A logical question some may be wondering is, "So aside from a little increased pain, what's the big deal about this?" Well, beyond the obvious issue of the negative effects that may have been caused by the ingestion of non-prescribed medications, there is a large amount of research explaining the negative implications of unrelieved acute pain.
Back in 1994, a study was published through the National Institute of Health and the American Journal of Hospital Pharmacy titled "Effect of analgesic treatment on the physiological consequences of acute pain." The article notes, "The body's resposne to acute pain can cause adverse physiological effects." The study notes the following problems untreated, acute pain can have on a patient:
1. Impedes the return of normal pulmonary function
2. Can produce immobility and contribute to thromboembolisms
3. Slows a patient's recovery from surgery
4. Contribute to increased morbidity
The study also notes that, "Adequate anlgesia through the use of local anesthetics and narcotics postoperatively generally results in improved cardiovascular function, decreased pulmonary morbidity and mortality, earlier ambulation, and decreased likelihood of deep vein thrombosis."
Therefore, the importance of adequate narcotic pain relief cannot be overstated with respect to a patient's recovery following surgery.
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