Postoperative Pain Assessment

Pain is a very unpleasant experience and can be classified into two main categories, viz., chronic and acute. Chronic pains last for a very long time while acute pains do not last long and heal within a short time.

Postoperative pain assessment and management is a tough task to deal with. We never know, if the pains developed would be chronic or acute.

Effects of Postoperative Pain: Pain is influenced by both the pathology and the psychology of a person. Postoperative pain management is a very complex task and cannot be dealt with very easily. Even the measures associated with postoperative pain treatment are limited.

Let us look at the effects of postoperative pain.

All the organ systems are known to be affected by postoperative pain. The following are a few major systems that are likely to be affected:

Musculoskeletol System: A lot of stress would be laid on your muscles, thus reducing your mobility and causing a lot of pressure on your joints.

Gastrointestinal System: Constipation is reduced and the gut functions are severely affected.

Cardiovascular System: Heart blocks and oxygen pumping problems are quiet evident.

Respiratory System: Respiratory system can be severely affected leading to coughs and hypoxaemia (decrease of oxygen pressure in blood).

Postoperative Pain Assessment: Pain assessment is subject to experience. Pure observing of pain is very unreliable and cannot be used as data for treatment. Pain can be assessed either by using scales like

  • Visual Analogue
  • Verbal Numerical
  • Categorical Rating

Upon assessing pain using above scales both pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods could be prescribed for treatment. But, it would be difficult to predict which method would be more beneficial. It would vary from person to person.

Methods of Treatment: Let us discuss about the pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments.

Non -pharmacological treatment for relieving pain would include treatments like:

  • Relaxation
  • Preoperative case study
  • Hypnosis
  • Cold or heat therapy

Pharmacological pain relievers would include:

  • Analgesics like paracetamol
  • Use of non-steroidal agents
  • Use of opiate drugs like morphine or diamorphine

Proper postoperative pain assessment and pain relieving measures are still inadequate and research is still ongoing to predict the possible side-effects related to operative measures.

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