Pain Management

Pain control following surgery is a major priority for both you and your doctors

While you should expect to have some pain after your surgery, your doctor will make every effort to safely minimize your pain.

We provide the following information to help you understand your options for pain treatment, to describe how you can help your doctors and nurses control your pain, and to empower you to take an active role in making choices about pain treatment.

Be sure to inform your doctor if you are taking pain medication at home on a regular basis and if you are allergic to or cannot tolerate certain pain medications.

Why is pain control so important?

In addition to keeping you comfortable, pain control can help you recover faster and may reduce your risk of developing certain complications after surgery, such as pneumonia and blood clots. If your pain is well controlled, you will be better able to complete important tasks such as walking and deep breathing exercises.

What kinds of pain will I feel after surgery?

You may be surprised at where you experience pain after surgery. Oftentimes, the incision itself is not the only area of discomfort. You may or may not feel the following:
  • Muscle pain: You may feel muscle pain in the neck, shoulders, back or chest from lying on the operating table.
  • Throat pain: Your throat may feel sore or scratchy.
  • Movement pain: Sitting up, walking and coughing are all important activities after surgery, but they may cause increased pain at or around the incision site.
What can I do to help keep my pain under control?
Important: Your doctors and nurses want and need to know about pain that is not adequately controlled. If you are having pain, please tell someone! Don’t worry about being a “bother.”

You can help the doctors and nurses "measure" your pain. While you are recovering, your doctors and nurses will frequently ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 0 to 10, with "0" being "no pain" and "10" being "the worst pain you can imagine." Reporting your pain as a number helps the doctors and nurses know how well your treatment is working and whether to make any changes. Keep in mind that your comfort level (i.e., ability to breathe deeply or cough) is more important than absolute numbers (i.e., pain score).

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