Being prepared
for surgery

What you do in the time leading up to surgery can have a really big impact on your recovery and long-term health. The healthier you are, the more quickly you will recover, with fewer complications.

Long term conditions

If you have a long-term health condition such as asthma, diabetes or high blood pressure, now is the time to make sure they are well controlled.

It may be helpful to adjust your lifestyle to try and prevent flare ups, delay your condition getting worse and improve your recovery.

There is a lot of advice online to help you including guidance from the Royal College of Anaesthetists(RCOA), with over 600 helpful videos by healthcare professionals. The NHS website has support on how to manage your long-term conditions. You can also download the NHS app.

Managing pain

You may be in pain while you wait. There are resources that can help you manage your pain, such as the Pain Toolkit website. There is also advice on how to manage chronic pain on the NHS website.

It is important to understand how you can cope with pain. Different medications are needed to treat different types of pain. Pain that comes on quickly but lasts a relatively short time (known as acute pain) is often managed with medications such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. Usually, this is taken for a short time until the pain goes away.

Some medicines, such as ibuprofen, which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), can be bought over the counter. However, to manage more severe or chronic pain, a doctor can prescribe higher-strength versions of these tablets.

Other anti-inflammatory drugs like celecoxib or colchicine (often used to treat gout) are only available on prescription.

There is no evidence that opioids are helpful for long-term pain, and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has warned about the risks of addiction and dependence.

If you’re living with long-term pain, ask your GP if you’re eligible for a pain clinic referral.

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