Pain after surgery is unavoidable. But, it doesn’t have to be unbearable with the help of your doctors, family, and friends. Recovery after surgery can be quick and easy. Here are ten tips that could help you recover fast and comfortable.
Stop Searching Online and Talk to Your Doctor
Post-surgery complications are bound to happen. Your doctor will give you aftercare instructions on preventing and avoiding these complications. Sometimes, patients get stubborn and intentionally ignore their doctor’s orders. They follow only what’s convenient or what makes sense to them. There are times patients Google their complications and use DIY remedies found online.
Your doctor gave you these instructions for an excellent reason. Your doctors and surgeons know your medical history and understand what’s best for you. They see the procedure done to you and know how to improve your recovery time.
Suppose you think your doctor is just silly telling you to avoid baths even after a week of your operation. In that case, it might be better if you ask your doctor why, rather than asking Dr. Google for medical tips about your situation.
Mind Your Medication
Some medications that are usually safe to take can be harmful when taken after a surgery. These drugs can cause excessive bleeding. Avoid taking these meds unless your doctor prescribes them:
Some of these anti-inflammatory meds are blood thinners and can cause bleeding in your incision.
Over-the-counter herbal supplements, ginger, garlic, and fish oil, can also cause bleeding. Ask your doctor what can and cannot be taken.
Surgery and smoking? It doesn’t mix well.
Smoking before and after surgery can significantly affect your recovery time. Nicotine slows down your body’s healing rate. It narrows your small blood vessels, making it hard for oxygen and nutrients to reach the wounds. Smoking increases infection risk and distorts your body’s immune system response.
If you smoke and plan to get a surgical procedure, you should stop for 4 weeks before going under the knife. After surgery, you should refrain from smoking for another 4 weeks. Even a single cigarette can cause harmful effects and delays in your recovery.
Move Around A Little
It is essential to rest your whole body for a few days after an operation. But it doesn’t mean you’ll have to be in bed and do nothing for the duration of your recovery. It will do you more harm than good if you stay stuck in bed doing nothing.
After a few days, you should try to walk and move around. Recovering patients are encouraged to walk to get the blood flowing. Walking can also help prevent blood clots, muscle weakness, stiffness, and pain. Walking can prevent severe conditions like Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and pneumonia.
It’s OK to Ask for Help
After surgery, you would need help. The next few days after your surgery will be hard for you. The number of activities you can do is limited. That’s why you should ask for help from your family, friends, or even hired help.
After surgery, your doctor may order you to stay in bed. You may need help getting water and food, taking care of the kids, or cleaning yourself. Let others help you while you focus on healing your wounds.
You could prepare things in advance and make it easier for you. An example is moving your bed downstairs or near the bathroom or preparing food for the whole week. This can be done weeks before your surgery.
Don’t Miss Your Follow-up
Most patients don’t follow their follow-up schedule because they feel good already. They think follow-ups are a waste of time and money because they feel fine and there are no more visible wounds. While feeling and looking good is OK, doctors have studied for years to spot complications. They developed an eye for seeing things that we could and would miss.
Doctors can also order a routine test to confirm possible infections and problems. Doctors can also adjust the dosage of your meds depending on how fast you’re recovering. They can give you tips and advice on how to manage your wounds. So don’t miss or skip your follow-ups.
Recovering from an operation can affect your appetite. There are times that you will be nauseous, don’t have an appetite, constipated, or too tired to eat or drink.
Eating the proper foods and staying hydrated can help lessen the recovery time. A nutritious diet can promote healing and reduce complications. A high-calorie diet can help promote faster healing.
Prepare healthy and balanced meals ahead, so you don’t have to worry about them when you’re resting.
Stay away from the Sun
Avoid exposing your wound to the sun and harmful UV rays. Exposure to the sun can cause damage, scars, or dryness to your wounds. If you can’t avoid it, wear the appropriate protection for your skin. Put sunblock, wear hats, and long clothing to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. Sunburn can darken a healing scar and make it more prominent.
Take Care of Your Wounds
Taking care of your wounds after surgery is very important. It is easy for a surgical wound to get infected when it’s not taken care of. An infected wound can result in a nasty scar, and you wouldn’t want that. Right?
See if your wounds have visible signs of infections like:
- Swelling and redness
- Yellow or green discharge
- Pain around the wound
To avoid infections, ask your doctor how to clean your wounds correctly. Do not pick, scrub, or rub your wounds. Do not use lotions, ointments, or creams that your doctor does not prescribe. Do not expose your wounds to sunlight and water. Avoid taking a bath until your doctor gives you a signal.
If there’s a clear sign of infection, go to your doctor immediately. They will know the best way to manage the infection.
Manage your pain
Managing your pain after surgery will help with your recovery. It can reduce complication risks like blood clots and pneumonia. With the right pain management plan, recovery would be quick and easy.
You should expect to be in pain after a few days out of surgery. Try to get ahead of the pain. You could take pain meds long before the pain gets bad. Meds take time before it gets absorbed by the body. So do an around-the-clock routine for your pain.
Sleep is also a great way to manage pain. Sleeping can increase your healing rate. It can also reduce unnecessary movements that could make the pain worse.
Moving around can help with your blood circulation and reduce blood clots’ risk.