Treating Pain/Reducing Risk of Opioid Abuse

If you’ve ever undergone a surgical or dental procedure, your doctor may have prescribed an opioid, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, or morphine, to reduce your pain. Properly used, these drugs can be very effective. Improper use, however, can negatively affect the reward center in the brain, eventually leading to addiction.

Responsible prescribing and use of opioids is important to the physicians at Olympia Orthopaedic Associates. “We want to minimize pain for people after surgery and treat their chronic pain as well as we can, while also leading the way in educating the community about new prescribing guidelines and limits, and why they’ve been introduced,” explains Dr. Douglas Taylor, who is board-certified in anesthesiology and interventional pain management.

When an individual undergoes a procedure at Olympia Orthopaedics, says Taylor, a key conversation that takes place is about expected pain after the procedure and the treatment for that pain. “We stress that prescribed opioids are to be used as a rescue medication in times when pain is really severe,” he says. Patients are encouraged to use alternative methods for pain control. These may include icing the area, using pain patches or taking over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen. Also commonly used during surgery are nerve blocks, which can minimize pain for up to several days, says Taylor.

Prescribing smaller quantities of opioid medications means that fewer pills end up left over and at risk of getting into the wrong hands. “People with opioid addiction often report that they started with prescription medicines that were in the home of a family member who’d recently had surgery,” says Taylor. “We’re trying to minimize this chance by reducing the amount [of drugs] that get into the community in the first place.”

Olympia Orthopaedic physicians employ many pain treatments, including physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy and injection therapies. “We are dedicated to helping our patients heal and minimizing their pain in safe and appropriate ways,” says Taylor.

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

For Additional Information
Olympia Orthopaedic Associates
3901 Capital Mall Dr SW, Olympia
360.709.6230
olyortho.com