Make An Appointment

Prefer to schedule over the phone? Contact a Advanced Pain Care location near you:

Patient Links

Get messages from doctors and staff, check prescriptions, download forms and agreements, and pay your bills online.

Records + Referrals

Are you a healthcare provider and need to make a referral or access records?

Main Line (Austin Area)
Post-surgery pain management

Lingering Post-Surgical Pain: Is It All In Your Head?

Post-surgical pain implies pain that persists over 3 to 6 months after you’ve undergone a surgical procedure. Essentially, it is due to a surgery-induced injury to a major nerve. It is characterized by discomfort and pain that may be constant or intermittent and can last for days, weeks, or even months after surgery. Over 45 million surgical processes are performed in the United States every year(1)

Pain management after surgery is important to prevent negative effects (2), such as difficulty performing daily tasks, lower quality of life, and higher medical costs. Moreover, poorly managed pain can disrupt sleep and impact mental well-being, causing feelings of discouragement and anxiety. While there are different ways to manage post-surgery pain, like medication, icing, and physical therapy, it is important to control post-surgery pain for a quicker and more comfortable recovery.

Advanced Pain Care uses various methods to effectively treat your pain. Our team of doctors, surgeons, and pain experts work together to help achieve complete recovery, creating a personalized plan for post-surgery pain management. You can visit any of our Texas centers to get started. Understanding your pain is the first step to feeling better. Contact us today.

Why Am I Still in Pain?

While the severity and precise location of pain after surgery can vary depending on the individual and the type of procedure used, there are some general reasons for this discomfort. Firstly, surgical incisions, anesthesia, and the overall process of surgery can make a patient feel uneasy after an operation. As the skin and underlying tissues start to heal, patients may experience stretching or pulling, leading to pain in the area. This damage may result from the incision itself. While post-surgery pain isn’t ideal, it’s important to note that the majority of patients recovering from surgery feel only mild discomfort. 

Some patients may feel ongoing pain that includes tingling, numbness, or uneasy sensations in the area where they had the operation. This happens due to nerve damage at the surgical site. Patients might also have trouble sensing hot or cold or experience hypersensitivity to the part of the body where the surgery was performed.

Pain varies from patient to patient after surgery. However, there are risk factors that can make someone more likely to experience chronic, post-surgical pain. These can include those with pre-existing pain conditions or those with lower pain tolerances. Moreover, women usually have a higher chance of experiencing lingering post-surgery pain. 

Treating Post-Surgery Pain

Postoperative pain can be challenging and frustrating for both patients and doctors. However, there are many types of pain treatments that are effective in its management, such as:

  1. Intravenous patient-controlled analgesia
    IV PCA (Intravenous Patient-Controlled Analgesia) is a safe and effective method for treating pain from an operation. The medication is injected directly into the bloodstream. The frequency and amount of which is controlled by the patient. IV PCA is used in cases where additional pain medication is shown to be the most effective option.
  2. Patient-controlled epidural analgesia
    PCEA involves local anesthetic injected into the epidural space to numb the nerves carrying pain signals from surgery. PCEA is usually safe, works well, and can also be used with other methods like nerve blocks for better pain relief.
  3. Nerve blocks
    With nerve blocks, a local anesthetic is injected into the nerves, which can reduce and effectively treat the pain. 
  4. Oral Pain medications
    These medicines stop the pain signals from reaching your brain, which helps reduce post-surgery pain and improve recovery. There are multiple medications available, so it’s important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to find the right one for you. 

Like with most treatments, the above-mentioned carry potential risks and side effects. That’s why it’s important to consult with your doctor to find the one that’s right for your pain management plan.

Call Now

Stop Suffering from Post-Surgical Pain

Below are some basic recommendations for patients to take care of their pain at home.

  1. Avoid or limit opioid pain pills whenever possible. 

Opioid pain pills can be addictive and cause side effects like breathing problems, constipation, and drowsiness. They may interfere with other medications, potentially resulting in hazardous drug interactions.  That’s why it’s crucial to discuss all options for post-surgery pain management. By avoiding or limiting the use of opioids, you can lower the risks they bring.

  1. Be positive and patient with yourself. 

Post-surgical pain and healing vary for each person.   It’s important to focus on getting healthy, staying positive, being patient, and reaching out to loved ones for support. 

  1. Incorporate light exercise into your routine. 

One of the most important aspects of post-surgery pain management is to keep moving. Light activity can help reduce pain and aid in healing., but be sure to Listen to your body and avoid activities that cause discomfort. Gently stretching and walking are generally safe and can help speed up your recovery process. 

  1. Apply heat and ice packs. 

Using a heating pad or ice pack on the sore area can ease post-surgical pain. Heat relaxes muscles and increases blood flow, while cold reduces inflammation. To prevent irritation, switch between the two for 20 minutes each. Avoid strenuous activity and keep the area clean and dry.

Depression After Surgery? Understanding What to Expect

After surgery, people may feel down, which can slow down recovery. However, patients can take steps to decrease its effect on their healing process.

  1. Reaching out to friends and family 

Receiving help from friends and family can make recovery easier and more successful.  Studies show that having support from loved ones can boost your mood and lower stress(3). They can also help with tasks like childcare or housework. 

  1. Eating healthy 

A nutritious diet helps your body heal faster and provides energy to manage post-surgical pain. Instead of junk food and sugary drinks, try to eat fruits, veggies, and whole grains and drink plenty of water. If you’re finding it hard to eat well, talk to your doctor or a dietitian for guidance. Making changes to your diet can help you feel better after surgery.

  1. Exercising daily

Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects.  30 minutes of gentle to moderate exercise each day can reduce post-surgical pain. For example, take a walk, go for a swim, or do an activity that feels right for you.  Even if you can’t go for a walk or run,  moving your body and getting your heart rate up each day can help.

  1. A regular sleep routine 

A regular sleep schedule can reduce the effect of post-surgical pain i. Research shows that patients who stick to a routine are less likely to experience mental and physical stress. So, having a good sleep routine is an important part of pain management after surgery.

  1. Setting improvement goals 

Creating achievable improvement goals is important. When post-surgery pain is well controlled, and progress is made toward these goals, both your body and mind feel better. It’s also important to have realistic expectations about the recovery process, as it varies for each person. Discussing recovery expectations with your surgeon helps you prepare and deal with any setbacks, leading to a successful outcome.

  1. Focusing on rest and patience 

Allow time for your body to heal after surgery. Following your procedure, it’s important to rest as much as possible. This will help your body recover more quickly and reduce the risk of post-surgical complications. Patience will help you heal and give you time to recover both physically and emotionally.

Advanced Pain Care Can Help Manage Chronic Post-Surgical Pain

Pain management after surgery at Advanced Pain Care comprises multiple pain-relieving medications, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and/or local anesthetics. To reduce the amount and variety of pain after surgery, we also take steps to manage the pain at the time of the surgery itself. This involves administering pain management medications like intravenous pain medicine and patient-controlled analgesia. We also guide you on the best ways to manage and relieve pain at home post-surgery.

Our advanced surgical centers are present in Austin, Amarillo, Killeen, and Round Rock, where our pain specialists treat every kind of pain, from chronic to acute pain and neuropathic pain. We accept insurance from all the major providers, such as in-network carriers, behavioral health networks, and worker’s compensation certified networks.

Visit Advanced Pain Care near you to benefit from pain relief and better healing.