According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Source: CDC's Opioid Portal
Due to the National Opioid Epidemic, the FDA has challenged physicians to find alternative methods in treating musculoskeletal pain. In recent years, prescribing compressive cryrotherapy has become the gold standard in treating and reducing opioid consumption during acute injury recovery or post operative care.
Opioids are powerful drugs intended to decrease pain, but if abused they may lead to severe addiction and deadly overdose. Due to individuals having different pain thresholds, responses to surgery differ from patient to patient. It is important for the recovery process that pain is adequately addressed and managed. When prescribed, it is important to follow all parameters set forth by your physician. In preparation, there are some important steps that can be taken to minimize the risk of abusing postoperative opioid medications.
If you’re scheduled for surgery, consult your surgeon during your “pre-op” appointment. At this time, speak with your physician about post-operative pain and whether opioids are required.
Opioids ARE required
If your physician believes post-op pain will be moderate to severe, they are likely to prescribe Hydrocodone (Vicodin and generic) and/or Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, and generic). These medications should only be used to treat extreme short-term pain; the type experienced after surgery
Opioids NOT required
If your physician believes post-op pain will be minimal, they may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol and generic), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and generic), and naproxen (Aleve and generic)
Stick to the Script
If you require opioids, your physician should prescribe the lowest possible dose. Three days (or fewer) should suffice, but in rare cases, seven days of meds may be prescribed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, taking opioids for more than three days will increase your risk of addiction. If you’re still in pain after three days, use over-the-counter medications as recommended by your doctor .