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Managing pain after surgery

Manjula Raguthu MD,FAAFP,ABAARM

Manjula Raguthu MD,FAAFP,ABAARM

It is very important to follow up on the procedures after a surgery. After orthopaedic surgery, your doctors and nurses will make every effort to control your pain. While you should expect to feel some discomfort, advancements in pain control now make it easier for your doctor to manage and relieve pain.
This article focuses on the medications used to control pain after orthopedic surgery. Opioids are the most effective medicines for moderate to severe pain, especially for managing short-term pain after surgery.
Many types of medicines are available to help control pain, including opioids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and local anesthetics. Treating pain with medication can help you feel more comfortable, which will help your body heal and recover from surgery faster. When you feel less pain, you can start moving sooner and get your strength back more quickly.
Alternative approaches, such as medical hypnosis and acupuncture, are being used more often as surgeons and their patients increasingly choose these methods to supplement conventional medicine. A combined approach to pain management is often the best option because it allows the surgeon to tailor pain control methods to each individual patient.
In order to effectively manage your pain, your surgeon will take into account several factors that are unique to you and your situation. That is why it is important for you to openly discuss your fears and expectations, as well as your past experiences with pain control, with your doctors and nurses.
Although each individual medical facility has different policies, procedures, and pain control options available, in most cases, you can expect your surgery pain to be controlled by either oral (PO), intramuscular, physical therapy.
Surgeons and their patients are increasingly using alternative methods, such as relaxation techniques and acupuncture, to supplement conventional medicine. A combined approach to pain management is often the best option because it allows the surgeon to tailor pain control methods to each individual patient.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
In transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) a special device transmits low-level electrical charges into the area of the body that is in pain.
A TENS system consists of a small, battery-powered machine connected by wires to a pair of electrodes. The two electrodes are connected to your skin near the source of pain or at a pressure point. A mild electrical current travels through your skin and along your nerve fibers which may cause a warm, tingling sensation. A typical TENS session lasts anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. This helps relieve the pain through less strenuous process.
Gate Control Theory. In order for you to feel pain, the sensation must travel through a “gate” to get to the brain. Normally, the pain is allowed to flow freely through the gate because it (pain) is the only sensation trying to get through. However, if the gate becomes flooded with another type of sensation (in this case, an electric current), the gate will reach capacity and no longer have room for the underlying pain sensation to get through.
Release of Endogenous Opiates. Some scientists believe that TENS works by forcing certain nerve cells to release more of the body’s natural pain killers called “endorphins.” This causes you to feel less pain.
Central Inhibitory Effect. TENS may also work by changing the way your brain perceives pain.
Dr. Manjula Raguthu has been a family physician for 26 years. She is specialized in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Association, American Physicians of Indian Origin, Texas Academy of family Physicians and American Anti-Aging Academy. She takes a holistic approach to health, uses Bio identical hormones and integrative therapies to achieve optimal health for her patients. Visit www.medwinfamily.com for more details.


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