Category: Procedures | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: February 25, 2019
Although surgeries are getting smaller and less invasive, they still take a significant toll on your body, and that can lead to pain and discomfort after an operation. Pain is most severe within the first few days after surgery, so oftentimes your surgeon will prescribe pain medications to help limit this discomfort. When used properly, these medications can help you transition into a healthy rehab process following an operation, but when used incorrectly, they lead to abuse, addiction and even death.
So how can you ensure you use your medications correctly following a spinal procedure? We provide some tips for safely managing your meds after surgery in today’s blog.
Safe Medication Management Tips
Here are a number of ways to help prevent potential problems if you’ve been given a prescription for opioids following a spinal operation.
- Only Take As Directed – Do not mix pills or take more often than your doctor instructs.
- Take The Lowest Dose Possible For The Shortest Amount Of Time – Studies show that patients are much less likely to abuse their medications when they are taken for five days or less after an operation.
- Express Your Concerns – If you have a history of addiction, or you don’t want to be tempted, express these concerns to your doctor. They may prescribe you with a lower dose or a shorter script.
- Don’t Crush Pills – Crushing pills can speed up how your body absorbs the drug and can lead to overdose.
- Store Safely – Do not leave your opioids out where anyone can access them, even if you don’t believe they’d take your medications. Store them somewhere only you have access to.
- Safe Disposal – You can take your meds to a takeback location like a pharmacy, or you can grind them up and combine them with coffee grounds or cat litter. Do not throw away whole, flush them down the toilet or save them in case you have a flare up down the road.
- Only Part Of Recovery – Finally, remember that painkillers are only part of the recovery process. You’re likely going to have physical therapy and other recovery protocols to follow, and pills aren’t going to magically help you heal. They are not to be used to address long-term pain.
So if you or someone in your household has an upcoming surgery, make sure everyone is aware of the safest ways to manage any painkillers after the operation. Opioid addiction continues to plague patients throughout the US, and we need to be cognizant of how medication mismanagement can lead to dependency issues, even when we don’t intend to abuse opioids. If you have any concerns or questions about how to manage your pain pills following a spinal operation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.