The treatment that comes after surgery can sometimes cause more problems for people than the surgery itself. Most people who undergo surgery require some form of medication to relieve the pain afterwards, which can often be seen as more harrowing and frustrating to deal with than the procedure itself. Medication designed to provide a respite from the pain are in use, of course, but there have been problems with these medications that make post-surgical therapy more frustrating to deal with than it should or could be. It is simply that the drugs being used at the moment tend to have either potent side effects or have the potential to be habit-forming and narcotic in nature. The demand for non-narcotic pain relief is also a relatively new thing in the medical environment, so there hasn’t been much headway made there either.
The primary form of drug used to relieve pain after surgery are known as opioids, which include such substances as opium and morphine, both very addictive, very narcotic substances. The two of them have side effects on practically every part of the body and can easily develop into a chemical and psychological addiction when used. They have also historically been used in large doses during post-surgical treatment, which can sometimes leave patients feeling lethargic and numb after the procedure for a number of days that varies with the dose given. They are effective for dealing with chronic pain, but the body can quickly develop a tolerance to their effects, which prompts a continuous increase in the doses being given. The many dangers of this sort of situation, some experts argue, can be avoided by proliferating the use of non-narcotic pain relief medications.
Some hospitals have already adopted non narcotic pain relief tactics and medications for their post-surgical therapeutic needs. These include inserting small devices that release localized pain killers into target areas, rather than letting morphine drip into the bloodstream and affect the body as a whole. New drugs are also being used, which are on the same general level of potency in the body, but are less likely to produce side effects. Localized administration of the drugs is also considered to be a major component of this new initiative, because using drugs that target only a specific area, even if they have narcotic potential, can greatly reduce the potential damage done. New methods of releasing the drugs, such as small machines inserted into the body, are also being considered to replace the old morphine drips. However, that does not mean that the old methods are going to be replaced by non-narcotic pain relief systems completely or immediately.
The problem stems from the large-scale implementation of such changes and the lack of true equivalents to the use of opioids. The financial costs of this sort of change is generally estimated well beyond the ability of most hospitals to afford to do quickly, especially when training and supply costs are factored in. However, the larger problem appears to be the lack of any alternative drugs that can perform on the same level as an opioid like morphine, but not without having detrimental side effects of its own.