Should You Take Pain Medicine Regularly or Only if You Experience Severe Pain?

I have heard that taking pain medicine regularly instead of letting the pain get bad will help you heal. Is this true? If so how long should you continue on pain medicine?

Doctor Answers 17

Should You Take Pain Medicine Regularly or Only if You Experience Severe Pain

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Pain medication is prescribed just for that-PAIN.  It does nothing to help you heal.  If you are in pain, take the medication.  If not, then do not take it.

Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Pain medication and management should be discussed prior to surgery.

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Pain control is extremely important following cosmetic surgery.This is especially true when larger combination procedures are performed together.Under these circumstances, it’s essential that patients take their pain medications at regularly scheduled intervals.This approach helps avoid the break through pain which can occur when pain medications wear off.
Pain tolerance varies from patient to patient and, for this reason, needs to be individualized.With appropriate care, it can usually be managed without difficulty.In the vast majority of patients, narcotics are slowly tapered after 48 to 72 hours following surgery.In some cases, depending upon pain tolerance, patients may need to take narcotics for 7 to 10 days.Eventually, patients are switched to Tylenol.
If you’re considering cosmetic surgery, you should discuss this issue with your plastic surgeon.Your surgeon should be able to discuss the post-operative pain management following your surgical procedure.

Should You Take Pain Medicine Regularly or Only if You Experience Severe Pain?

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I feel the best way to address pain medications is to start on a regular cycle to prevent any severe pain.  It is pain control, as I do not promise that the medications will make you pain free.  I tell my patient to NOT wait until the pain is severe as it is too hard to catch up with pain meds and this can be dangerous.  Weaning off of the strong pain medications is excellent and the medications should be taken as the patient notices some changes or some increase in pain to avoid severe pain and use it for control.

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Mommy Makeover Pain Medicine should be taken as needed.

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Mommy Makeover patients have undergone extensive surgery and should medicate themselves as instructed for comfort. Every plastic surgeon has different preferences for pain management. Discuss your surgeon's pain management guidelines at you pre-surgical visit.  I strongly suggest to our patients that during the first few days after surgery, narcotic pain medication should be taken regularly and slowly discontinued as the patient's pain levels diminish.

There is little reason to be chasing your surgery pain with self-rationed narcotics. When post-surgical pain requires frequent narcotics with a mommy makeover, we note that our patient's should avoid constipation with a daily low dose laxative and plenty of fluids.

Lesser pain can be managed by the patient with non-narcotic pain medication as directed by their plastic surgeon.

Douglas J. Raskin, MD
Colorado Springs Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Taking pain medicine after surgery

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I would recommend following the instructions on the medicine bottle to avoid any potential problems associated with the pain pills.

Pain meds

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I tell patients to take it as prescribed for pain but only if they really need it, because the meds can cause constipation.  Otherwise stick with Tylenol.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

After Surgery - Should You Take Pain Medicine Regularly or Only if You Experience Severe Pain?

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Regarding: "Should You Take Pain Medicine Regularly or Only if You Experience Severe Pain?
I have heard that taking pain medicine regularly instead of letting the pain get bad will help you heal. Is this true? If so how long should you continue on pain medicine

Pain medications, like all medications, can help you and can seriously hurt or even kill you. Taking medications ALWAYS involves risks. While the medicine can alleviate pain , reduce blood pressure, thin blood etc - it can also cause serious complications.

As a result, AFTER SURGERY pain medications should ONLY be taken when the pain becomes serious. Taking pain pills regardless of pain not only does NOT promote healing but commonly cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation and light handedness. They also impair judgment and suppress breathing which may result in death.

Use pain pills as little as possible and only when needed.

Dr. Peter Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

The First 24 to 48 Hours Following Your Mommy Makeover

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The amount of pain medication a patient should take post-operatively will vary depending on the type of surgery that has been performed. In the first 24 to 48 hours following a procedure, the average patient may require pain medication every 4 to 6 hours. During this early pain period it is important for a patient to have sufficient pain control in order that they can take deep breaths and walk around. If a patient waits until pain is severe, then she may require a larger dose of pain medication to achieve relief. Patients who try to avoid taking pain medication may inadvertently prolong their recovery by compromising their ability to breath and walk. After 48 hours, post-op swelling decreases and thus the pain requirement decreases. At this stage, I encourage my patients to try to lower their pain medication or to stretch out the interval of pain medication. It is important to keep in mind that pain medication does cause constipation which can create its own misery, thus tapering the pain medication after 48 hours reduces these unwanted side effects.

Carlin Vickery, MD (retired)
New York Plastic Surgeon

Taking pain medications following surgery.

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Pain medication should be taken during the initial post operative period on a regular basis if you are experiencing pain. This period varies by individual, but in the case of a Mommy Makeover in which several procedures are performed is usually 7-10 days. During this period it is usually better to take the medication on a regular basis to keep the pain well  controlled rather than wait until the pain is very severe.  It is harder to get pain relief when your pain is very severe than when it is only moderate. However, when your pain subsides you should taper the medications and stop them as soon as you no longer need them trying alternate forms of medications such as Aleve or Tylenol which have less side effects.

Paul Vitenas, Jr., MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 118 reviews

Pain medicine should be taken only when needed after a mommy makeover operation.

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Patients should take pain medication only when needed.  Narcotics have some unwanted side effects that can be avoided of they are not taken to combat pain.  This includes itching, dysphoria, nausea, and constipation.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.