Rhode Island Monthly 2013 Guide to Health and Wellness : Page 5

[ Your Health. Your Wellness. ›› RecupeRation ] Rec 04 Chi 20 Sle 24 FoH 32 Wel 28 Recovering from illness, injury or surgery can be a long process, but there are myriad therapies that can offer relief and healing. From pain meds to physical therapy and acupuncture, there’s a modality that can help. By Diane Sterrett When you’re injured or are facing surgery, there's a logical first question: How long will it take to recover? The best time to start thinking about recovery is before surgery, says Dr. Bill Cioffi, chairman of the depart-ment of surgery at Alpert School of Medicine of Brown University and chief of surgery at Rhode Island and Miriam hospitals. Your pre-operative conversation with your surgeon should include not only the potential risks and benefits, but what you should expect afterward, and what you’ll feel like at certain milestones. Patients who understand all this tend to recover better. “Numbers I conventionally use are: It takes six weeks to get back to 90 percent of yourself after surgery, and up to six months to get back to 100 percent,” he says. Since every operation is different, that can vary depending on a patient’s age and the procedure. For post-operative pain, Cioffi is a proponent of the preemptive strike. There are a host of things physicians can do before and during surgery to minimize post-op-erative pain, including choice of anesthesiology medica-tions, topical treatments before an incision is made and possibly using a narcotic at the end of the operation. “If we can keep a patient from ever experiencing full-blown pain from their operation, when they wake up and do have pain, it will not be as bad and it will be easier to treat,” he says. Post-operatively, if you’re in the hospital, nursing staff will frequently assess pain levels and intervene with medications before your pain is off the charts. But there is a fear of addiction when it comes to narcotics, espe-cially among the older generation, Cioffi says. “You will not become addicted to narcotics if you’re using it for the appropriate reason, and that is pain, because the opioids bind to a different set of recep-tors in your body when you have pain. When you don’t have pain, they bind to other receptors that cause the euphoric effects of narcotics,” he explains. The best thing a patient can do for recovery is to par-ticipate fully in his or her therapies and be positive — it’s the one thing under your control. ® Mend On the

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