Public Health officials have declared the current opioid epidemic the worse drug crisis in American history. Over 64 000 deaths have occurred in 2017 alone due to opioid overdose. Studies have shown that 75% of opioid abusers started by taking a prescription medication. Health care providers can help by reducing the number of narcotic prescriptions given to patients. In an attempt to do our part the team at Face2Face surgery just attended an important course on post-operative pain management. The use of alternative medications to narcotics can not only reduce post-operative pain but will also reduce the number of opioid prescriptions being written. Anti-inflammatories given immediately following surgery have been shown to be very effective in reducing pain. The combined use of anti-inflammatories with narcotics has been found to reduce the total dose of narcotics taken and in some cases, narcotics were not required at all for controlling pain.
Post-operative pain is very subjective and varies widely from patient to patient. There are many factors that contribute to the level of pain a patient may feel. Studies have shown that prior surgical experiences and the anxiety associated with them can make managing a patient's pain more challenging. Reducing a patient's anxiety prior to the surgical appointment can decrease the need for strong post-surgical pain medications. Sedation is widely used for many oral surgery procedures and can help to minimize a patient's fear of surgery. The following is a list of helpful tips for post-surgical pain management:
1) Ask your surgeon about narcotic alternatives
2) Use anti-inflammatories immediately following surgery to reduce pain before it peaks
3) Ask about using sedation for the procedure
4) Use anxiety reducing techniques prior to surgery. A list of tips can be found here.
5) Try to have a realistic understanding of what to expect after surgery
For more information on managing post-surgical pain please click the link here.
For more information on the Opioid epidemic and what efforts are being done to help please click here.