Unrelieved severe pain has consequences that are beyond the immediate perception of pain and can negatively affect patients’ well-being in multiple ways. The effects of acute pain on different aspects of patient quality of life have been seen in numerous studies in the postsurgical setting. From Comprehensive Pain Specialist, we know that severe pain can reduce the quality of life. A patient who had undergone radical prostatectomy, total hip replacement, or total knee replacement was assessed for pain, health-related quality of life, and physical and social function at 4 weeks post-hospital discharge using the Short Form (SF)-36 quality-of-life questionnaire and Treatment Outcomes of Pain Survey. Patients in each surgical group explained worse mean scores in comparison with United States norms across several means which include body pain, physical functioning, and social functioning.
Also, Comprehensive Pain Specialists have proven that unrelieved severe pain can have an important effect on sleep, as observed in a study of 175 patients who were recovering from ambulatory surgery and experienced moderate to severe pain. Overall, during the first 24 hours after discharge, sleep was prevented or disrupted in 46% of the patients studied. An important association was observed between impaired sleep on the night after following surgery and drowsiness the following day. In patients who had difficulty falling asleep or were awakened because of pain, 71% and 69%, respectively, recorded drowsiness. In contrast, only a few patients without sleep disturbance reported drowsiness (P = 0.004).
As described by Comprehensive Pain Specialist, unrelieved pain can severely impair patients’ ability to perform normal functions of everyday life. Pain is one of the most common reasons for postsurgical hospital readmission and can substantially increase the cost of hospital care. During the survey of 20,817 patients who went through same-day surgery, over one-third (38%) of the 313 patients who came back to the hospital for reasons which are directly related to their surgical procedure reported pain as the real main reason for their readmission. The average cost per patient for readmission due to pain was $1,869 per visit. Given that over 80% of patients always experience postoperative pain despite the availability of effective analgesics, the lack of inadequate post-surgical pain relief will continue to add to the already high economic burden of treatment by elongating recovery time and length of hospital stay. The risk of managing severe pain with the wrong approach can apparently lead to death.