After orthopedic surgery, your doctors and nurses will do all they can to manage the pain. Your doctor can offer you several options for pain relief.
Many types of medication can be used to control pain. Opioids, nonsteroidal analgesics (NSAIDs), and local anesthetics are all options. With medications, you can move more freely, recover from surgery faster, and gain strength more quickly.
As a result, alternative approaches like medical hypnosis and acupuncture are becoming increasingly popular. Surgeons and patients alike are choosing these methods to complement conventional medicine. The best way to manage pain is by combining different methods. This allows the surgeon to tailor pain management for each patient.
In order to manage your pain effectively, your surgeon will consider several factors that are unique to you and your situation. You should be open with your doctor or nurse about your concerns, expectations, and previous experiences regarding pain management.
This article discusses medications used to manage pain after orthopedic surgery. Learn how alternative methods are used to complement pain management plans: Alternatives for Managing Pain After Orthopaedic Surgery
Opioids can be used to treat moderate or severe pain. When taken as prescribed, they can be effective at managing post-operative pain for a short time.
There are many different policies and procedures for pain management. After surgery, opioids may be prescribed intramuscularly, intravenously, or orally. Oral medications are most commonly prescribed when you return home.
While opioids may help reduce pain after surgery or injury, they are narcotics that can be addictive. Only use opioids according to the instructions of your doctor. As soon as you start feeling better, stop taking opioids. If you don’t feel better after a few days, speak to your doctor.
The “milk” of the opium poppy is dried to produce natural opioids. In laboratories, other types of opioids can be manufactured. These opioids are called synthetic or semi-synthetic.
How Opioids Work
All opioids, synthetic or natural, act by binding opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. They also bind opioid receptors in the gastrointestinal tract. When they attach to opioid receptors, these drugs prevent pain signals from reaching your brain.
It is because opioids have a similar structural design to endorphins. Endorphins are painkillers produced by your body that make you feel better. The similarity in structure fools the receptors and allows the drug to flood an area with dopamine. Dopamine, a naturally occurring substance, affects the pleasure centers of your brain and produces euphoria. The “opioid effect” is caused when large quantities of dopamine are released as the opioid activates your nerve cells.
Opioids for Pain Management
Pain relief is possible with opioids. They block pain quickly and alter how your brain perceives the sensation. Pain relief can help you sleep better at night and stay active during the day.
Opioids are administered in many ways. They can be taken by mouth, through the skin, into the bloodstream, or even under the tongue. They do not cause bleeding in the stomach or other parts of the body.
Opioids can cause adverse effects, including:
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty passing urine
All of these side effects can be treated by your doctor.
Addiction is one of the major drawbacks of opioids. Numerous studies have shown the addictive effects of opioid abuse.
An anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist may prescribe opioids along with other prescription drugs to help you fall asleep during certain surgical procedures. Opioids may be given in the recovery room to relieve pain following anesthesia.
There are several options for continuing pain relief after you leave the recovery room.
Oral pain medication As the opioid abuse problem grows, oral opioids are used more often to manage pain after surgery. Oral medication is absorbed slowly by the stomach and intestines. It can help relieve pain for longer periods of time without the need to administer more medication.
After returning home, you can reduce your oral opioid dose gradually.
Patient-controlled analgesia pumps Doctors may use a PCA pump to administer opioid medication after surgery in certain situations. When you feel pain, you can press the button to release a small amount of medicine through an intravenous (IV) tube.
The PCA pump delivers medication at the dose prescribed by your doctor. After each dose, you must wait a specific amount of time before administering another. If you press the PCA button too early, it will not deliver medication. This will prevent you from receiving excessive pain medication.
Opioids and over-the-counter drugs
Some pain medications contain opioids and other pain medications like acetaminophen and aspirin. If you take pain medications prescribed by your physician along with acetaminophen or aspirin, it is possible to receive excessive doses. This is dangerous, particularly if you suffer from liver or kidney diseases.
Speak to your doctor about all your medications, including vitamins and supplements, over-the-counter drugs, and prescription drugs. Depending on the type and dosage of pain medication that you take, any of these medications can cause an adverse effect. You will be told by your doctor which over-the-counter medications are safe to take while taking prescription pain medication.
Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used to treat mild-to-moderate conditions. They reduce swelling and pain. Opioids and NSAIDs are used to treat moderate to severe pain after surgery. Aspirin and Ibuprofen are NSAIDs.
What do NSAIDs do?
NSAIDs stop an enzyme (a protein) from triggering changes in the body. COX (cyclooxygenase), which comes in two different forms, is the enzyme. COX-1 protects the stomach lining against acidic substances. It maintains kidney function. COX-2 is released by the body when joints become inflamed.
COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes play a major role in prostaglandin production. They cause swelling and pain when they irritate nerve endings. NSAIDs block COX enzymes, which prevent the body from making too much prostaglandin. This reduces swelling and pain.
The advantages and disadvantages of NSAIDs NSAIDs are less likely to cause side effects than opioids. NSAIDs reduce the need for painkillers after surgery and can also reduce side effects like constipation and drowsiness and do not cause addiction or dependency. NSAIDs are not able to reduce moderate or severe post-surgery pain.
Aspirin and ibuprofen, two common NSAIDs, are also available in generic form. They can cause ulcers, stomach upset, and bleeding by blocking both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. Ibuprofen, aspirin, and other traditional NSAIDs are among the most common.
COX-2 inhibitors are a type of NSAID. These medications target COX-2 only, the enzyme responsible for inflammation. Because they do not block COX-1, these medications don’t cause stomach issues like traditional NSAIDs. COX-2 inhibitors may cause cardiac side effects.
Combination of Pain Management Medication
There are different types of pain medications (opioids and NSAIDs), as well as various ways to administer them. In order to get the best possible results, orthopedic surgeons use a variety of pain medications and methods. Combining pain management with opioid reduction and side effects is a better way to manage pain.
Researchers and doctors are constantly exploring new methods to reduce pain to help patients recover faster from surgery and return to normal activities.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has conducted research to help develop guidelines for doctors who are managing pain after orthopedic surgery. These are only recommendations and may not apply to all cases. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is a website that provides information about the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.