Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are there any natural ways to manage pain without medication?"
My BF has to have surgery. I don't think its safe for him to take pain killers because he was an alcoholic and a drug user. Is there any way to manage the pain naturally?
The answer to your question depends on the type of surgery your boyfriend is having and what types of drugs he had trouble with in the past. As physicians, we are always more cautious about prescribing narcotic pain medication to those that have had problems with addiction in the past. This is especially true for those that have had trouble with addiction to opioid drugs. However, with major surgery in which a lot of pain is inevitable, narcotic pain medication for a short term is the only reasonable option. If the surgery is minimally invasive, then there is a possibility that his pain could be managed with medications that are not habit forming or addictive. Examples of these types of medications are the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as naproxen and ibuprofen. In addition, acetaminophen can be effective at controlling minor pain. Usually the physician responsible for prescribing pain medication to a patient after an operation is the surgeon performing the procedure. I suggest that your boyfriend schedule an appointment to see that surgeon. He or she can take a look at his past addiction history and determine if there is any risk to prescribing him narcotic pain medication in the short term after the surgery. If it is not appropriate, then the surgeon will come up with another plan.