For many prospective patients, post-op pain is a major factor in postponing surgical care. Unfortunately, the fear of pain can delay important treatments.
Doctors and surgeons understand that pain management is an important part of any surgical care plan, as it helps your body feel comfortable and heal more quickly. It’s also important for pain management plans to be properly overseen and administered, to avoid pain-related complications.
You can help your doctors prepare for your pain management needs by engaging in a dialogue about your care. To help manage your pain after surgery, it’s particularly important to discuss the following with your doctor:
- Expectations. Depending on the type of surgery you need, there may be a different type or level of pain that needs to be managed. It’s important to discuss these expectations with your care team, so that you know about the pain typically associated with a procedure and how long it may last.
- Experience. If you have needed pain management in the past, or if you are managing a chronic pain issue currently, mention this to your care team. This will give them a chance to evaluate what has and has not worked previously, as well as consider how your current pain management needs might affect your surgical care. Both factors will help them create an effective care plan.
- Medications. If you take any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, supplements, or herbs as part of your day-to-day care, it’s important to mention them to your surgeon. All of these have the potential to interact with post-surgical pain medications. You may need to change your drug regimen before and after surgery, based on your doctor’s pain management recommendations.
- Alcohol and drugs. Be honest with your doctor about alcohol, tobacco or illicit drug use. It’s important for your surgeon to know about any habits related to these that could affect your medication needs and your body’s ability to heal.
- Side effects. Many pain management prescriptions come with potential side effects. It’s important for you as the patient to ask questions about these side effects, and to ask how to minimize them. Taking these steps will help you plan for a healthier recovery overall, and will help sound the alarm if signs of trouble develop.
- The plan. After discussing all of the above, you will want to consider your pain management plan overall and review it with your doctor. Understanding how much medication you should use daily after you leave the hospital is especially critical. While doctors will be able to monitor your on-site pain management needs, post-op prescriptions will require proper use on the patient side to be effective and not lead to harmful side effects.
All of the above are important things to discuss before undergoing surgery. However, even after surgery, you will want to keep communication open between you, your doctor, and your care team.. If your pain management plan does not provide relief, or if you develop any serious side effects, it’s important to speak up and mention the issue to your doctors. Doing so will help them adjust your plan in a safe, controlled manner – minimizing the risk of poor pain management side effects.
Ready to start your care journey? Do you have questions regarding this blog post or your current care plan? Contact us today to ensure you receive the information you need.