Pain after surgery can be very frustrating to deal with and people who have not lived with pain for an extended amount of time can find it difficult to appreciate how much it can affect someone’s quality of life. However, the numbers show that people spend more than $35 billion on the services of pain management physicians every year in the United States alone. More than 204,000 people in the country work in the pain management market.
Some people reach out to a pain specialist in particular because they are dealing with pain caused by surgery. After surgery, your body needs to go through a time of recovery. During this time, there is a good chance that you will experience more pain and inflammation in your body. However, you do not have to live with these experiences with no hope of relief.
Speaking with a pain specialist can help you learn about all kinds of ways to manage pain after surgery. So what can you do after surgery to help keep your pain as low as possible?
Read on to learn about the most crucial tips for managing post-surgery pain!
Manage Pain With Appropriate Exercise
After surgery, it is important to avoid exercising too much. However, depending on your situation, you may or may not have the option of engaging in some forms of mild exercise.
For example, someone with an ankle surgery might need to avoid walking and almost all forms of exercise. However, after a few days of recovery, it might be okay for them to exercise their arms or focus on stretching their neck or spine.
If you can engage in some form of appropriate and mild exercise, it may help you with your pain. Exercise is a great way to distract your body from pain. On top of that, it can help your body to release endorphins that relieve pain.
Learn Breathing Techniques for Pain
Some pain management techniques eliminate pain while allowing you to focus on whatever you want. However, you can also use pain management techniques like special breathing patterns to focus on diminishing your pain.
Such strategies require you to implement them over and over again whenever you want relief from your pain. However, there is no denying that these strategies can provide impressively effective results.
The most basic breathing technique for managing pain is controlling your breath at all. Pay attention to your breath and decide when you will inhale and exhale.
On top of that, you can focus on making conscious decisions about how long you will pause between inhales and exhales. Focusing on slowing your rate of breathing down can also be an effective way to manage pain for as long as you do it.
Keep in mind that you can fail to get as much as possible out of this technique if you expect it to reduce your pain even when you are not using it. Breathing techniques can sometimes have a lingering effect of reducing pain. However, in general, they are great techniques for reducing pain while you are doing them, not for enjoying less pain after doing them.
Make a List of Distractions
Distractions can be an effective way to diminish the effective impact that pain has on you and your life experience. Consider sitting down and writing out a list of things you can do when you want to distract yourself from your pain. At the top of your list, you might want to put the pain management techniques in this article.
However, you can also include things like watching something entertaining or playing a game. You might find relief from reaching out to speak with a friend or family member. Depending on your situation, it might be helpful for you to go on a walk or a drive.
Think about what activities are most likely to help you with your particular pain and then have your list ready. Whenever it feels like your pain is getting to be too much, make a point of looking at your list.
One of the great things about having a list of distractions is that the first one does not have to work. You can always move on to the next and the next after that.
Focus On Your Sleep Schedule
Sleep will help you get through your recovery time as fast as possible. It can also lower your daily stress, which can diminish your daily pain.
Of course, getting to sleep can be difficult when you are dealing with a lot of pain. For that reason, it may be better for you to focus on setting up life patterns that facilitate sleep rather than focusing on achieving sleep when you want it per se.
For example, you might decide to avoid blue light exposure at night and finish your nighttime routine ahead of schedule. Then, you can get into bed and relax or engage in an activity that will not interfere with your sleep.
However, if sleep does not come, you do not need to stress out. If you continue to foster these good sleep habits, your chances of enjoying quality sleep will continue to go up. There is no need to rush or force the process.
See a Pain Specialist When Necessary
There are many different approaches that pain specialists use to help people manage both chronic and acute pain. Talking with a pain specialist will help you find the treatments that your specific situation requires so that you can enjoy life as free of pain as possible.
Your doctor will help you navigate pain after surgery and will take a unique approach based on your circumstances. They might start by recommending that you take something like acetaminophen on your own. However, depending on your condition, your doctor might also move on to consider more powerful options. This is more likely if acetaminophen has already failed to bring much relief.
In other cases, it makes more sense to focus on diminishing the inflammation in the body. After all, if you can get rid of enough inflammation, much of your pain may go away all by itself.
In such cases, doctors may prescribe you some kind of anti-inflammatory medication. For some people, this will solve all of their problems. Other times, a pain specialist may move on to another treatment approach if this does not work.
Nerve Block Pain Management
In special cases, a pain specialist might even recommend that you get a nerve block to help you control the pain. Nerve blocks attempt to bypass the pain of the problem altogether. Instead of trying to eliminate your pain or its causes, a nerve block will simply keep the pain from traveling up your spine to the brain.
As long as pain signals cannot reach your brain, you will not perceive them in your subjective experience.
This is a more intense option, so doctors might be reluctant to start with it. In the majority of cases, you will only get a nerve block treatment if you have already tried other approaches and they have not worked for you.
Spinal Cord Stimulation Options
Another intense approach to managing pain is spinal cord stimulation. Of course, if you go the spinal cord stimulation route, you will need to get another surgery, which means you may end up with more post-surgery pain again.
However, that might be worth it if the spinal cord stimulation surgery allows you to manage your symptoms. In fact, you might find your post-surgery recovery after spinal cord stimulation surgery to be easier than any other in your past. After all, the whole point of this surgery is that it can help you diminish your pain, which will make recovery easier.
A spinal cord stimulation surgery will often be designed so that it can stimulate either your dorsal root ganglion or your peripheral nerve. In some ways, you can compare this approach to the nerve block.
Instead of trying to eliminate the causes of pain in your body, this approach interacts with your nervous system to handle the pain in a more direct way. Many people find that with careful stimulation of the right nerves around their spine, they experience much less pain.
In many ways, pain tends to beget more pain. The stress of going through pain can foster inflammation and make recovery harder, which will lead to more pain. In such cases, finding a way to treat pain can also help manage its causes.
Understand the Top Options for Managing Pain
Learning more about the best techniques from pain specialists can help you enjoy the highest quality of life possible. Taking the time to learn about how to decrease your post-surgery pain is an investment that will pay off for all of your future surgeries
To learn more about how to manage your pain, reach out and get in touch with us here at any time! We have convenient offices in San Marcos and New Braunfels and we’re here to help you manage your pain.