If you had surgery and are experiencing pain that lasts six months or longer after the procedure, it is considered chronic pain and is not part of the normal healing process. Chronic pain after surgery can be the result of an injury or damage to a nerve. You do not need to suffer in discomfort when there are treatments available that can help get rid of your pain. Dr. Williams has helped many patients who suffered surgical nerve injuries find relief from chronic post-operative pain, and he can help you overcome chronic pain as well.
Risk Factors for Chronic Post-Operative Pain
Having pain after surgery is common as one heals, but pain that persists for more than six months is not considered normal. Studies show that 10 to 50 percent of patients experience chronic pain after surgery and that pain becomes severe in 10 percent of those patients. Chronic post-operative pain can be the result of a complicated or long surgery, or there can be other factors that can put you at an increased risk, such as:
- Previous nerve pain issues
- Advanced age
- Being female
- Psychological factors
- Type of surgery
Dr. Williams can evaluate you for your pain and determine what type of pain you are experiencing and what is causing it. A common type of post-op chronic pain is damaged nerve tissue from a procedure such as ankle surgery. When chronic pain is due to damaged or injured nerve tissue from ankle surgery, it can cause intense pain when coming into contact with objects such as a bedsheet. In the case of chronic pain after ankle surgery, pain may occur in the scar or surrounding area and also cause numbness and burning. For a complete list, get your free copy of our guide, Chronic Pain After Ankle Surgery, on our website.
Coping and Treating Chronic Pain After Surgery
It can be difficult to cope with chronic post-operative pain. Not only is it uncomfortable physically, but it can be stressful mentally. Many people think that they need to adjust their lifestyle and learn to live with the pain. But that is not true. Dr. Williams offers a variety of options to help reduce or relieve chronic pain so you can return to the life you once enjoyed.
If you are living with chronic pain after surgery, there are several coping strategies you can try before consulting with your doctor, such as:
- Pain journal. Keeping a pain journal can help document your pain to share with your doctor. You record your pain patterns and anything that triggers pain in your daily activities.
- Relaxation. Relaxation can help reduce the stress that can worsen your pain.
- Support. Seek the support of those closest to you. Sharing your feelings and pain can help those around you understand what you are going through. They may be able to help with activities or duties that you are unable to do because of the pain.
Consulting with a nerve pain specialist such as Dr. Williams can help find the underlying cause of your pain and create a plan to treat and manage the pain. Conservative methods are often used first for chronic pain. These may include a combination of the following:
- Anti-inflammatory medications to manage mild to moderate pain
- Opioid pain medication to treat severe pain
- Anticonvulsant medication to help with pain caused by neuralgia
- Physical therapy to help with healing
- Prescription nerve-blocking medication
In severe cases, revision surgery may be needed to resolve issues causing the pain. Chronic pain may be due to a peripheral nerve issue and may be the underlying reason for the pain.
Contact a Post Surgical Pain Specialist Today!
If you are experiencing chronic pain after surgery or have questions about treatment options to relieve chronic pain, contact Dr. Williams for a consultation. Dr. Williams can design a treatment plan to fit your specific needs so you can get back to enjoying your daily activities. To schedule an appointment in the Baltimore office, contact us at (410) 709-3868 or fill out our contact form online.