DAY CASE SURGERY PAIN RELIEF
How do I know which pain relieving medications to take?
This explains how to manage your pain after your day surgery procedure. It contains information about commonly used pain relieving medications (analgesics) as well as some non-drug methods to control pain.
Why is treatment of pain important after surgery?
Good pain control helps you be more comfortable while you heal after surgery. This helps you to move and breathe more easily which in turn improves recovery.
How much pain should I have after surgery?
It is likely that you will have some pain after you go home although this is not normally severe. The amount of pain a person experiences after an operation depends on the type of surgery and will vary from person to person.
How do I know when to treat my pain?
Do not wait until your pain becomes severe before taking pain-relieving medications. Pain is easier to control when it is mild to moderate.
During the first few days after surgery, you may need to take stronger pain relieving medications. The need to take these medications will lessen as your body heals. Take pain-relieving medications about an hour before planned activities that may cause discomfort.
Do not mix and match pain-relieving medications from hospital and from home. Only take the pain relieving medications that have been prescribed for you on discharge. However it is important to let the doctors know if you have been taking regular analgesics at home, prior to your surgery.
What non-drug methods can I use to treat my pain?
Elevation after leg or arm surgery
Adequate fluid intake
Supporting the wound with your hands if you cough or sneezeGentle stretch or massage for muscle pain (only if approved by your surgeon)
Paracetamol – mild to moderate pain
A safe and effective painkiller, we recommend that you take this medicine regularly – two tablets four times daily (eg. breakfast/lunch/dinner/bedtime).
It is important to limit the daily dose to a maximum of eight tablets. Do not take paracetamol for more than seven days. Side effects are uncommon but paracetamol can be dangerous in overdosage.
Note that there are many other products which contain paracetamol – to avoid overdosage, it is important that these are not taken as well as the paracetamol prescribed after your operation. There are also many cold and flu preparations, which contain paracetamol at various strengths. Drug interactions: let your doctor know if you are taking warfarin as there may be an interaction with paracetamol.
Naproxen – moderate pain
This is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) type medicine. The dose is one tablet (250 mg) three times daily regularly or as required with food (eg. breakfast, lunch and dinner).
There are many other NSAID type drugs which should not be taken as well as your naproxen. Usually naproxen will not be prescribed if you have a history of stomach ulcers, allergy to NSAID drugs or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Caution is required in patients with asthma, bleeding disorders, taking anticoagulants (eg warfarin) and heart or kidney failure.
Usually naproxen will not be prescribed if you have a history of stomach ulcers, allergy to NSAID drugs or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Caution is required in patients with asthma, bleeding disorders, taking anticoagulants (eg warfarin) and heart or kidney failure.
It has potential drug Interactions with blood thinning medications (eg warfarin) and blood pressure lowering medications.
Oxycodone – moderate to severe pain
These opioid class (morphine-like) medicines should only be taken when required or as directed for moderate to severe pain.
Oxycodone is an immediate-release tablet, which can be taken up to every three hours. The dose is usually 2.5-10 mg (1⁄2 -2 tablets).
Oxycodone SR is a sustained-release product, which means that the tablet gradually releases the drug into your body. The dose, which must be swallowed whole, is usually 10-20 mg twice daily taken regularly (every 12 hours).
It is important to remember that oxycodone may cause an additive effect with sedatives and/or alcohol*. We need to know if you usually take any other strong (opioid) painkillers such as morphine. Also advise your doctor if you have had seizures (fits) or a head injury.
All opioids can cause side effects including nausea, headache, dizziness, confusion, drowsiness and skin rash. Let your doctor know should you experience any of these symptoms. Constipation is common and you may need to treat this with increased fluid intake and laxatives.
Tramadol - moderate to severe pain
Tramadol is an additional pain relief medicine which may be prescribed for moderate to severe pain. The normal dose is 50-100 mg up to four times daily (less in patients who are elderly or have kidney disease)
It is important to let your doctor know if you have a history of seizures (fits) or are pregnant/breastfeeding before taking tramadol.
Side effects include nausea, constipation, drowsiness, sweating and rarely fits.
Importantly, this medicine interacts with other drugs* including antidepressants, warfarin, alcohol and St John's Wort.
It is possible that you will also have local anaesthetic either at the site of surgery or blocking the nerves to the site of surgery. This is designed to keep you more comfortable for the first 12- 24hrs after your operation and to reduce the amount pain relief medication you will need. Ideally you should take your first pain relief tablets before the local anaesthetic has worn off so that it will be working when you need it (this is often before going to bed on the night of the surgery).
In general you should not drive, drink alcohol, cook, operate machinery or make important decisions until at least 24 hours after your anaesthetic.
In addition we require that there is someone in the home on the night after the operation
You may experience minor side effects following anaesthesia such as sore throat, slight drowsiness and nausea. You should have light meals only on the day of surgery (eg. toast or soup). Usually these side effects decline rapidly but may last for a few days. It is normal to not feel up to your usual activities in the days following surgery. A period of recovery at home is normal and to be expected.
Contact numbers for concerns and emergency help from the Surgical team looking after you via:
The Alfred 9076 2000
Sandringham Hospital 9076 1000