Gastric bypass patients are typically advised to avoid NSAIDS, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, due to the increased risk of ulcers. I was informed of this by my surgeon before I underwent gastric bypass surgery, of course, but I underestimated the impact it would have on me. Shortly after my gastric bypass, I developed fairly severe back pain due to a herniated disk in my lower back. I saw a back specialist, who advised me that NSAIDS would probably relieve my pain, but after discussing the issue with my bariatric surgeon, I concluded it just wasn’t worth the risk.
Gastric bypass patients aren’t the only people that need to avoid NSAIDS, of course. If you need to avoid them, here are some options for coping with pain without NSAIDS.
Try acetaminophen (Tylenol). Many people, including myself, feel that NSAIDS are often more effective than acetaminophen, but acetaminophen might work well enough, especially if pain is not severe and is not related to inflammation.
Try applying heat or ice to the affected area. Ice will probably be more effective if you have swelling or inflammation along with pain, but for other conditions, heat might also work. Orthopedic medical assistant Sandra Kivkovich recommends alternating heat and ice, applying each in turn for about 20 minutes.
See your doctor, try to get to the root of the problem, and treat that. For example, if you have severe cramps each month with your menstrual period, instead of just treating the pain with pain medication, ask your doctor to order an ultrasound to see if you might have ovarian cysts that should be removed.
Ask your doctor if there is a medication you can take to prevent your pain from occurring. For example, there are medications that can prevent migraines if taken on a daily basis.
Ask your doctor to refer you to a physical therapist if you have joint or muscle pain, including back or knee pain. A physical therapist can teach you exercises that may relieve and prevent pain if done regularly.
Practice relaxation techniques or meditation to relieve pain. A licensed therapist can teach you these techniques. Taking a yoga class might also be helpful.
Ask your doctor to prescribe a pain medication, such as Vicodin. Narcotic pain medications can have undesirable side effects and can be addictive, but they are usually safe when used under the supervision of a physician, especially for short periods of time. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of prescription pain medications.
Try using herbal anti-inflammatories for chronic conditions like arthritis, including herbs like ginger or turmeric. Be aware, though, that it can take a few weeks of daily use before you notice a difference. Talk to your doctor before taking any herbal remedies, because they can interfere with certain prescription medications and are not appropriate for people with certain medical conditions.
Try alternative treatments like chiropractic care or acupuncture. Multiple treatments might be required and many health insurance policies don’t cover these kinds of treatments, but if you can afford it, it’s worth a try.
Prevention. http://www.prevention.com/health/natural-remedies/pain-remedies-11-natural-cures-pain. Nature’s New Pain Relievers.
Dr. Andrew Weil. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA142972/Anti-Inflammatory-Herbs.com. Can Herbs Combat Inflammation?
Lisa Martin Hawver, Bariatric Surgeon, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Sandra Kivkovich, Orthopedic Medical Assistant, Cincinnati, Ohio.