PLEASE NOTE: All medications can have side effects. Please use only as directed. Incorrect use could be harmful. Consult your health care practitioner if pain or symptoms persist.
Adequate pain control plays an important role in maximising function when you have a painful hand condition or injury. We strive to manage your pain using combinations of splinting, activity modification, local anaesthetic, oral medications and non-medication techniques. Some hand and wrist surgeries are sufficiently painful that we recommend an overnight stay in hospital as a routine in order to manage your pain optimally. Most hand and wrist surgeries are suitable to be performed as day-case operations, using a combination of local anaesthetic (administered at the time of surgery) and oral medications (which you take at home) to manage your pain.
Paracetamol is a very valuable and effective pain medication. Some people mistakenly think that because paracetamol is available over the counter that it is not very effective. However, taking regular paracetamol (which means 2 tablets four times a day for most adults) will provide a reduction in your pain, even if you still need to take stronger pain killers. By taking regular paracetamol you will reduce your need to take stronger pain killers, which will reduce the side effects of nausea, constipation and confusion that are common with strong opiate pain killers.
For more information about paracetamol please follow this link to the National Prescribing Service website.
Ibuprofen is a medication from the family of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). Aspirin, naproxen and diclofenac are other NSAIDs that you may have heard of. Ibuprofen can be purchased over the counter from supermarkets and pharmacies. The usual adult dose is 200-400mg three times daily.
Ibuprofen can have side effects including irritation of the stomach lining and stomach ulcers. For this reason it is recommended that ibuprofen be taken with food. Ibuprofen can lead to an exacerbation of asthma in some individuals. Ibuprofen should not be taken by pregnant women. For more detailed information please speak with your doctor or pharmacist, and refer to the information available from the National Prescribing Service website.
For post operative pain I commonly recommend taking ibuprofen in addition to paracetamol. The combination of paracetamol and ibuprofen will often be sufficient to manage moderate pain. In many instances if you take regular paracetamol and ibuprofen you will not need to take stronger pain killers like codeine, tramadol and oxycodone – so you will be able to avoid the side effects of nausea, constipation and confusion that are common with strong opiate pain killers.
Ibuprofen is available in a topical gel form. This is not suitable for immediate post operative use but may be suitable in other circumstances – discuss with your doctor or pharmacist if you would like to consider this treatment.