Often after children have surgery, they have problems with pain. Luckily, there are ways to help ease this type of pain. Read on to find out how your child's pain from surgery can be managed.
There are a wide variety of pain medicines that can help decrease pain after surgery. The decision about which one to use will depend on your child's age and the severity and type of pain he has.
Pain medicine is usually given to a child in a way that does not hurt. Most pain medicines are given in pill or liquid form or put into a vein through a small tube (IV). Medicines should be given regularly so pain is controlled. It's harder to ease pain once it gets worse.
There are a variety of pain medicines used to treat pain, including
Non-opioids like acetaminophen and ibuprofen (Tylenol is one brand of acetaminophen. Advil and Motrin are brands of ibuprofen.)
Opioids like codeine and morphine
Topical and local anesthetics, such as lidocaine, and "numbing" creams
Nerve blocks in which numbing medicines are injected into certain nerves in the body
Epidural or caudal blocks in which numbing medicines are injected into the space beneath the spine to decrease pain in central areas of the body (chest, stomach, both legs)
In some cases, when children are in the hospital they can use a machine called a patient-controlled analgesia device. This is an easy-to-use device that allows the child to decide when he needs more medicine. If your child is in pain, he simply pushes the button and more medicine is given through the IV. There are controls on the pump to prevent your child from getting too much medicine.
Some parents fear their child will become addicted to pain medicines. However, this is very rare. All patients, including children, deserve to have as little pain as possible.
When used properly, pain medicines are very safe and are an important part of your child's medical treatment.
Other ways to help manage pain after surgery
In addition to pain medicines, there are other ways to help ease your child's pain after surgery.
Complementary and alternative medicine treatments such as acupuncture, massage, and biofeedback may help ease pain. Be sure to talk with your child's doctor before starting any alternative treatments for your child, to make sure they do not interfere with her other treatments.
Physical therapy exercises and water therapy may help relax the body and ease pain.
Distraction with music, video games, or reading can help to minimize pain.
Note: Products are mentioned for informational purposes only and do not imply an endorsement by the American Academy of Pediatrics.