Post surgical pain refers to a pain that started at least 3 months after your surgery, once surgical causes have been excluded. It can be the new pain that came on after a routine operation such as a hernia or a knee replacement.
You’re not alone because post-operative pain and what we call post surgical neuropathic pain happens in one out of five patients who undergo any form of surgery. Post-operative neuropathic pain can often be a challenge to diagnose and treat and then a challenge to manage.
It’s important that a pain consultant is often involved early on in the care of this condition to get the best outcomes for you.
What is the pain consultant going to do?
You will usually have been referred back to your surgeon to exclude any ongoing surgical causes of the pain. Once this has been done, and if the pain is still bothersome, then a pain consultant can help.
If it is a post-operative nerve pain it is quite complex as there are many factors that can lead to this. Sometimes it’s possible to predict who can be having this pain so it is important to have a thorough evaluation and a proper treatment strategy that involves the whole person approach.
We are able to bring mechanism-based strategies and we can think of nerve blocks or electrical interference with the nerves that are sensitized so we can think of spinal cord stimulation, pulse radio frequency. These are options that could be considered and often it’s understood that psychological mechanisms or even stress can make such symptoms a lot worse and therefore we have access to physiotherapists and psychologists who can help us in managing and getting a better outcome.