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Managing Your Pain

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Pain management begins with you. You can expect to have some pain and discomfort after surgery. We all have different pain tolerance levels, so your pain will be controlled as adequately as possible based on your need. You must help the staff by describing the pain, pinpointing its location, and judging its intensity, as well as reporting any changes in these.

The staff will be using this scale to help you rate your level of pain:

Always report any increases or changes in pain. To fully reap the benefits of pain management strategies available, you must use them before pain becomes severe. Your surgeon and anesthesiologist will decide the plan for your pain management.

The options include:

Epidural Analgesia
Epidural analgesia, for 1-2 days post operatively, will keep your pain at a low level on the pain scale. After the epidural is discontinued, your pain can be managed by oral or injectable medications.

Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA)
A PCA pump uses your IV line as a vehicle for pain medication which you, the patient, administer via a hand held control button. The pump is pre-set by the staff, so you cannot give yourself too much medication.

Oral/lnjectable Medications
Approximately 24-28 hours after surgery, as pain decreases and your activity level increases, you will begin to take oral and/or injectable medications. The nurse does not automatically give pain pills to you at a set time, please ask for them when needed. It is helpful to take your pain medication about 30 minutes prior to physical therapy if possible.

Cold Therapy
Ice packs/wraps, used at the surgical site for the first 24-48 hours post operatively, will aid in reducing swelling and pain.

You may experience one or more side effects associated with pain medications. You should inform your nurse or physician if you have unrelieved pain or any of the these symptoms:

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Urinary retention

  • Dry mouth

  • Drowsiness

  • Constipation

  • Itching/Hives
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