| acute pain management

Avoiding Chronification of Pain

Postoperative Pain

In a narrative review published in Cureus, researchers examined acute pain, which is normal postsurgery, and its potential transition to chronic pain. Postsurgery rates of persistent/subacute pain (lasting over a month) range from 10% to 50%; chronic pain (lasting more than 3 months) is seen in 2% to 14% of patients. What is needed to avoid that chronification? Awareness of risk factors for postsurgery chronic pain, such as the type of surgery, how long it takes, anesthetic/analgesia used, and of course the patient and her/his age, comorbidities or underlying disease, and state of mind. After surgery? Fast and effective treatment.

Multimodal analgesia regimens have potential. While efficacious, they have fewer side effects and may reduce use of opioids. A ladder approach has shown success as well. Pain relief is offered based on intensity, and as the patient heals, medication is decreased. The review concludes that although chronic pain as a result of surgery is prevalent, it is very likely preventable by

  • Minimizing surgical trauma
  • Awareness of the potential chronification
  • Utilizing multimodal analgesia
  • Transitioning from IV to oral analgesia as soon as possible
  • Educating practitioners and patients


Read the journal article.