How do I control my pain after my operation?

Adelaide Cardiothoracic > Patient Information > Recovery after my Surgery > How do I control my pain after my operation?

How do I control my pain after my operation?

Will I have a lot of pain after my operation?

When an injury to the body occurs, as in surgery, painful impulses are sent to the brain. The amount of pain you have varies from person to person. Some people feel a lot of pain, others not very much. YOU are the expert on your pain. Only YOU know how much pain you are feeling. Pain following surgery is NOT good for you. It is important for you to be comfortable enough to take deep breaths and cough, to be able to do your exercises or to get out of bed and walk.  If pain prevents you from doing this, complications can occur.

How will the nurse know how much pain I have?

It is very important that you tell your nurse or surgeon how much it hurts and where the pain is. You should also tell your nurse if you are feeling sick so that any nausea can be treated. Don’t wait to be asked or think that you are being a nuisance. You will also be asked at regular intervals how much pain you have when you are resting and when you are moving or coughing.
You will be asked to rate your pain on a scale of 0-10, where 0 is no pain and 10 is unbearable pain; OR you may prefer to describe your pain as Mild, Moderate or Severe.

How will my pain be prevented or relieved?

There are several ways to control your pain. For most people, strong painkillers given by mouth or injection may be sufficient. For people having major surgery, other methods are available. Please discuss these with your anaesthetist.

PLEASE REMEMBER: Painkillers cannot always remove your pain completely.  Some discomfort may still be present, but we will do our best to make you as comfortable as possible.

How long will my pain last?

You will probably require medications for two to three days after surgery. By this time your wounds have begun to heal and your pain is much less. However, you may have some discomfort for some time. This can be controlled by simple tablets such as Paracetamol with perhaps the occasional stronger analgesic. If you have pain just tell your nurse, or after discharge, your GP.

Occasionally, you may experience side effects, such as dizziness, confusion or hallucinations, from the stronger pain medications. Hallucinations are when you see, hear, smell, taste or feel something that is not there. Let your doctor or nurse know if you experience any side effects, so we can change your medication to something more suitable for you.