By Dr. Shantanu Mallick, Medio+
Managing the pain after a surgery is necessary because all surgical procedures leave behind mild to severe post-operative pain. A systematic approach to managing this pain is rarely used but when implemented properly, helps in improving the overall success of the surgery.
Symptoms you are most likely to experience after a back surgery include:
- High fever
- Increased irritation around the point of incision
- Increasing pain
- Chronic infection
Here are a few ways in which the pain after surgery can be managed:
- Narcotic Pain Medications: These medications can be availed only if a competent doctor prescribes them because these opioids are basically pain killers which weaken the pain signals sent to the brain. These medicines aren’t prescribed often as they affect emotions and the sleep cycle of a patient.
- Intravenous Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA): Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) is a pain management post-surgery which uses a computerised pump which needs you to push a button and deliver small dosages of pain medication into your IV (intravenous) line. The best part is that it allows very limited dosages of this pain medication even though the patient has control over the button which releases the painkiller.
- Heat and Cold Therapy: Applying heat or cold therapies to areas which are experiencing pain after the surgery can prove to be a good way to relieve the pain. For applying heat, you can opt for the heat wrap therapy which helps in getting rid of muscle cramps or pain whereas the cold treatment (ice pack) can help in relieving the soreness caused due to an incision.
- Nerve Blocks: After a back surgery, you might be offered a nerve block which will help you deal with the pain by controlling it over a broad area. A catheter (a flexible tube which can be inserted to the body through a small cavity) might be used for draining out the bodily fluids as well. It is preferred over other medications as the levels of opioid are reduced and thus has lesser side effects. For certain surgeries, nerve blocks are used instead of anaesthesia. You can also consult a pain management specialist for more information.