Pain Control for Surgery

Pain Control After Surgery

Along with hospitals across the country, we are dealing with shortages of many intravenous (IV) opioid medicines used to treat pain. These shortages are related to medicine production. At UVA, we are committed to delivering safe, quality care. We have been treating patients’ pain with good results for many years. This information is about how we will keep you comfortable during and after your surgical procedure.

It is important to know what to expect before you come for surgery. Some pain after surgery is normal. Our goal is to help you move, breathe, eat a normal diet and sleep to help you recover sooner. We will ask you regularly about any pain or other concerns so we can address them.

A team of experts will decide on a blend of different medicines for your pain needs. They may include medicines that numb the site, prevent nerve pain or are long- acting. Based on your specific history, you will only receive medications that your doctor determines are safe. It will likely be a combination of 4 medicines:

  • acetaminophen  (Tylenol®),
  • a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) (Ibuprofen®, Motrin®)
  • drugs to prevent nerve pain (gabapentinoids)
  • and an oral opioid medicine like morphine.

These medicines may be given before surgery, in the operating room and after surgery. They may be different than those you have gotten in the past. Research shows that giving medicines early and keeping pain under control reduces the need for stronger pain medicines later. We also offer non-medicine treatments like ice or heat, distraction and relaxation techniques.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

For more information about pain and treatment options please visit: medlineplus.gov/pain.html