When a patient undergoes surgery, they are – technically – being injured. Even a minimally invasive procedure involves cutting through the skin. In some cases, where more extensive work is required, the damage can be far more significant.
While the outcome of a successful operation might justify all of this, it still means that patients must spend a little time after the operation taking it easy. The recovery process, in other words, is a vital component of all effective surgery.
What’s chronic pain post-surgery, and why could it be severe?
In some cases, however, the pain that follows surgery can go on for longer than it should. By some definitions, this means at least three months after the surgery – but the actual figure should vary depending on the nature of the operation.
This kind of pain is often broken down into four varieties. These are:
Neuropathic, which stems from the nervous system.
Nociceptive, which comes from the tissue.
Visceral, which comes from the organs.
Referred involves one part of the body causing pain in another.
As well as these, patients might also experience knock-on symptoms, like mood disorders and sleep disorders. The pain can sometimes become entrenched and persist even after the physiological causes disappear.
Steps to reduce pain
During your recovery, you should be steadily increasing your level of activity, by your surgeon’s advice and the signals being given to you by your body. Push yourself too far, and you risk a setback.
Keeping yourself mobile, in the long term, is often vital. This applies especially to the limbs. There are also pharmaceutical interventions, like opioids and antidepressants. The severity of your symptoms will inform your doctor’s methods. Be aware that some of the options come with severe side effects.
In some cases, the pain might be a product of negligence by the surgeon. The procedure itself might not have been performed to the required standard. If you suspect this, look for medical negligence solicitors who specialise in this field of law.
Finally, we should mention the importance of physiotherapy. This can make a big difference to the performance of everyday tasks. In most cases, successful physiotherapy relies on the performance of daily exercises and stretches.
We can access this kind of therapy through the NHS. It should, where necessary, be prescribed as part of the recovery process. However, you might feel that you haven’t gotten sufficient benefit from this particular component of the treatment – in which case, it might be a good idea to say so and to put yourself on a more extensive form of physical therapy.