While everyone recovers from surgery differently, most of our patients experience minimal pain after hernia surgery. The majority of people come off of prescription pain medications by the third day after surgery and just over half of all patients do not take prescription pain medications at all! It is encouraged to avoid prescription pain medication if possible, because these medications can have some unwanted side effects including constipation.
Most patients can take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead of the prescription medicine for pain after hernia surgery. Ibuprofen(Advil) or Naproxen (Aleve) can often be taken in addition to the Tylenol. Since most pain medicine can be taken every 8 hours, some people find it helpful to take Acetaminophen every 8 hours and Ibuprofen every 8 hours, but staggering these medictions by 4 hours, thus taking something for pain every 4 hours and avoiding prescription pain medication all together. For example, a patient might take Ibuprofen at 1:00 pm, 9:00pm and 5:00 am and Tylenol at 9:00 am, 5pm, and 1 am if needed.
Patients should consult their surgeon or primary care physician prior to taking over the counter medicine for pain after hernia surgery. Some patients will have contraindications to these over the counter medications. We will work with you to come up with an appropriate post-operative plan for pain after hernia surgery.
Ice is an appropriate adjunct to medication for pain after hernia surgery. It can help to reduce some of the swelling as well as decrease pain in the area. Make sure to ice for only 20 minutes at a time to avoid frostbite on your skin.