Pain Medication After Surgery
Recovering from surgery may at first be acutely painful. It can be hard to concentrate on anything else other than the pain when in recovery since often you’re prescribed to remain relatively inactive: in bed, for example. Even though recovery is not a lasting state, it still may possibly cause one to feel helpless, restless, useless, and solitary. Fortunately, there are treatments for this period that are effective, but one must be wary of the prolonged use of treatments meant for the short-term.
Managing Your Pain
The objective of pain management is to help you through any potential suffering you may be experiencing. We no longer have to use such primitive pain-killers like a bottle of whiskey, as often done a couple centuries ago. Today, people who were once unable to bear their state due to pain can do so in spite of their condition.
Prescription Pain Medication
Perhaps the most prescribed and well-known prescription pain medication are opioid-based medications. Opioids have been used as a reliever of pain in different forms for millennia, even though its use was often addictive and dangerous. Those prescribed to you after surgery, however, are regulated, FDA approved, and safer.
Different forms of opioid medication (hydrocodone or oxycodone, for example) are often combined with NSAIDs (often acetaminophen) in order to maximize their pain-relieving benefits.
There isn’t much debate in the medical community about the efficacy of opioid-based pain medicine for relieving pain in the short term and are prescribed for those in need of them. However, since opioids can produce a euphoric state in the patient, and since the body builds a tolerance to the effects of the medication over time, it’s important to take them responsibly and not longer than needed. For certain people, the risk of increasing dosage without a doctor’s supervision may possibly lead to abuse.
Causes and Actions
There are certain underlying factors which may lead to opioid abuse. including:
- Familial history of addiction
- Past history of dependence or addiction
- Deleterious Environmental Influences
- Potential genetic predisposition to addiction
Furthermore, recent studies provide evidence that opioid addiction is on the rise among certain populations, making the necessity for monitoring your medication even more important.
If you feel you may possess any of the previous “triggering” factors for opioid dependence, talk to your doctor before your surgery about medication. Help them determine the best course of action, and decide whether or not you’re able to take them as prescribed.
However, if in postoperative recovery you are taking them to manage your pain and take them responsibility, with the supervision of your doctor there’s no need to be concerned about addiction. According to the American Association of Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine, “Taking opioids in the way that they have been prescribed by your doctor for the treatment of chronic pain is associated with a very low risk of becoming addicted to those opioids.”
So though pain medication can cause adverse effects in certain people, if you do need them, they may significantly help through this painful and frustrating period.
- ‘A Brief History of Opioids’. Accessed January 30, 2016. http://www.theatlantic.com/sponsored/purdue-health/a-brief-history-of-opioids/184/.
- Kolata, Gina and Sarah Cohen. ‘Drug Overdoses Propel Rise in Mortality Rates of Young Whites’. Health (The New York Times), January 24, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/17/science/drug-overdoses-propel-rise-in-mortality-rates-of-young-whites.html?_r=0.
- Lancet, The. ‘US Drug Overdose Deaths: A Global Challenge’. January 30, 2016. Accessed January 30, 2016. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)00211-7/fulltext.
- Medicine, Pain. ‘Treatment Options for Chronic Pain’. Accessed January 30, 2016. https://www.asra.com/page/46/treatment-options-for-chronic-pain.