Learn more about the symptoms and traditional treatments of Post-surgical pain
Following a surgical operation, you may experience feelings of pain and inflammation in your body. Some degree of pain is normal following surgery and can vary depending on the surgical procedure you underwent, your age, and whether you had any pre-existing medical conditions. It’s important to discuss pain management following surgery with your surgeon and or GP, especially if you’re not experiencing any relief or improvement in symptoms.
What are the symptoms of post-surgical pain?
Pain, including post-surgical pain, is usually classified as either acute or chronic. Acute pain typically starts suddenly and is short lived, whereas chronic pain lasts for longer than the expected healing time, and can last longer than three months. If you’re finding that your post-surgical pain has lasted longer than the normal healing time discussed with your surgeon or GP, then it’s worth speaking to your GP to investigate whether your pain is chronic, and how best to manage it.
Aside from experiencing chronic pain itself, it can have negative impacts on other areas of your life including:
- Your strength and fitness.
- Your ability to work or perform usual activities at home.
- Your mental health.
- Your ability to make and maintain social connections.
- Your sleep.
- Your concentration.
- Your relationship with family, friends, and workmates.
What are the traditional treatments for post-surgical pain?
When it comes to pain management, there are a range of traditional treatments available. These can include:
- Painkillers such as paracetamol
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Peripheral nerve block: which can be offered to provide pain relief following an operation on your arm or leg. It works by temporarily numbing your nerves to provide pain relief via a local anaesthetic injection near the major nerves in the affected area.
Additional lifestyle treatments for chronic pain can include:
- Physical therapies:such as heat and cold packs, massage, exercise, and hydrotherapy.
- Psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy.
- Relaxation techniques and meditation.
- Community support groups.
Medicinal cannabis and post-surgical pain
If you’ve exhausted other treatment options and haven’t experienced any relief or improvement in your post-surgical pain, it might be worth chatting to your doctor to see whether medicinal cannabis could be suitable for you. Eligibility is assessed on a case by case basis by your GP, and is only available if all other treatment options have been exhausted and if your GP thinks it is right for you.
We spoke to Dr James Stewart, one of Australia’s leading minds in cannabis medicine who provided a medical view about post surgical pain.
“During my basketball career, I had surgeries and they didn’t all go perfectly. The pain can make it hard to be a regular mum and play with my sons.“
“The operations I had after my traffic accident left me in a lot of pain. I find it very difficult to help my daughter because of this pain.