Pain Management Options in Post-Surgical Patients

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Nurse pushing the patient's wheelchair

There are times when surgery becomes the best treatment alternative for your condition. Most patients want to get back on their feet and back to their activities of daily living as soon as possible after their operation. Others cannot wait to get back home and recuperate. While all these reasons are understandable, getting discharged from the hospital and going straight home might not be the smartest move. This is because there are various elements of post-operative care that will influence your healing time and well-being after an operation.

After your hospital discharge, reliable nursing homes in Worcester County, MA, should be your next stop. Most people assume that these homes are meant only for the elderly and those suffering from a terminal illness, but this is not so. Most nursing homes now offer sub-acute care that encompasses pain management, rehabilitation, and wound care for post-surgical patients for a given time frame. The following are some of the methods of pain management that you might get after your surgery:

Intravenous Patient-Controlled Analgesia

In this option, pain medication is delivered via an IV line through a computerized pump operated by a patient. The pump is programmed in a way that it only delivers a certain quantity of medication in a specified period to provide stable pain relief. As such, there is no danger of overdosing yourself in pain medication even if you press the button too many times.

Patient-Controlled Epidural Analgesia

Female patient lying on the hospital bedThis is mostly used for pain control during labor but also suffices in post-surgical patients. Pain medication is delivered through a thin plastic tube called an epidural catheter inserted in your back’s epidural space. Insertion of the catheter is not painful. Epidural analgesia is generally more effective for pain relief compared to IV analgesia since the former is absorbed into the nervous system quickly.

Nerve Blocks

These generally block pain in a selected area of your body. A nerve block in post-surgical patients is customarily used on the operation site for prolonged pain relief. It has fewer side effects than epidural and IV analgesia. It allows the use of a minimal amount of opioid medication for pain control.

Oral Medications

These may be ordered by your surgeon for an indicated period, or you may request for some from the nurse. Most oral pain medications are taken after every four hours if need be. The common types of oral analgesics used for post-op patients include NSAIDs and opioids. They are generally used for patients who are not in considerable pain.

The post-operative period is one of the most crucial for your recovery, and yet most patients take it for granted. Without adequate pain control using the methods mentioned above, the discomfort and pain you experience coupled with your writhing can lead to the opening up of your surgical site and an overall poor outcome of the surgery. Surgical wound care remains a challenge in all patients, although people assume that it is only difficult for those with compromised immunity. Professional wound care and pain control do not mean spending more time in a hospital. A nursing home has a homely environment for your healing and comfort and is far cheaper than conventional hospitalization.