You made it through a drug rehab program for prescription pain killers, but now you have a major injury or you have had surgery and need pain relief. What do you do? Obviously you do not want to go back to the pills that you were addicted to, but what are your other options for managing pain? To help you through this difficult time, you should know about alternatives to prescription pain killers that can help.
There are medicines for pain control that your doctor can inject at the site of your injury. These medicines have a numbing effect on just that part of your body, keeping the pain control localized and not allowing it to go systemic. (Systemic medicines, like the ones you were once addicted to, circulate throughout the body and into your brain creating the circumstances that can lead to addiction. Localized injections remain, primarily, in the area of pain so that you do not have a relapse.) You may have to remain in the hospital under a doctor's care to receive the localized injections for pain, but this may also help you stay sober.
Liniments and Topicals
There are several liniments and topicals you can buy over-the-counter (OTC) at places like Potter's House Apothecary, Inc, as well as some prescription-strength topicals that can help control your pain. In your particular situation, your doctor will probably suggest that you try an OTC first, since there is very little chance of addiction. If you have an open wound (i.e., a wound that has been sewn or stapled shut but still has small openings visible), then you will want to apply these medicines sparingly around the wound itself. Keep the actual wound clean until the stitches or staples come out. Then you can continue to use a liniment or topical medicine over the entire area to ease pain and discomfort.
Heat and Cold
Sometimes the simplest methods are the best. When you apply heat to an area of the body, the blood vessels dilate and blood flow increases to that area, which can help speed recovery and reduce the need for pain management. Cold causes the blood vessels to shrink, reducing blood flow, thereby reducing the swelling that can cause more pain. The cold can also have a numbing effect on the injured part, making it hurt even less. Your doctor may instruct you as to how to apply heat and/or cold to manage your pain after surgery or after an injury and after you have achieved sobriety.