Are you wondering if the pain you are having after surgery is normal or unusual? I mean, your skin was cut after all, and perhaps the insides were moved around a bit. Maybe you have very low tolerance to pain, like when you have a cold, you can barely stand the muscle aches and you are literally “dying.” Maybe you have very high tolerance for pain, you have a bad back, yet you continue with your golf game. People tolerate pain differently, so it begs the question, “Am I supposed to be having this much pain after surgery?” “Am I being a big baby?” or “Am I too cool to have pain?”
Pain is relative
Pain is relative meaning each person suffers and experiences pain in their own way. There is acute pain versus chronic pain. Today we are talking about acute pain. Acute pain is short term, lasting not more than 3-6 months. For all intents and purposes, I am referring to acute pain that is elicited due to tissue damage from a surgical procedure.
Nurses utilize the Wong-Baker pain scale:
We ask our patients, to rate their pain 0 with having no pain at all, to 10, being the worst pain they have ever felt in their life.
Sometimes pain medications are prescribed by the surgeon regularly around the clock, even when you don’t feel pain. This helps to prevent severe pain that is difficult to control. Make sure to take your pain medications as prescribed. Other times the surgeon prescribes pain medications only as needed. Your surgeon has enough experience with their patients to know how much pain is normal after your surgery, accordingly, they prescribe the appropriate pain medication regimen.
If you are taking your pain medications as prescribed, and your pain continues to be above 8, it is a good reason to call your surgeon, don’t be afraid to let them know that your pain is not being managed. A pain of 8 out of 10, even after taking your pain medications as prescribed, plus adhering to discharge instructions (such as positioning, and activity instructions) is not normal. Something else may be going on. It is ok to call your surgeon. You can always call a Signature Nurse to assess and manage your needs.