for too long for pain to manifest itself, as starting taking drugs ahead of time (if it’s prescribed to be taken this way) can prove to be more effective than if you take it when the pain has already attacked.
All in all, you should consult your doctor when you feel something is wrong, and don’t neglect your doctor’s instructions!
Post Surgical Pain- The Transition from Acute to Chronic Pain – Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov