Opioid painkillers such as codeine, morphine, and oxycodone are highly effective at relieving acute pain after surgery. However, long-term use of these drugs poses serious risks. They can lead to euphoria, addiction, and potentially deadly respiratory depression.
Non-opioid painkillers are a safer alternative for relieving post-surgical pain. These drugs work differently than opioids and have a much lower potential for abuse. They also cause less nausea and dizziness, making them better suited for patients who don’t want to take an active role in their pain management. Although they don’t have the same level of effectiveness as opioids, the following pain relievers are an acceptable alternative to manage post-surgical pain.
1. Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Paracetamol)
Acetaminophen is the most commonly used painkiller in the world. It is one of the few over-the-counter pain relievers that is actually safe to take regularly. It has very few side effects and is not addictive. In fact, it is so safe that many experts believe it should be added to opioid painkillers as a safer alternative.
2. Anti-inflammatory Drugs
Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and prescription medications like Celebrex, are a safe and effective option for pain management. They block the transmission of pain signals along nerves and reduce inflammation – a key cause of pain. These drugs have been shown to be as effective as opioids at relieving pain.
3. Topical Analgesics
Lidocaine patches and injectables are used to numb or relieve pain in sensitive areas like the lips, mouth, and genitals. These skin patches and injections only last a few hours, making them a good option for short-term pain. However, they can also cause side effects like itching, burning, and redness if they aren’t used correctly.
Methylphenidate is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant drug that can be prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It has been found to be safe and effective for the short-term treatment of moderate to severe pain. The FDA has approved methylphenidate for the management of pain in patients who have cancer or a painful medical condition.
5. Amine Reuptake Inhibitors
Amine reuptake inhibitors can help reduce pain. This is because they block the action of naturally occurring painkillers, known as endogenous opioids. These opioids include endorphins, enkephalins, and endomorphins. All these substances play an important role in normal pain sensation. So by blocking the action of these substances, ARIs have the potential to help relieve pain The different types of amine reuptake inhibitors (NRIs) include bupropion (Zyban), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), or methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta).
This non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) is used to treat pain and reduce fever. It is FDA-approved to treat pain after surgery, bone fractures, and arthritis. It is also sometimes prescribed for general pain. However, it has a high risk for causing serious side effects, including bleeding in the stomach, esophageal rupture, heart attack, kidney failure, liver failure, and lung disease.
Cannabidiol (also known as CBD) is currently one of the most popular non-opioid drugs for pain management. CBD is only one of hundreds of compounds in the Cannabis sativa plant. However, it has become particularly popular as a pain medication due to its safety and lack of negative side effects. CBD is non-intoxicating, meaning it won’t make you high. It can be used with other prescription medications and can be used as a standalone treatment.
Studies have found that CBD oil can reduce nausea and vomiting, inflammation, and chronic pain. It can also help with treating other health conditions, including seizures, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, and diabetes. CBD oil has been used to successfully treat cancer and metabolic disorders, such as obesity and diabetes-related complications.
Oasis Recovery is Here for You
Post-surgical pain is a common yet frustrating condition. Patients often experience severe, unrelenting pain that interferes with day-to-day activities. While opioid painkillers like morphine are effective at managing pain, they can be highly addictive. Non-opioid drugs are a safer option that can be used to treat pain. Taking these drugs as prescribed, however, is important for pain relief and safety. Patients should always read the drug labels and follow all instructions carefully to avoid serious side effects.
If you feel that you or a loved one may be struggling with substance abuse, you are not alone. Substance abuse and addiction can affect anyone. If you or a loved one are currently struggling with addiction, help is available! We encourage you to reach out to the professionals at Oasis Recovery to learn more about our personalized treatment programs and mental health services.
Oasis Recovery was founded from firsthand experience of addiction and recovery, with a mission of providing a space where people can heal from addiction in a compassionate, creative, open-minded, and heart-centered environment. We believe recovery is always possible. Our experts work with you to design a treatment plan that fits your needs. Common treatment programs include:
- Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
- Full-time Addiction Treatment on campus
- Aftercare Services
Contact us today for more information about how our programs and services can help you get your life back on track. You no longer have to struggle with addiction on your own. We are here to help.