Pain and discomfort after surgery is a complex topic and can vary between patients. Some patients might find a particular procedure quite painful while others may not experience much discomfort at all.
However, any discomfort you experience after surgery can be managed by following instructions and applying some simple techniques to ensure you recover as quickly as possible!
After surgery, your doctor will prescribe you special medication to target the pain. It is important that you take these as prescribed.
- Pain medication can cause sleepiness and dizziness: ensure you have someone to help you in the first few days after surgery.
- Pain medication can cause constipation: ensure you drink lots of water and eat a healthy diet. If you do experience constipation, take a stool softener.
- Pain medication can cause nausea: take medication with food.
Know the Warning Signs
Although you can expect to feel a certain amount of discomfort after surgery, it is important to recognise the warning signs and know when to seek medical attention. If the pain is not improving after taking your prescribed medication, or if it seems to be getting worse, make sure you contact your doctor.
Other signs and symptoms you should be aware of are redness, swelling, warmth, and discharge from the incision (particularly if it is just one-sided).
Additional Tips for Managing Discomfort
- Breathing exercises: breathing exercises are a simple and effective way to calm yourself and take control of your body. The next time you notice any discomfort, simply breathe in deeply through your nose for several seconds, then exhale through pursed lips until all air is expelled from the lungs. Repeat this process as many times as necessary until the discomfort subsides.
- Walk around: gentle mobilisation around your home will help alleviate discomfort after surgery. Gentle movement will improve your circulation which will help reduce the swelling and in turn, help with discomfort. Mobilisation will also help your digestion and bowel movements (which may be a bit sluggish from the pain medication). However, make sure you check with your doctor first!
- Distractions: distraction is a great way to help manage pain (because it takes your mind off it!). Use your recovery time to catch up on your favourite TV shows, read a book, or just scroll through TikTok.
Above all else, make sure you follow the post-operative instructions that have been provided to you from your surgeon.
Pain after surgery is a common problem, but it doesn’t have to be something to fear or dread. Following these tips can ensure that your recovery goes as smoothly as possible. Don’t stress! You’ll feel like your old self in no time.
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