5 Post-op Pain Relief Tips

Texting and other techniques to reduce post-op pain.

Recovering from surgery is never fun. You might feel physical limitations—maybe you can’t walk, or exercise—or even drive. But, you can probably text!

A new study that followed patients undergoing minor surgical procedures revealed that texting during the surgery can help reduce the need for additional pain medications after surgery. The texting helped patients feel connected to others, and less isolated—which resulted in better spirits and a seemingly less painful recovery.

Previous research has found a number of other techniques may soothe pain during or after surgery, some of which we’re sharing below. So before you schedule that surgery—make sure your phone battery is charged, and that you’ve read through this list of 5 post-op pain relief techniques.

1. Music. A recent study found music therapy can be used to reduce pain after surgery. Music has been found to reduce stress in people, lowering their breathing and heart rates, reducing delirium after surgery, improving their stay at the hospital after surgery, and providing a healing environment.

2. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). A TENS system includes a small, battery-powered machine connected by wires to two electrodes. These electrodes are connected to your skin near the source of your pain, or at a pressure point. The TENS machine transmits low-level electrical charges into the part of the body that is experiencing pain. Research has shown TENS can be helpful in easing pain after surgery.

An acupuncture version of TENS, called percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (PENS), uses acupuncture needles instead of electrode pads.

3. Continuous Passive Motion (CPM). A machine moves your joint constantly in a mechanical splint, to prevent it from becoming stiff and to increase your range of motion after orthopedic surgery. It may be used in cases of cartilage damage, bacterial infection inside a joint, or a fracture around a joint after it has been fixed with internal devices. It is used within the first week after surgery, for about four to six hours a day.

4. Acupuncture. When acupuncture is combined with traditional pain-relief methods, it may be helpful for some types of chronic pain, such as low back pain, osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and aching muscle pain. Some studies suggest it may also help reduce pain after surgery.

5. Psychological methods. Relaxation techniques, guided imagery and medical hypnosis have been shown in studies to help improve the physical and emotional recoveries of surgery patients.


Updated on: 06/09/15