Patients are often hesitant to undergo surgery for many reasons. Some are scared of the procedure, while others worry about extended hospital stay costs. However, one of the most common concerns we hear among PPOA patients is the treatment process for post-surgery pain.
Our patients often come to us because they look for a painkiller alternative to their chronic conditions. The last thing they want is to use more painkillers after their surgery. This can also be true for those who have struggled with drug or alcohol addictions and do not want to complicate their recovery process by using opioids. While medication-based recovery is expected in many hospital settings, it is not the only way to deal with post-surgery pain.
Talk to your doctor about alternatives and safe practices for opioid use after surgery. The first step to a successful recovery is communication. We’d be happy to go over each of these options with you:
Opioids are most commonly used because of how strong they are, but they are not the only option for pain management. If you believe you can handle a lower level of pain and need something to manage higher levels, talk to your doctor about anti-inflammatory drugs, nerve medications, or muscle relaxants. These can help reduce pain and allow you to return to normal activities faster.
Your mindset about pain can help you cope with it more successfully, which is why we recommend mindfulness techniques for all patients regardless of their condition. Tools such as acupuncture and mindful meditation can make you more resilient to pain, which is critical in recovering from surgery without opioids.
Tapering medication use
Typically, post-surgical pain can be handled with over-the-counter medications after a few days. When patients reach day five or more and are still using opioid painkillers, an issue can arise. Ask your doctor about safe tapering dosages to ensure you are off the strong stuff within the first week, and ask them not to provide refills unless you have an in-person consultation. This can help reduce the risk of dependence afterward and protect you when you’re in a vulnerable position.
An honest conversation
If you are someone who has struggled with drug or alcohol addiction in the past, it is essential to talk to your doctor about this so they can create a plan for you that is safe and effective. For example, some patients in recovery have a spouse or friend hold onto medication to reduce the risk of overuse. You can also request not to receive a prescription for at-home medications, so you don’t use them without medical supervision.
PPOA is in the fight against the opioid epidemic that is still ravaging this country. We take alternative medicines to pain relief very seriously and help tailor a plan to what’s suitable for you. To learn more about your painkiller-free recovery options, give us a call today!