You just had surgery and it hurts like a B*&%H
What can you do about pain after surgery??
This is something that comes up all the time for me as we work with a lot of people right after surgery and I want to talk about it with you, to help YOU if you just had hand or arm surgery. What to do about pain after surgery and whether to take medication or not to take medication. Of course there’s a lot of people out there that are fine with taking opiates, taking narcotics, taking prescription pain medication. Same thing different words.
But there’s also a lot of people who are very, very concerned about taking those types of medications. Not sure if this is really NECESSARY…OR concerned because they are FEARFUL about the side effects. So this blog is for YOU if you just had hand, wrist, elbow, or shoulder surgery. (Really this can apply to other parts too as I just had the same conversation with a friend that had knee surgery.)
I’m bringing it up because it is something that I am having conversations with people on the daily about. And I want to share it with you what I shared with them.
If you just had surgery and I mean like…just had surgery, a day ago it’s OKAY to take prescription medication for your pain.
I mean it is OKAY for you to take prescription medication, narcotics, opiates for your pain because surgery HURTS. It hurts. It’s supposed to hurt. It’s normal. It feels heavy. It can feel constant. Any slight of movement can bring on sharp stabbing pain. NOT like anything you have ever felt.
So you want to know “how is this OKAY”?? Well… I would say…your surgeon just cut you, just was pushing things around, and was essentially doing carpenter work inside your body. That’s why it hurts and that’s why it’s ok to hurt.
My advice as an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist would be for you to take the pain medication as prescribed by your doctor at least for the first week or two weeks IF you are comfortable with taking narcotics. If you’re not comfortable with taking those type of medications (there can be many reasons), your other alternative for can be to take any over-the-counter medications that you’re comfortable with taking before you had the surgery that would help you with any kind of pain that you had had in the past. Now both medications are meant to take the edge off of the pain but is not meant to take the pain away completely because honestly you just had surgery….
The prescription medications will be stronger and they can help you more than over-the-counter medication. BUT you need to be comfortable with the decision….just know that it’s NORMAL to NEED and WANT to take stronger medications for the pain. It is not going to be forever…just to help you at the very beginning of your recovery. Please remember these are just general recommendations that I frequently discuss with MY clients…that just had hand or arm surgery. If you want to talk to me specifically, then CLICK HERE.
I don’t know about you but prescription pain medications make me feel worse because they make me nauseous, they’ve made me dizzy so I cannot tolerated it that well. If this happens to you then I would recommend taking those really strong pain medications at night to help you sleep. A good night sleep is essential for good healing and recovery as well as to not be so grumpy and irritable in the morning. That’s best for you and for the people around you. ???? The first two weeks are essential to controlling your pain so that you can heal and start to move as allowed. The more comfortable you are, the less scared you will be which always helps with your recovery.
These are general recommendations that I have when I speak to people right after they had surgery about their pain. This may or may not apply to you, but if you have questions specific to what you are going through please request to speak to our therapists CLICK HERE. We want to help you feel more comfortable and make the best decision about your health and recovery. AND we have a FAQ guide for you for after surgery! CLICK HERE if you want it sent to you!
Talk to you soon!
Hoang Tran OT/L, CHT
Disclaimer: As with all our pages, this is NOT a substitute for formal medical treatment or occupational therapy. It is intended to inform only. Hands on Therapy Services disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Hands on Therapy Services in Miami, FL helps people with arm and hand injuries to be able to stay active, pain free, and avoid surgeries. For more contact info please click here
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