Have questions or need help? Call Us Now

Treating Nerve Pain After Surgery

As with all medical procedures, every patient will experience a different outcome post surgery. Since most surgical procedures require surgeons to make an incision through the skin, nerve pain is common post surgery and most patients will experience some type of post-surgical pain for at least 2-3 months following their operation. Some patients, however, will experience chronic post-surgical pain that will make daily activities like walking and even breathing, difficult. 

What Causes Pain After Surgery? 

Finding the root cause of pain after surgery may be complicated as different surgeries can cause a variety of complications for patients. For some patients, post-surgical pain is caused by damaged nerves, scar tissue, or an infection. Surgery can also complicate recovery for patients with pre-existing conditions like fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, or peripheral neuropathies. Older patients may experience a longer or more painful recovery due to slower healing times. Patients who experience anxiety may have a more difficult recovery journey, as anxiety is closely related to post-surgical pain and overall discomfort. Learning how to manage pain and being comfortable during the healing process is imperative for a quick recovery, and may even reduce the risk of developing additional complications. 

Post-surgical Pain Management

There are a few common symptoms after surgery: patients will often feel muscle soreness, especially in their neck, shoulders, or back, and they may also feel scratchiness or soreness in their throat. The most noticeable pain will come during movement: sitting, walking, or even coughing will be uncomfortable at or around the incision. 

During recovery, it is crucial for patients to communicate their pain levels to their care team. Communicating pain levels provide insight to the medical staff on whether or not the treatment is effective, and if any changes to that treatment need to be made. 

Coping with Pain After Surgery

There are many medical treatments to help alleviate nerve pain after surgery, but some patients who experience mental stress and worry will benefit from mindful coping mechanisms to help them feel at ease with their situation:

  • Being intentional about self-care and doing what feels good can help patients become at peace with their body. This may look like a warm bath, listening to classical music, drinking tea, or simply watching a favorite movie. 
  • Keeping a pain journal helps identify times or activities that cause discomfort. Pain journals can also assist doctors and nurses in understanding the patterns of pain. 
  • Keeping a gratitude journal can help patients redirect their focus from pain to the little things that they are thankful for. 
  • Meditation or guided imagery can help patients create an environment of calm. Meditation and breathing exercises may also help identify tension in the body, and encourage patients to let that tension go. 
  • Cold and heat therapy can become a comforting habit to alleviate pain, especially pain around the neck, back, and joints. 
  • Some patients may also find solace in sharing their feelings with others. A phone call to a friend or attending a group therapy session could help calm some of the worry and anxiety. 

Undergoing any type of surgical procedure can be daunting, but knowing the journey post-surgery can help ensure a successful recovery. Request an appointment with one of our physicians today to find relief.