Pain After Surgery (cont.)
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Self-Care at Home
The doctor may prescribe pain medication based on the severity of your pain.
One standard plan for pain management after surgery is acetaminophen (Tylenol) or an NSAID (such as ibuprofen) prescribed at a regular interval for a set number of days, and an opiate or opiate combination pill prescribed for breakthrough pain. An example might be ibuprofen 600 mg every 6 hours for 4 days, with oxycodone 5 mg 1-2 tablets every 4 hours as needed for severe pain. In this example, ibuprofen is taken for 4 days every 6 hours whether or not pain is present, and oxycodone is available for when pain is felt despite the ibuprofen pain medication. Indeed, many different medication plans are similar to this example and work just as well. Review your pain management plan with the doctor before and after surgery.
Many people do not want to take their prescribed pain medications for fear of becoming addicted. Becoming addicted to a pain medication when it is used for pain is very rare. In fact, not using the pain medication can be more dangerous. Some pain may prevent you from taking deep breaths and increase the risk of pneumonia. Other times, pain may prevent you from resuming your daily activities such as walking, eating, and sleeping. These activities are important for a healthy recovery from surgery.
In addition to pain medications, following the doctor’s and/or surgeon’s instructions for wound care and dressing changes is important.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/31/2015
Michael J Ameres, MD
Benson Yeh, MD
Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
James Quinn, MD
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