INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — At one time, opioids were the primary source of pain relief for patients recovering from surgery.
In Wednesday’s Health Spotlight segment, News 8’s Lena Pringle looks into a new trend away from the pain prescriptions.
One in 5 people who have been prescribed opioids to manage pain from surgery find themselves struggling to stop taking the drugs long after their physical recovery. Opioid addiction has been called a crisis. There’s now a shift away from opioid painkillers after a procedure.
Total joint replacement. Tummy tucks. Lung surgery. “Those are at the top of my list of very painful procedures,” said Dr. Michelle Humeidan of Ohio State University.
However, any surgery can be painful to recover from.
Humeidan is a pain management expert at Ohio State. She’s leading an initiative to minimize opioids for pain relief. She says patients should start preparing before surgery by taking acetaminophen at home. “We kind of load that up in the system in the day or so before surgery, and then that helps us have to give less opiates for their pain control.”
During surgery, doctors use numbing medicine that blocks the transmission of pain to the brain and spinal cord. Then after surgery, patients can take over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and use a patch with anesthetic such as lidocaine.
Humeidan said, “Other types of interventions like heat, ice, elevation – those types of things – those can’t be underestimated.”
The doctor Doctor says data shows non-opioid pain management results in less nausea and shorter hospital stays. “Where we used to have patients who would require an overnight stay or two that are going home now after surgery.”
Humeidan says hospital data shows a 50% reduction in the use of opioid pain medication among hospitalized patients and that reduction remains consistent for patients as they recover at home. She says while opiates do have their role, it’s important that they be used as a backup instead of first-line treatment.
This story is from a script aired on WISH-TV.