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Postoperative Pain Control


There are several ways to reduce pain without using medications:

  • If you had surgery on your hand or wrist, keep your hand elevated above the level of your heart. This reduces swelling and prevents throbbing pain. When you sleep, prop your hand up on multiple pillows or buy a 'hand elevation pillow' from your local health supply store or 

  • Ice can be applied to the affected area, but be sure to keep any surgical dressings dry.

  • Rest the affected area. Although it is important to move around after your surgery, you also must get sufficient rest for healing. Let pain be your guide.


Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) work well to control your pain. They can be taken at the same time as they work together. You do not need a prescription.


Recommended dosing for a healthy adult:

  • Acetaminophen 500–650mg by mouth, every 4-6 hours as needed and 

  • Ibuprofen 400mg by mouth, every 6 hours as needed 


**Do not take more than 4 grams of acetaminophen daily.


**If you have liver or kidney problems, please ask Dr. Power before taking these medications.​​


Depending on the type of surgery you had, you may need an additional opioid pain medication to control your pain.


Dr. Power will prescribe these if needed. Take them as directed by the pharmacist.


Opioid pain medications can be addictive, so you should stop taking them as soon as possible. 


Examples include: Tramadol (Tramacet®), Codeine (Tylenol #3®, Endocet®), Oxycodone (Percocet®), Hydromorphone (Dilaudid®)


Your pain medication is intended for use by you only.

Do not share with family or friends and do not keep your extra pain medication for future use. It may be stolen or taken inappropriately by others.


Leftover pain medication can be disposed by one of the following means:

  • Return to your pharmacy

  • Return to your local police station

  • Mix in a bag with dish soap or coffee grounds and dispose in the garbage

Do not flush leftover medications down the toilet.


Opioid pain medications can cause constipation. You should drink plenty of water and eat lots of fibre while taking these medications.


You may take an over-the-counter laxative if needed.​


Do not drive or drink alcohol while taking pain medication as it can make you drowsy and impair your judgment.

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