How To Prevent Painful Swelling After Surgery

If you’ve ever gone through surgery, you know the initial days after can be extremely uncomfortable! Why? Swelling occurs as a part of your body’s natural healing response. As a result, this often leads to pain and discomfort as you count down the days until you’re back to normal. Fortunately for you, I’m going to review how to prevent painful swelling after surgery.

Initial swelling

In almost every case of surgery, you’re likely to have at least some swelling. The reason it occurs is that tissues in your body are torn apart during surgery. This causes a large amount of blood to be redirected to the affected area. As a result, extra nutrients and chemicals are released into your blood to help the healing process and reduce any chances of infection. This all occurs naturally in the body and is an important process for proper healing.

Surgery can lead to a lot of swelling and inflammation

How to prevent painful swelling

Unfortunately, there are times when your body produces too much of an inflammatory response. In this case, it’s important to know how to manage swelling so that too much blood doesn’t rush to the affected area. If it does, it can actually interfere with healing, meaning you could endure more pain than necessary. To help prevent painful swelling after surgery, I’ve put together a few tips for you to consider.

1) Apply ice to the area

This is one of the best ways to naturally manage inflammation. In fact, the cold temperature of ice shrinks your blood vessels, reducing the amount of blood that is transferred to the affected area dramatically. It also numbs the pain that you might feel by cooling the area it’s applied to.

Unfortunately, ice is only a temporary fix. Once you remove it, your blood vessels will expand and return to normal functioning.

2) Rest as much as possible

Everyone loves to sleep, right? Embrace this time and rest as much as possible!

If you can’t afford to rest, try not to be too active in the first couple of weeks after surgery. Doing so can cause unnecessary stress on your muscles. If you engage in too much physical activity, it’ll increase your chances of more pain and complications. Therefore, if you’re unsure about how much rest is recommended, check with your doctor and they’ll advise appropriately.

Related: How To Avoid Opioids and Surgery For Back Pain

Getting a lot of rest to let your body heal is a great way to reduce swelling after surgery

3) Elevate the swollen area

This technique is effective because it prevents too much blood flow from being transferred to the inflamed area. Whether you need to do this or not depends on what part of the body you’ve had operated on and, in some cases, is optional. For example, if you had arm or leg surgery, elevation can certainly help. 

4) Apply pressure

By applying pressure, you’re reducing the amount of fluid that can build up from swelling. Therefore, try wrapping the affected area with a bandage. This can help significantly. Just make sure not to go too tight or you could hurt yourself!

And there you have it! I’ve just outlined some of the most common (and effective) ways you can reduce painful swelling after surgery. If you try these methods and are still experiencing pain or swelling, it’s best to contact your doctor for more information.

Author bio: My name is Jennifer Ranking and I’m currently a student who’s recently taken up freelance writing. As I’m looking to build up my portfolio there are several topics I enjoy writing about but my interests revolve around science/biology as this is something I’m currently studying. When I’m not writing, I like to read in my spare time and shop.


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