High tolerance for pain.....I'll never understand it

  1. Last summer I had elbow fixed......bad case of tennis elbow with the structures ripping away from the bone. That first day after surgery I wanted to saw my arm off, it hurt so bad. I lived on Vicodin for about a week.

    Last week my MIL had the same kind of repair done on her rotator cuff, along with the removal of a spur. She took two doses of Vicodin and that was only because the PACU nurse told me to medicate her around the clock for the first 24 to make sure the pain stayed under control. When it was time for the third dose (same day of surgery, mind you!) her pain was at a 0/10. The PACU called the next day to check on her and couldn't believe she was already pain free!
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    About TazziRN

    Joined: Apr '03; Posts: 7,569; Likes: 2,298

    14 Comments

  3. by   Thedreamer
    Thats really interesting
  4. by   JRapha'sRN
    I want that kind of pain tolerance in July when I have my baby!
  5. by   meownsmile
    Sometimes the pain prior to surgery outweighs the sensations after surgery. I see it all the time in ortho. People are in so much pain prior to their arthoplasties that they really require very little pain medication. Any pain they have from the surgery seems to be tolerable compared to before. May be because they know the surgical pain is temporary and the pain before surgery had been an everyday occurance without knowing when it would end.
  6. by   Cattitude
    Quote from meownsmile
    Sometimes the pain prior to surgery outweighs the sensations after surgery. I see it all the time in ortho. People are in so much pain prior to their arthoplasties that they really require very little pain medication. Any pain they have from the surgery seems to be tolerable compared to before. May be because they know the surgical pain is temporary and the pain before surgery had been an everyday occurance without knowing when it would end.
    I did ortho for 4 years as well and didn't see that. I like the concept though.

    We gave out percocet like it was candy. Most patients slowed down on post op days 2-3 but immediately? No way, they did ask for it regularly.
  7. by   Tweety
    Pain perception sometimes lesses with age, so that could be the reason.

    I see differing perceptions in pain in my trauma patients all the time. One guy needs morphine q1h and can't get out of bed five days post-injury and the other guy with the exact same thing is out of bed day one and taking Percocet.
  8. by   Cattitude
    Quote from Tweety
    Pain perception sometimes lesses with age, so that could be the reason.

    I see differing perceptions in pain in my trauma patients all the time. One guy needs morphine q1h and can't get out of bed five days post-injury and the other guy with the exact same thing is out of bed day one and taking Percocet.
    I agree with this too and let me clarify my earlier post. I was generalizing when I said patients asked for percs regularly. Some of the folks actually did tolerate pain well and yes some of them were older. On a whole though ortho was a pretty "painful" floor.
  9. by   neneRN
    My mom had rotator cuff surgery at age 60, took one dose of Vicodin when she got home and then threw the bottle away and only needed Tylenol. Her boyfriend just had the same surgery and is in severe pain, can't do anything for himself.
  10. by   lovejana22

    my grandfather had the same surgery and told the nurse the same day he did not need any more meds.!!! she was floored, then he preceded to tell of all of the pain he went through in wwii and then she said o.k. you are the boss!!
  11. by   SuesquatchRN
    Culturally, my background requires stoicism and I'm somehow very good at handling pain.

    I can not, however, handle chronic, visceral pain at all well. It depresses me and I end up drinking since these days no one will prescribe pain meds that work. Thank you, Puritans in office.

    We undermedicate pain, I think.
  12. by   luvmy3kids
    That is very interesting... I had surgery 2 1/2 weeks ago... I had a bi-lateral breast reduction. I also had quite a bit of breast tissue taken out from under my axillary area... (eww gross I know)..

    I know most women's breasts are very sensitive but mine never seemed to be... it never hurt if they were pushed on by one of the kids or whatever.... and now that my surgery is over... my breasts felt fine by day 2. (I couldn't feel anything day one LOL)...

    But under my arms..... OOOOWWWWEEEE! Even still today... 16 days after the surgery....the pain is horrible. I had to have the lymph fluid drained once because it was filling up and not draining on its own... and it's all sore and lumpy under there... and the worst part is shaving... I actually think the nerve endings are all dead under there.... so when I shave it's like I'm shaving sandpaper... it's numb but I can still feel it??? It's so annoying... kinda like fingernails on chalkboard kind of thing...

    I don't know... but I guess my pain tolerance has always been high in my chest and now I know that under my arms it is very low....

    But I'm very thankful it's done.... My lower back pain is completely gone and under my arms looks soooo much better....
  13. by   JaneyW
    I can attest to the post-op pain being much better than what was happening before. I had a C6-7 spinal fusion and discectomy a few years ago and I can't even begin to describe the feeling of complete relief after I woke up. That horrible nerve pain was gone. It was replaced by some bad muscle pain, but muscle pain doesn't hold a candle to the nerve pain. I didn't even know how bad it was until it was gone.

    That being said, I did keep myself pretty comfy meds wise for a couple of weeks. I slept a lot and let myself heal. I have no chronic pain issues, thank goodness. Just an occasional valium here and there. Last year I had a 1cm disc bulge at L5-S1 with very little pain that resolved quickly with some PT and TLC. I brought my MRI films in to the PT because he couldn't believe my bulge was that big and I was working out that hard. There are a lot of people with 2mm bulges that can barely stand. I think it is probably a structural thing--my pain sensory nerves are just in a good position. I have not had as much luck with the motor neurons, though, as I tend to lose function and not have the horrible pain. We are all built just a little differently--who knows?
  14. by   kukukajoo
    My grandmother is like this and I wanna know how women like that do it!! She had a colon resection, ovaries and uterus removed, insides scraped of remaining cancer- was cut from her pubis to her ribcage and stitched like a football... Then 2 days later had a clot in her leg surgically removed- a nice 8" incision there. Pain meds? Nope. Didn't need them after the first day of surgery!

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