Tonsillectomy Recovery Pain Medicine

Tonsillectomy Pain Management

I added the topic of tonsillectomy recovery pain medicine to the, “Before Tonsillectomy,” menu for a reason. The time to discuss pain management with your doctor is NOT at 3 a.m. on day six of your recovery when you’ve run out of pain medication. Sitting in your doctors office before surgery with a clear head, during his or her normal hours, is the time to have a rational discussion of your tonsillectomy pain medication. It’s also a good time to discuss other medications like anti- nausea drugs and steroidal anti inflammatory medication. I go into more detail in my book, but suffice it to say that pain management is best discussed in advance, in the light of day, with clear heads.


Tonsillectomy Recovery Pain
Tonsillectomy Pain Medicine


There is no one right answer to the question of how to address tonsillectomy recovery pain medicine. I recommend discussing expectations with your doctor before any prescription is written. Some doctors appreciate how painful a tonsillectomy recovery can be for an adult. Some do not. Having experienced it myself and read the accounts of thousands of tonsillectomy patients I can say with confidence that ten days is a pretty average length of time that pain management will be an issue after surgery. 

Tonsillectomy fire extinguisher text

If I had it to do over, I’d ask my doctor to write a prescription for a pain medicine without acetaminophen, (e.g. Tylenol), in it. Many common narcotic pain medications contain acetaminophen. Too much of the stuff can be quite dangerous. A problem arises when one tries to ween off the narcotic pain medicine and switch to simple acetaminophen. If there’s breakthrough pain, taking another drug that ALSO contains it can be dangerous. If the two are separate, the patient can alternate as needed. Ask your doctor.

In my book I also discuss some of the effects of taking narcotic pain medicine for several days- not as a doctor, but as a patient who experienced it. I wouldn’t face the surgery without these medicines, but a little knowledge could have helped me cope better.

Tonsillectomy pain medicine isn’t always chemical. Drinking cold ice water, chewing gum, or applying ice to the throat can also help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with tonsillectomy surgery. Many patients also get short term relief from throat sprays like Chloraseptic.

In short, I recommend being your own advocate in your pain management. Be straight forward and honest with your doctor and ask for a second opinion if you feel your doctor is not addressing your concerns.After your tonsillectomy, don’t be afraid to contact your Doctor’s office with questions or concerns about your tonsillectomy recovery pain medicine.


Tonsillectomy Recovery
Tonsillectomy Recovery


  1. Hi I’m 19 years old I had my tonsils removed on the 23rd of may. I am on day 7 now and it is hard to eat or drink. Every time I swallow I want to cry. I don’t think the hydrocodon is helping with pain at all. What should I do!?

  2. I have just gotten my tonsils out two days ago, December 27th. The medication prescribed to me is Acetaminophen. I honestly feel no difference in my level of pain when I take it. I decided to take Advil and it helped almost 100 percent. It literally felt like I didn’t even have my tonsils out. But, I was advised not to take Advil because it increases the risk of bleeding. Should I continue to take Advil or am I going to bleed to death???

    1. A question for your doctor or pharmacist. The ones I’ve talked with said it’s ok to take it. I didn’t after mine but I’ve read from lots of people who got relief from it.

  3. I got my tonsils removed August 24th so it’s the 6th day for me. The pain is so bad. I was put on ibuprofen and Tylenol I think? They prescribed me Morphine as well but I’m only 14 so my parents are concerned. The pain is unbearable. I can’t swallow my pills anymore, I can’t drink my water, I can’t eat anything, the pain is so bad I cry. I don’t know what to do anymore I don’t want to take my pills

    1. Hi Alyssa,

      Hang in there! Have your parents read this, it’s important. You ability to heal will be affcted by your level of pain. You were given the morphine by your doctors for that exact reason… need to take as little as you need to wipe out the pain. Because you have this acute pain you will NOT develop any addiction, just be careful and if you find any funny behaviors, excessive drowsiness or hallucinations (things you think are there but really aren’t, you’ll know it if you have any) cut it loose immediately! Lose the additional painkillers, especially the tylenol because the risk of overdosing is pretty high when you’re going through this. I used morphine for almost a month, although I doubt you’ll need it for more than a week or so… surgery involved grafts as it was needed for cancer. However, you should take it seriously as pain prevents you from getting well as fast as someone your age should be. There is nothing to fear about using the drugs your doctor prescribed for you, they’re at your disposal for good reason. The faster you get through recovery the better. I have no addiction, and didn’t have any lingering problems some three years later. Opiates are weird, if you need them they work flawlessly, and give you signals as to when to drop them. always use as little as possible, of course. Good luck, I’ll pray for your fast recovery! (Never hurts to!)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.