Although surgeries are typically meant to put us in better health, they can take an incredible toll on the body. Many patients experience pain and discomfort days, weeks, and even months after surgery. While it’s imperative to always seek help from your doctor when the pain becomes unmanageable, here are a few helpful pain management tips for after surgery.

Avoid Opioid Pain Pills

While it may seem counterproductive to avoid certain pain pills, medicine such as Advil and Tylenol just as effective to relieve pain post-surgery. According to Harvard Health Publishing, ibuprofen and acetaminophen control post-surgical pain if taken as recommended. Even though there can be great pain after surgery, opioids are an extreme, addictive pain medication that should be avoided. Patients are able to achieve pain relief with non-opioid pain management. If opioids are recommended by your doctor, limit the amount you take.

Listen to Music

Outside the realms of prescribed medication, there are other options for pain relief. Studies have found that listening to music is a great way to manage pain after surgery. It’s been found that music reduces stress, lowers breathing and heart rate, which can reduce delirium after surgery. When music was used as a pain management tool, patients’ stays in the hospital were improved after surgery and gave them a better environment to heal.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

Another effective way to manage pain without medication is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, often referred to as TENS. This pain management device is a system that comes with a small, battery-powered machine that is connected by wires to two electrodes. The two electrodes connect with your skin near the source of your pain or the pressure point and then transmit low-level electrical charges to where you are experiencing pain. Many patients have found TENS to be a great way to relieve pain after surgery.

Reset Expectations

The biggest factor in managing pain after your surgery is resetting your expectations. Set your expectations preoperatively by understanding that there is bound to be some pain and discomfort. The pain should never be unmanageable or excruciating, but it is normal and expected to feel some pain afterward. having some pain is okay. Going into the surgery knowing this can help a patient deal with the pain a little easier because they know it’s coming and are prepared for it. It will also decrease the amount of pain medication used.

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