BALTIMORE, Md. (IVANHOE NEWSWIRE) – Every day in the United States, 130 people die from an opioid overdose.
Sometimes the drugs are obtained illegally, or they may be prescribed by a doctor for pain relief after surgery. In the wake of an epidemic of opioid addiction and deaths, there is a growing movement among surgeons to find other ways to successfully manage post-surgery pain.
For years, Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin were a mainstay of post-surgery pain management. One surgeon says she and many of her colleagues recommend non-narcotic alternatives to patients, even for procedures that require weeks of recovery time, such as an abdominal workout.
“A lot of it has to do with the size of the incisions we make and a lot of it has to do with the suturing of those muscles,” explains Dr. Lauren Nigro, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Mercy Medical Center.
Dr Nigro says for the past few years there has been a movement to treat pain before, during and after the procedure. Previously, patients were often prescribed Tylenol or another acetaminophen for several days. During the administration of doctors a long-acting nerve block that can last three or four days. After that, doctors sometimes prescribe the non-opioid gabapentin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and in some cases an injection of Botox.
“There is actually a substance in it that inhibits substance P, which involves the pain pathway,” explains Dr. Nigro further.
Dr. Nigro says it is important to use pain management methods before and during the operation, so that patients do not suddenly find themselves in uncontrollable pain, which leads to taking more than necessary.
Doctors still prescribe opioids for pain relief and chronic conditions, but in some states doctors limit the prescription to 10 pills or just a week’s worth of medication.
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