Post-Surgery Pain

Most people who undergo surgery will experience some pain during the recovery process. However, while pain is expected, it could be a sign of surgical complication if it gets progressively worse. Complications may include infection, a break in the surgical wound, a collection of blood or other fluid underneath the skin (i.e., hematoma or seroma), formation of abnormal passages called fistulas, lung complications such as pneumonia or blood clots, or excessive bleeding. Post-surgery pain can be reduced through the administration of pain reduction medications, including over-the-counter drugs such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications as well as prescription opiates. Dosages can be altered to match the severity of the pain. Some post-surgery avoid taking their prescription pain medications because they are afraid of becoming addicted to them. However, becoming addicted to such medications when they are used appropriately is very rare. It can actually be more dangerous to abstain from taking the drugs as prescribed. Other treatments for post-surgery pain include rest, proper wound care, application of ice or warm compresses, relaxation therapy, or adherence to specific dietary guidelines. The length of time it takes for post-surgery pain to subside depends on several factors, including the person’s general state of health, the presence of coexisting medical conditions, and whether the patient is a smoker.