Pain Control After Trauma


Pain after a traumatic event is due to the bruising of muscles, fractures and the surgery to repair the injuries.

The goal of pain control is to lessen the pain, not take the pain away completely! With good pain management you should be able to move around in bed, participate in activity and rest, but you will not be pain free. 

Getting ahead of the pain means not waiting until your pain is severe before you take medication. If you wait until your pain is severe or increasing it will be more difficult to control. 

The pain should continue to lessen every day once you are discharged from hospital.

Managing your pain

Regular use of acetaminophen (Tylenol), at scheduled times, even when you are not in pain, for the first two (2) weeks is highly recommended. 

Additional anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or a narcotic (Dilaudid, Morphine) as needed are helpful in between the acetaminophen when you are having additional pain.

Using acetaminophen around the clock with additional pain meds in between when the pain worsens is a good pain control method. If you are discharged on a narcotic the goal is to no longer require that medication within two (2) weeks of being home. You should not require a refill of your narcotic once you are discharged.

Managing pain without medications

  1. Get enough sleep – adequate sleep improves your ability to cope with pain, speeds healing and can reduce pain.
  2. Increase physical activity slowly – what feels good when you are doing it, may not feel very good later. It is very easy to do too much, which increases your pain and makes it difficult to move forward with physical activity.
  3. Don’t sit too long in one position – sitting or lying in one place for too long can lead to more pain. Get up and walk every hour or two to prevent you from getting stiff.
  4. Reduce stress – stress is the enemy of good pain control.
  5. What would you do normally? – how would you control pain normally, try those techniques.

Benefits of pain management

When pain is controlled a person can:

  • Deep breath and cough
  • Mobilize (move in bed, walk)
  • Prevent complications (chest infection, blood clots)
  • Emotionally feel ready to participate in their care

Note: If you have any remaining narcotic that you no longer require, please discard the tablets properly by returning them to your pharmacy. Do not leave them laying around your home!

If you have any questions or concerns after discharge, please contact the Trauma Program:

LHSC - Victoria Hospital
Room E1-129
800 Commissioners Rd. East
London, Ontario N6A 5W9

Telephone: 519-667-6795

Fax: 519-667-6518