Americans use opioids many fold more than other countries. This is an undisputed fact. Assuming we are similar to other human beings, the phenomena is cultural. One trend I’ve noticed is the tendency to over-prescribe opioids after surgery. This happens for a few reasons:
- It is expected to treat pain as if it’s a “6th vital sign,” and for a time no amount of pain after surgery was deemed acceptable.
- About 10% of people will indeed need to continue taking opioids for longer than a few days. For busy surgical services to cover these 10% of people, they simply prescribe the opioid quantity these 10% would need to everyone who gets surgery!
- Very little infrastructure outside of the hospital exists around the time of surgery to actively try to use other means of pain control and to proactively encourage opioid reduction. That is why Acute Pain Therapies was created. We treat postoperative pain and make sure our patients are provided other ways of controlling pain and coming down on the opioids they are prescribed.
We offer chronic pain services for those patients who have persistent postoperative pain. Our unique expertise and Dr. Julian’s and my combined experience in managing various types of surgical and nerve pain allows us to treat each patient personally, addressing their individual needs with a pain management program that works best for them.
There are other options besides pain medication. Please contact our office if you are interested in learning more!