Pain medicine

What to remember when taking pain medicine

  • Some pain medicines (like Tylenol®) have acetaminophen. Taking more than 4,000 milligrams (4 grams) of acetaminophen in 24 hours may damage your liver. Acetaminophen is also found in some cough and cold medicines, too.
  • During your recovery in the hospital, you may have been started on anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen (Advil® and Motrin®).
    • Anti-inflammatory medicines assist with healing by reducing swelling and pain.
    • You may be continuing an anti-inflammatory medicine after discharge from the hospital. Please be aware that these medicines may cause stomach upset for some people.
  • Do not drink alcohol while taking pain medicine.
  • Do not drive any motor vehicles while taking narcotics or pain medicines that make you sleepy.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet and drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. If you are constipated, talk with your doctor about what you can do.
  • Taking your pain medicine with a small amount of food may be helpful to control stomach upset.
  • If you need a prescription pain medicine refilled close to the weekend, call your pharmacy several days ahead of time so you do not run out.

Your pain should lessen every week. Take the pain medicine as your doctor ordered to help ease your pain.

You may also continue to use integrative therapies to help manage your pain. These include relaxation techniques, listening to music or relaxation CDs, visualization or guided imagery, massage, acupuncture or aromatherapy.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Understanding Your Colon or Rectal Surgery, can-ah-95399
First Published: 01/24/2013
Last Reviewed: 08/15/2017

Tip

Continue to take your pain medicine. Research shows that patients who receive good pain management do better after surgery.

Activity will be easier, more comfortable, and you will get your strength back sooner. It is important not to let your pain get out of control.