Managing Pain after Surgery

After orthopaedic surgery, your doctors and nurses will make every effort to control your pain. While you should expect to feel some discomfort, advancements in pain control now make it easier for your doctor to manage and relieve pain.

Many types of medicines are available to help control pain, including opioids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and local anesthetics. Treating pain with medication can help you feel more comfortable, which will help your body heal and recover from surgery faster. When you feel less pain, you can start moving sooner and get your strength back more quickly.

Prescription pain medications

You may be given a prescription to manage your pain when you get home. Take it as directed on the bottle. Prepare for the fact that there is no pain medication that will completely eliminate all your discomfort. In fact, it is not beneficial to take away all pain. Pain serves an important purpose. It reminds you to avoid overdoing it, and to take it easy and allow your body to heal.

Pain medicine will make the situation more tolerable. You will be asked to report your pain while in the recovery room, and to “rate” it on a scale of one to ten. Please refer this pain scale.

0 = no pain
1-2 = mild pain
3-6 = moderate pain
7-9 = severe pain
10 = worst pain ever

Tips for managing pain

  • Don’t wait until the pain is severe before taking medication
  • Describe your pain to nurses and doctors — is it severe and sharp, or a dull ache?
  • Ice and repositioning can help