Home Health How to Manage Moderate to Severe Pain After Surgery: 5 Tips

How to Manage Moderate to Severe Pain After Surgery: 5 Tips

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The goal of effective pain management is to reduce suffering and help you regain your normal lifestyle. Managing pain in the days and weeks following surgery can be complex, and you will likely need to take an active role in non-pharmacological treatments as well as medications. In this guide, you will find tips for managing moderate to severe pain after surgery.

1. Follow your doctor’s advice

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Your doctor may prescribe a combination of pain-relieving drugs, such as analgesics like ibuprofen and/or opioids like oxycodone or hydromorphone. Other non-medication techniques, such as administering nerve blocks to control pain before moving on to oral medications, might also be advised for complex cases involving multiple sites or severe postoperative pain.

You should make sure that you’re aware of any risks associated with the drugs you are taking and are familiar with the side effects they may cause, such as drowsiness, dizziness, or vomiting. If these become too difficult to manage, let your doctor know immediately so adjustments can be made in terms of dosage or type of drugs used.

In addition to following your doctor’s orders regarding medication management strategies, it is also important to balance rest and activity levels accordingly. Your doctor will likely give you specific recommendations about how often you should be physically active after surgery in order to promote healing and reduce inflammation caused by overactivity.

Finally, if lifestyle modifications have been recommended in order to deal with your postoperative pain (e.g., quitting smoking or losing weight), it is key that you adhere closely otherwise your recovery time could be prolonged unnecessarily due to recurrent bouts with pain after surgery.

2. Consider non-medication approaches

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As with many chronic conditions, non-pharmaceutical approaches can be helpful in providing relief from moderate to severe pain. Alternative therapies like biofeedback, massage, acupuncture, marijuana, and physical therapy may be useful in managing post-surgery pain.

Biofeedback is a technique that focuses on mental relaxation while monitoring changes in one’s physiological responses. With massage, practitioners can use varying pressure levels over tense areas to help reduce stiffness, muscle spasms, and inflammation. Acupuncture is believed to provide long-term pain relief by stimulating the body’s release of endorphins and other natural hormones to reduce sensitivity to pain.

Marijuana has been used for ages as a natural remedy for pain relief. In recent years, more and more studies have been conducted to explore the potential of marijuana for treating post-surgery pain. The results have been promising, with many patients reporting significant reductions in their pain levels after using marijuana. If you are considering this approach, make sure you find good marijuana seeds for sale.

Lastly, physical therapy helps improve the range of motion and strength through a combination of stretching techniques, aquatic or land-based exercise programs, and manual manipulation of tissues.

These alternative approaches are becoming increasingly popular in the management of postoperative pain because they involve no medication side effects and require minimal preparation or follow-up visits with an outside provider beyond what is already scheduled for surgery recovery. Speak with your healthcare provider about which approach may be best for you based on your need for long-lasting relief from moderate to severe pain following surgery.

3. Take your medications as prescribed

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Talk to your doctor about the types of medications that may be used, including opioid medications and non-opioid alternatives. Taking opioids as directed can help ensure you obtain the desired benefits and limit any risks associated with the medication.

Opioids can be an effective tool for managing moderate to severe surgical pain. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended guidelines when using opioids for chronic pain management in both adults and adolescents, including:

-Working with your doctor on a plan that best meets your needs

-Taking only what is prescribed

-Using the lowest effective dose

-Carefully tracking any side effects

-Regularly assessing any changing needs

It’s also important to remember that opioids aren’t the only option for postoperative treatment. Other measures such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or steroid injections may also be recommended by your doctor based on the type of procedure or surgery you had and how it impacted you afterward. It is important to work with your physician so they can determine which option best meets your individual healthcare needs.

4. Try relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques can help you feel control over your pain and give you an overall sense of well-being. They are easy to learn and can be done in bed or in a quiet room.

Some common relaxation techniques include deep breathing, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, and mindfulness meditation.

Deep breathing is a basic exercise that involves taking slow, deep breaths and releasing them slowly while focusing on the relaxation of the body. Visualization is another technique where one imagines scenes that are relaxing to focus on specific areas of the body. Progressive muscle relaxation involves noticing tension in each muscle group of the body from toes to head; gradually increasing tension and then releasing it back into rhythm with your breath.

Autogenic training incorporates many relaxation elements such as imagery, attention control, self-awareness, and reduction in physical arousal against any type of fixation background like “warm sun” or “heavy arms” while mindfulness meditation focuses on the present moment such as focusing on the breath or paying attention to physical sensations in order to cultivate positive emotions such as gratitude and acceptance.

5. Get plenty of rest

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Getting adequate rest is an important part of recovering from surgery. Your body needs time to heal and regenerate, so it is important to take time off for rest and sleep. Also, try to limit activities that make you feel fatigued or overtired. Follow the advice of your doctor or surgeon and aim for 8-10 hours of sleep each night.

During your recovery period, it is also important to modify your activities and exercise routine as instructed by your doctor or surgeon. Make sure that any exercise regimen includes plenty of rest in order to avoid exacerbating any pain you may be feeling. Additionally, it is important that you follow a healthy diet during your recovery period in order to ensure proper nutrition while repairing damaged tissues.

To help alleviate pain associated with surgery, there are many lifestyle changes that you can make in order to help manage moderate to severe pain. Consider incorporating some of the following suggestions into your daily regime:

-Increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, nuts, and avocados

-Reduce caffeine intake

-Take over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen

-Heat application therapy with a heating pad or hot water bottle

-Apply cold therapy with a cold compress

-Participate in physical therapy exercises

-Practice gentle stretching and yoga postures

-Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or mindfulness meditation


It can be difficult to maintain a positive attitude during the recovery process, but it is essential for managing your pain. Keeping a sense of humor and trying to look at the bigger picture of your life can help you cope with the current situation. Sometimes it helps to remind yourself that this period will eventually pass and that it may even be helping you in some way – whether by promoting personal growth or improving your physical condition.


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