COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) – One in five people who have been prescribed opioids to manage pain from surgery find themselves struggling to stop taking the drugs long after their physical recovery. Opioid addiction has been called a crisis. There’s now a shift away from opioid painkillers after a procedure.

Total joint replacement, tummy tucks, and lung surgery are some of the most painful procedures. But any surgery can be painful to recover from. The Ohio State University anesthesiologist Michelle Humeidan, MD is leading an initiative to minimize  opioids for pain relief. She says patients should start preparing before surgery by taking acetaminophen at home.

Dr, Humeidan explains, “We kind of load that up in the system in the day or so before surgery, and then that helps us have to give less opiates for their pain control.”

During surgery, doctors use numbing medicine that blocks the pain transmission to the brain and spinal cord. Then after surgery, patients can take over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and use an anesthetic patch, like lidocaine.

Dr. Humeidan adds, “Other types of interventions like heat, ice, elevation – those types of things – those can’t be underestimated.”

She says data shows non-opioid pain management results in less nausea and shorter hospital stays.

Dr. Humeidan says hospital data shows a 50 percent reduction in opioid pain medication use among hospitalized patients and that reduction remains consistent for patients as they recover at home. She says while opiates do have their role, it’s important that they be used as a back-up, instead of first line treatment.