Today's medical community has made untold advantages and progress, so that a safe, easy, and healthy recovery from the pain of surgery is possible like never before. However, many of the pain relievers are extremely addictive and can cause serious problems if taken outside of careful medical supervision.
For that reason, many recovering addicts may view the possibility of surgery and the prescription of pain medication with wariness and fear that the pain medication may lead to a relapse. However, a well-thought out, careful pain management program can prevent these difficulties and dangers, and in fact allow the surgery to be part of leading a responsible and aware, non-addicted life.
Here are ways responsible and careful pain management can be a good way to both cope with the pain of surgery, and avoid falling into a pitfall of addiction.
Open communication with a health care provider
Before prescribing these potentially addictive painkillers, doctors should ask about your history of struggles with addiction. If they do not, be sure to bring up your history and your concerns with them.
This in turn should allow the doctor to work with you to develop a plan to manage the pain, avoid addiction, and manage the withdraw process. The doctor you choose should be one who will respect your concerns and wish to avoid any potentially addictive substances.
These drugs are meant to be prescribed as a last resort, only to deal with temporary chronic pain. However, there are alternatives, and your health care provider should be open to discussing them with you.
Alternatives to avoid addiction
One of the more effective methods of dealing with pain, and one with no unpleasant side effects, is learning how to manage and control it within your own self. Many people have been able to manage their pain with mindfulness medication, which helps you to appreciate the present moment, and be aware of your feelings in a way that can make things manageable.
Simply taking the time to slow down, breath deliberately, carefully, and slowly, and relax into the present moment can do a lot in helping you to make pain more manageable and less strong. If you are able to be calm and rest, your body can naturally be put to the work of healing itself.
Physical therapy can also help you manage your pain and move in ways that will minimize pain and help your body regenerate more quickly.
Sometimes medication will be necessary to deal with serious chronic pain, but there are many alternatives to the addictive opioids. Some drugs that can treat epilepsy and depression can be helpful at managing pain.
Sometimes gentle, over the counter pain killers (when taken within recommended doses) can do a lot to relieve pain, with much more minor side effects and potential for abuse. If your doctor is aware of your past problems with abuse and addiction, he or she should be especially vigilant about seeing what non-opiate alternatives are possible.
Using opioids safely
However, there are going to be times when opiates are the only effective way to truly deal with pain. In this case, you must learn how to use drugs responsibly, and check your behavior carefully to make sure you are truly avoiding addictive behavior.
You are taking this drug for a specific purpose, the relief of a temporary symptom. Follow the instructions of your doctor as carefully as possible, and speak openly about any side effects you experience.
Doing this can be part of making the transition from abuse to responsible use, and requires a great deal of intentionality on your part. If you are able to navigate this, it can be an important milestone on your path to recovery.