If you have arthritis, chances are your doctor gave you a prescription for an opioid pain medication at some point. Opioids are effective at relieving pain, including post-surgical pain, and for some people who live with chronic pain from arthritis or other conditions, they are one part of managing that condition.
The United States has been grappling with a growing opioid epidemic that is forcing doctors, policymakers and patients to come up with alternative ways to manage both chronic and acute pain and reduce the amount of opioid prescribing in the country. A pair of studies presented recently at the 2018 meeting of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) in New Orleans examine two possibilities for patients undergoing surgery.
The first study found that counseling before surgery significantly cuts the number of opioids patients take after hand surgery. And the second study, led by the same doctor, showed that ibuprofen and acetaminophen each treats postsurgical pain from hand surgery as well as oxycodone.