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Pain is your body's way of telling you something is wrong. It is normal to expect a certain amount of pain following surgery; however, if pain does not subside with pain medication, there may be a more serious problem.
Your physicians and nurses will ask about your pain because they want you to be comfortable. It is important that they be alerted if their efforts to control your pain are not effective.
With today's new and improved pain medications, there is no reason for anyone to tolerate severe pain. By effectively treating pain, you will heal faster, have fewer complications following surgery, and be able to go home and resume normal activities sooner.
The importance of discussing pain control before your surgery
Discuss pain control options with your physician before you have surgery. Talk about pain control methods that have worked well, or not worked well for you in the past. Also, discuss the following with your physician:
Concerns you have about medications
Medications that have not worked well for you
Allergies you have to any medications or drugs
Side effects of pain medications that might occur
Prescription and over-the-counter medications you take for other conditions
The best way of administering pain medication for you
Pain medications are given in one of the following ways:
Upon request - You can ask the nurse for pain medicine as you need it.
Pain pills or shots given at set times - Instead of waiting until you experience pain, you are given pain medicine at certain, regular times throughout the day to keep the pain under control.
Patient controlled analgesia (called PCA) You control the administration of the pain medicine by pressing a button to inject medicine through an intravenous tube in the vein.
Patient controlled epidural analgesia (called PCEA) This type of administration provides continuous pain relief. A tube is inserted in the spine, and when you press a button, the pain medicine goes into an epidural tube, which is inserted in the back.
Your physicians and nurses will want to know how your pain medicine is working and whether or not you are still experiencing pain. The physician will change the medicine, and/or dosage, if necessary.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.