Surgical Pain Management
The best way to control your pain after surgery is to start managing it before surgery.
Your comfort is important to us! ChristianaCare’s comprehensive pain management program is designed to help you manage your pain with less need for opioids or narcotics.
Before we take you to the operating room, we will give you a combination of non-opioid pain medicines, such as acetaminophen, celecoxib, gabapentin, ibuprofen and/or ketorolac to take with a sip of water. Taking these medicines before surgery helps:
- Reduce swelling that can lead to pain after surgery.
- Lower the amount of opioid medicines that you need to manage your pain as you get better.
- Lower your change of developing ongoing pain that can last months, or even years, after surgery.
Your care team will partner with you to decide what medicines are best for you.
Why is it so important to reduce the amount of opioid pain medicine you need after surgery?
Treating pain with opioids, or narcotics, alone can make your recovery more difficult. Opioids can:
- Make you feel sleepy and confused.
- Lower your blood pressure.
- Slow your breathing.
- Cause nausea, constipation and trouble emptying your bladder.
You may need to stay in the hospital longer and these problems can slow down your recovery.
Our goal is to help you recover with:
- Less pain.
- Faster recovery time.
- Fewer side effects.
- Return to work and favorite activities sooner and stronger.
Remember these tips to manage pain at home after surgery
- You will receive instructions to take non-opioid medicine on a regular basis for several weeks. Please take these medicines, as directed, whether you have pain or not. Taking these medicines regularly can help stop your pain from getting worse.
- If your doctor prescribes gabapentin, take it in the evening. This medicine helps reduce pain and reduce the amount of opioids you will need to take. It may also decrease your chances of developing long-term pain that may last for months or years. Gabapentin may cause sleepiness, slurred speech and blurred vision. If any of these side effects bother you, you may stop taking this medicine.
- Use the stronger opioid medicine as you need it for pain that does not get better with other treatments.
It is important for you to understand and follow the program we have designed to manage your pain after surgery. Ask your surgeon:
- How much pain should I expect?
- What type of pain will I have?
- How long will the pain last?
Contact your doctor with any questions about managing your pain.