Pain after surgery is called acute pain. While it can cause considerable discomfort, acute pain is quite normal and usually doesn’t last very long — one to three days is a common duration. The goal of pain management is to control a patients’ pain enough to allow for activities and actions required for healing: walking, eating, breathing deeply, and sleeping. Learn more about the differences between opioid and non-opioid pain management.
Opioids are strong pain medications that are commonly prescribed to patients for acute pain management after surgery and, sometimes, dental procedures. These medications are intended to help relieve the most severe pain that usually lasts one to three days after surgery. Nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, dizziness, and constipation are potential immediate side effects — and it’s essential to follow safe-use guidelines to manage acute pain.
Though opioids may be prescribed to manage acute pain after surgery, it can likely be well controlled with a schedule of over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and ibuprofen (Motrin® or Advil®) for the first three days after your procedure. However, medication is just one part of a pain-management plan. Medical professionals may suggest additional non-pharmaceutical interventions to alleviate discomfort and speed healing.
Featured Related Resources
A webpage resource outlining a multimodal approach to managing postoperative pain through the use of non-opioid medications.