Pain is inevitable after most surgeries and the more extensive the surgery, the more severe and long-lasting the pain. Together with your doctor, you must come up with a plan for managing your pain after surgery, specifically if you are in recovery.
If you are facing the prospect of an upcoming surgery, start thinking ahead of time about your pain management plan, as many of the painkillers used to treat post-surgery pain put you at risk of developing an addiction. Knowing what to expect can go a long way toward making you feel more comfortable.
Now is the time to be very honest with your doctor. Your doctor needs to know about any struggles you have had with addiction in the past. If your doctor is aware of your issues you can be given a medication that is less likely to create dependence.
Knowing that you have the potential to become addicted is powerful information and you should use it wisely. Below are some tools and strategies to help you maintain your recovery from alcohol or substances after a surgery:
• Communicate with your physician and surgeon
It is important that you address all medical history, medication, pain management addiction history and surgery recovery issues with your physician and surgeon. That way going into the surgery your entire medical team is on the same page and can help support you as you heal from the surgery.
• Write down plan goals.
• Actively participate in your recovery program such as AA, and enlist the support of family, spouse and/or friends in your pain management plan and surgical recovery.
This may be a time in your life where you need to reach out to receive additional support from your network. Find a support person or group that can be there to offers you what you need.
• Maintain your mental health program with a professional, if appropriate.
If you see an outpatient provider on a regular basis, continue to keep those appointments.
• Ensure correct dosing after surgery with the help of another person.
Enlist the help of a partner, friend or family member to help you stick to the correct dosing schedule. They can actually administer you the medication or just help to hold you accountable.
• Monitor pain and medications with physician after surgery and ensure that your physician tapers medicine dosages.
Keep all of your post-operative appointments. You can use these appointments to discuss your pain level and determine when the best time is to begin tapering off of your medications.
• Learn and engage in alternative therapies and a wellness program designed with your doctor’s approval.
Take a yoga class, go to meditation, try acupuncture. Investigate alternative methods for controlling pain without the medication. With the alternative therapies you may be able to discover a better way to control the pain without the medication.
• Begin to schedule normal activities.
As your health allows, return to work, school or volunteer commitments. The sooner you start back to your normal life the sooner you will begin to feel like your normal self.
Appropriate pain management is integral to recovery from surgery as well as continued recovery from alcohol and chemical addictions. By talking with your doctor and following employing these strategies you can preserve your recovery through a surgery.