Opioids are a class of drugs that originate from opium poppy plant and have been used to block pain signals between the body and the brain. Although these drugs have the ability to relieve pain, many Americans have been impacted by the serious harms and addictive nature associated with these medications. Prescription opioids include: OxyContin, Vicodin, Hydrocodone and Morphine, among others.
Alternative pain management can be safer and just as effective. Let’s look at a few options to help you get the post-surgical pain relief you need without the harmful effects of opioids.
Over the Counter Drugs: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen can aid in pain relief and are also anti-inflammatory. Acetaminophen (known by the name brand Tylenol) can help with pain but does not reduce inflammation. By alternating the lowest dose of these over the counter medicines, you can achieve the pain relief you need with less impact on your liver.
Antidepressants: Antidepressants can directly affect how your brain senses certain kinds of pain. Although it isn’t fully understood how this works, they may increase neurotransmitters reducing pain signals sent to your brain.
Nerve Block Medications: A nerve block uses a local anesthetic to numb a specific area of the body to reduce and control pain following surgery. Doctors can use nerve blocks to help patients feel better faster, recover more quickly and go home sooner.
Multimodal Pain Management: Multimodal non-opioid pain management is when a variety of different regional block analgesic medications, which have different mechanisms of action, are used to treat pain. A combination of an anti-inflammatory, nerve pain medication, or other types of medication may be used depending on the cause of the pain.
Physical Therapy:There are several methods physical therapists use to relieve pain, such as applying ice/heat packs, ultrasound, and electrical muscle stimulation. Pain can also be relieved through exercise therapy – exercises that stretch the sore muscles and increase their flexibility. In addition to exercises, some manual therapy techniques are massage and mobilization.
Many times, patients have concerns about how to manage post surgical pain. It is important that you speak with your doctor before taking medicine or starting a pain management program. Better pain management following surgery can help you be more alert, recover faster, and get you back home to your normal activities.
At North Central Surgical Center, our mission is to treat each and every one of our patients, and their families, as if they were our own family member. Each patient, each family, each and every time.