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Non-Opioid Pain Management

Pain after surgery, also known as acute pain, is usually most intense in the first few days after a procedure. Luckily, this period of discomfort generally subsides after one to three days, and in most cases, can be well controlled with over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and ibuprofen (Motrin® or Advil®) taken at regular, scheduled times. Patients are often prescribed opioids for acute pain; however, if pain is manageable, opioids are neither required nor necessary.

It’s also important to remember that medication is only part of a pain management plan. Non-drug solutions can also be very effective for helping patients resume activities needed to heal, including walking, eating, and sleeping.

Some non-drug pain management options that can help distract from discomfort:

  • Reading a book
  • Listening to music
  • Watching television
  • Daily reflection and medication

A surgeon may also direct patients to use other methods to alleviate pain such as applying ice, elevation, compression, and taking short walks. Learn more about after-surgery care and pain management:

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