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Managing Pain After Surgery

By Randi Morse

I recently had to undergo a few different surgical procedures on my kidney. I had similar procedures four years ago and I noticed a huge difference in the way my doctor treated my pain. Four years ago I was heavily drugged up and sent home with a prescription for narcotic medication. This time there were no prescriptions written up. Doctors now understand the devastating effect narcotics can have on people's health and they are being extremely cautious about prescribing them. While this is a huge help when it comes to lowering the addiction rate in the country, it doesn't help someone who is dealing with pain. 


Don't discount over-the-counter pain medication. While these medications may not help as much as their stronger narcotic cousins, they can definitely help to take the edge off of your pain. Ask your doctor about the best over-the-counter pain option for your specific needs, and make sure that you take them routinely. If you don't take pain medication on a regular basis you allow the pain to get ahead of the medication. By taking it on a regularly scheduled routine, your body knows to expect the medication and the pain level stays much more tolerable.

Cold and Heat

Cold and heat are two of the best ways to help alleviate pain. Heat is generally used to help loosen muscles while cold helps to numb an area. If you've had surgery, cold may be your best option, but make sure you ask your doctor before you try using any specific option. Most surgeons are very picky on how they want a wound treated.

Learning to Focus

The mind is an extremely powerful thing and if you learn how to focus it can help to lower your pain level. Meditation has been found to work wonders for people who are trying to alleviate pain, especially surgical pain, but if you're unsure how to meditate, simply learning how to breathe correctly can be a huge help. Close your eyes, breathe in slowly to the count of four, then breathe out slowly to the count of five. Do this a few times and it should help relax you and bring your pain level down. 

If you're having a hard time focusing, try distraction. This is another form of focusing but people are often more comfortable with it because it is more familiar to them. If you play video games, sit down with your favorite game and play. If you're an avid reader, crack open a book or an e-book. Do whatever you can to take your mind away from the pain you're experiencing.

Anyone who goes through surgery should expect to deal with pain, but with the help of over-the-counter medications, as well as learning to focus and applying heat or cold, you should be able to make any pain you're feeling tolerable.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Jacksonville, Fla.

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