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Why You May Feel Some Discomfort After Surgery




Surgeons can do some wonderful, even miraculous things that weren’t possible even a few years ago. Unfortunately, they can’t completely eliminate the discomfort you’re likely to feel after your operation.

Your body, after all, doesn’t know the difference between the surgeon’s scalpel and an accidental or malicious intrusion into your flesh. The combined impact to your body from the surgery itself, from your body’s reaction to it, and from related factors, is naturally going to have some residual, but typically temporary, effects.


Disorientation Upon Waking Up

Confusion, as well as physical sensations like chills and itching after coming out of general anesthesia are common, but they tend to soon go away.


Queasiness, Nausea and Vomiting

These also tend to be initial side effects of general anesthesia. Post-op patients also frequently report constipation and gas. Medications can be taken to help counter stomach upset.


Sore Throat or Difficulty Breathing

The breathing tube put down one’s throat during general anesthesia can result in some pain or irritation afterward. Also, your doctor may give you breathing exercises to help your lungs recover.



Even though you were lying still the whole time, the various types of impact from surgery can take a lot out of you. But if you follow your post-operation instructions, your energy should return day by day.



Dehydration is not uncommon after surgery. Keep a glass of water nearby, but only drink small amounts at a time. Keep sugary drinks to a minimum.


Back Discomfort

Being positioned a certain way on the surgical table, especially for long procedures, can mean some back pain, stiffness or discomfort after surgery.


Swelling, Soreness and Pain at the Surgical Site

The impact of the surgical procedure, the closing, and any pressure applied to tissue or organs can cause residual pain or discomfort.


Restlessness and Sleeplessness

The nights following surgery can be uncomfortable, and the recent impact to your body may temporarily throw off your normal sleep patterns.



Although your surgical team followed protocols to reduce the risk of infection during surgery, bacteria can sometimes still sneak in and spread. If you suspect this is the case, contact your physician for an antibiotic prescription.


Severe Reactions to Anesthesia

Although general anesthesia is safer than it once was, patients are at greater risk for anesthesia-related problems if they have a history of heart disease, lung disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and stroke.


Impact Factors

Generally, the longer the procedure, the greater the post-surgical discomfort. Women tend to be more susceptible than men, and older patients more than younger ones. Elective procedures tend to result in more postoperative discomfort than medically necessary ones.


Would you like to talk with a physician about your disomfort after surgery?

Call Dr. Windsor’s treatment clinic at 678-664-4783, or click to learn more about his practice.


This content is offered for informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute medical advice.


Robert E. Windsor, MD About the Author: Robert E. Windsor, MD In addition to being known for treatment, training and publishing in the area of pain management, Dr. Windsor has extensive experience in orthopedics, neurology, and interventional orthopedics. He has also been board certified in physical medicine, electrodiagnostic medicine, pain medicine, pain management, anti-aging, and regenerative medicine.

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