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For Patients & Families

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A Patient-Centered Approach to Preventing Chronic Pain after Surgery

The TPS has developed an integrated approach to pain care that supports the medical, physical, and psychological needs of patients.  

 

Managing Pain after Surgery

It is normal to experience pain after surgery.

 

The pain that you experience after a surgical procedure is largely due to inflammation in the part of the body where surgery was performed.

 

This type of pain is commonly referred to as acute post-surgical pain and last for a short period of time, usually less than three months.

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Effective pain management is a key part of your post-surgery care plan. It is important to consult with your doctor who will discuss the best pain management options for you. Some of the most common acute post-surgical pain management techniques include:

  • Medication: To reduce post-surgical inflammation, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication. Depending on your pain severity, you may also be prescribed pain medications.

 

  • Gentle exercise and Physiotherapy: The experience of pain after surgery may lead to avoiding any kind of movement. However, it’s important to continue to move and engage in gentle exercise after surgery. Regular movement, exercise, and physiotherapy can help boost your strength and increase mobility after surgery and help in managing your pain.

 

  • Massage Therapy and Acupuncture: Holistic treatments such as Massage Therapy and Acupuncture can help to reduce the intensity and severity of your pain following surgery.

When Pain becomes Chronic after Surgery

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Some patients experience pain for a longer period of time after surgery, more than three months. In this case, patients may have chronic post-surgical pain.

The goal of the Transitional Pain Service (TPS) is to prevent pain from becoming chronic in the transitional period after surgery.

 

Our team relies on a proven multidisciplinary treatment approach that addresses the medical, psychological, and physical components of pain management.

An Integrated Chronic Pain Care Model

It is now well-accepted that the effective treatment of chronic post-surgical pain goes beyond using medications.

Clinical studies show that an integrated approach to patient care is the best way to relieve pain-related suffering and disability by:

  • helping to increase movement & physical functioning,

  • providing effective pain coping and control strategies, and

  • addressing concerns related to anxiety and depression

Pain care involves medicine, mind, and movement integrated together

Please note that the contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider for questions regarding a medical condition.

 
 
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  • The TPS team works with patients who are preparing for surgery to identify if they may be at risk of developing chronic post-surgical pain.

 

  • Our team follows patients before and after surgery to provide care plans and strategies to help manage pain and help in the transition from hospital to home.

  • The TPS team also works with patients who take high dose opioids and need help with medication management and opioid weaning.

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  • Patients are followed in the outpatient clinic by medical staff and may be referred to see a psychologist and/or a physiotherapist to help increase functioning, optimize pain control, and receive support.

  • Patients may take an active role in their pain management and keep track and communicate their progress to their health care team using a specialized digital pain care app called Manage My Pain.

  • Patients transition to their primary care physician (family doctor) after 6 weeks to 6 months.

 
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Who is at Risk of Developing Chronic Pain after Surgery?

Some patients may have an increased risk of developing chronic pain after surgery.

Speak to your doctor if:

  • you are struggling with pain management

  • you have a history of depression and/or anxiety

  • you have a history of substance dependency or addiction

  • you have a history of chronic pain

  • you have a history of use of opioid medication

Performing Surgery

Women, younger patients, and patients with psychological distress and poor social support are at a greater risk of developing chronic pain after surgery. Some surgical procedures also carry a greater risk of chronic post-surgical pain.

 

Important to Note: Many patients who have these risk factors don't develop chronic pain after surgery. The goal of the TPS is to prevent pain from becoming chronic in patients with increased risk.

 

Please consult with your doctor to determine if you should be referred to the TPS. 

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