Preparing for surgery if you have chronic pain

If your pain lasts three months or longer and affects your quality of life, you are not alone. One in five British Columbians lives with chronic pain.

Related:   Patient guide to anesthesia    

The Pain Spiral

The pain spiral below shows how ongoing pain from injury, surgery, or illness can have an impact on all areas of your life.

Understanding the pain spiral is the first step in breaking it.

Why does some pain last?

Pain is complex.

Once the body heals from injury, surgery, or illness, nerves may still be engaged and excited; this can cause long-term chronic pain. There is no magic cure for this. Getting your pain under control might require several things, including physical therapy, counselling, and possibly medications.

Pain is personal.

What works for one person may not work for someone else. Finding the tools that work best for you can take time, but it’s worth it. People who get involved in decisions about their health tend to feel and do better.

Why am I not getting the help I need?

Until recently, there has not been enough pain research or funding for it in Canada. Many doctors, nurses, and others working in health care don’t receive the training they need to assess and treat chronic pain well. This is starting to change.

Breaking the pain spiral

Breaking the pain spiral is not easy but with support, you can do it. You can return to a life where you feel better and can function once again.

PainBC resources

Pain BC offers programs and tools to help you manage your pain. See their PainBC Resource Centre for information on their programs for support for people living with chronic pain and the family and friends supporting them.

More about preparing for anesthesia before surgery

Preparing for anesthesia before surgery

Managing anemia before surgery

Reducing or quitting smoking or vaping before surgery

Blood sugar control before surgery

Preparing for surgery if you are frail