Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience and a medical advice columnist for Newsmax Magazine. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. He is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Help Me Stop Taking Painkillers

Friday, 20 Sep 2013 11:00 AM

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Question: I had cervical spine surgery a few years ago and still have to take a painkiller every day. Is there anything else I can do for the pain?


Dr. Hibberd's answer:

Having treated orthopedic injuries for many years and having had my own injury after trauma years ago, I can attest to the futility of relying on narcotic medications alone for pain control. Orthopedic pain treatment requires a combination approach.

An anti-inflammatory such as naproxen (Aleve, 500 milligrams twice a day) mixed with a short-term narcotic (such as hydrocodone) will ease pain immediately after surgery. But it's a good idea to consider some type of physical therapy after you have fully recovered from back surgery.

Almost all orthopedic pain after healing has occurred is best managed with mobility, so it
's important to remain active and not become sedentary. Sometimes trigger point injections, stimulators, and topical treatments — such as Lidoderm patches — can help, as well.

I do agree that narcotic use should be minimized, and is far too widely abused.
 

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