Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine



My sister just had a total hip replacement. She's in an awful lot of pain but doesn't want to take the pain meds. She's afraid she'll get addicted. What can I tell her?


Doctors and nurses will both tell you and your sister the importance of taking pain meds early on. The sooner your sister gets up and moving, the faster she'll recover. Pain pills will help her work harder and rest better.

Narcotics like Oxy Contin or Percocet are often used for moderate to severe pain after major surgery. Physical dependency on drugs of this type occurs with long-term use. Most patients after hip replacement only need this kind of pain control in the first week to 10 days. The idea is to get control of the pain before it controls the patient.

Encourage your sister to take the drugs as they were intended to be used: on a short-term basis to control the pain and allow early movement. Hopefully she will see the common sense of this approach. Ask the nurse and doctor to keep explaining it to her. With a team approach she may be more willing to yield on this issue.

Mark W. Pagnano, MD, et al. Two-Incision THA Had Modest Outcomes and Some Substantial Complications. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. December 2005. No. 441. Pp. 86-90.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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