Nervous About Pain After Surgery?

| October 8, 2012 | 3 Comments

Pain after surgery is something that most patients are anxious about. I am having my hip replaced!? That’s bound to hurt!

The truth is that some degree of discomfort will be expected after major surgery, but it does not have to be intolerable. In other words, your pain will be treated aggressively until it is at a level that is tolerable for you. In many cases, you may have minimal, if any, pain.

For instance, after a cesarean section, most women describe some soreness, but they are comfortable overall. This is because medicines are given to take the major surgical pain away. If you are having orthopaedic surgery, often a nerve block is performed that may drastically reduce the amount of pain you may have after surgery.

The great news for you is that anesthesiologists are well trained in pain management techniques. We want you to be as comfortable as possible and strive for this everyday. Do not hesitate to discuss plans to treat your pain with the anesthesiologist prior to surgery.

He or she probably already has a solid plan in place to manage your pain medicines during surgery and immediately afterwards. If you are on chronic pain medicines or consider yourself to have a low tolerance for pain, please do not worry. We have taken care of patients in these situations many times before.

Depending on your medical history, type of surgery, and preferences of the surgeon, anesthesiologists can use a variety of medicines to help take away pain.  Oral pain medicines, IV pain medicines, epidurals, spinals, nerve blocks, and local anesthetics can all be used to help with your pain management.

Despite proper planning by the anesthesiologist while you are sleeping, you may still wake up in the recovery room with discomfort.  But don’t worry!  The recovery room nurse will also treat you with pain medicine until you are as comfortable as possible.

Some surgeries may have the potential to cause more pain than others (i.e. toenail surgery versus repair of a broken leg) and anesthesiologists take this into account.  We know that better pain management leads to a happier patient, the potential for quicker recovery, and the ability for you to be more mobile sooner in your recovery period.

Have you had surgery recently?  Was your pain well treated?  Anything you wanted to change?

Please leave your comments below and help others know what to expect after their own surgery by visiting our forum.

And as always, please visit for our newest posts.

Thanks for stopping by!

What General Anesthesia Side Effect have you experienced, if any?

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Category: Anesthesia Medicines, Anesthesia Topics, Day of surgery, General Anesthesia, Regional Anesthesia

Comments (3)

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  1. Dana Bennnett says:

    Anaesthetic wears off quickly on me. I am going to have foot surgery for a Morton’s neuroma, and the doctor suggested that a pain block behind the knee might help me stay numb longer and reduce pain. I had surgery a number of years ago for a Tailor’s bunion and was in pain by the time I left the surgical center. However, I am a little nervous after reading about the possibility of the anaesthetic being injected into an artery and traveling to the heart, especially since I have already had three heart surgeries. They were for coarctation of the aorta the first time and then aneurysms at the site of the first repair. Does this put me at higher risk of a complication from a nerve block, and how often do complications happen (heart stopping, permanent numbness, etc.)?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Complications like that are pretty rare. Most anesthesiologists today use ultrasound to “see” the needle and deposit local anesthetic next to a nerve (and away from blood vessels).

      Be sure to discuss these concerns with your anesthesiologist.

  2. Dana Bennnett says:

    Thank you.

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