Managing Post-Op Pain at Home: Medicines
Pain after an operation (post-op pain) is common and expected. These guidelines can help you stay as comfortable as possible.
Taking pain medicines
- Take medicines on time. Do not take more than prescribed.
- Take only the medicines that your healthcare provider tells you to take.
- Take pain medicines with some food to avoid an upset stomach.
- Don't drink alcohol while using pain medicines.
Types of pain medicines
- Over-the-counter (such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen) or prescription
- All relieve mild to moderate pain and some reduce swelling
- Possible side effects include stomach upset and bleeding, high doses may cause kidney or liver problems
- Check with your doctor before taking over-the-counter pain medicines in addition to your prescribed pain medicine
- Always a prescription
- Relieve moderate to severe pain
- Possible side effects include stomach upset, nausea, and itching
- May cause constipation (to help prevent this, eat high-fiber foods and drink plenty of water)
- Your doctor may recommend a stool softener
When to seek medical care
Call your doctor or seek immediate attention if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lasting constipation, or stomach cramps
- Breathing problems or a fast heart rate
- Feeling very tired, sluggish, or dizzy
- Skin rash