Pain management in the orthopaedic trauma patient: Non-opioid solutions. Injury Gessner, D. M., Horn, J. L., Lowenberg, D. W. 2019


When treating pain in the orthopaedic trauma patient opioids have classically represented the mainstay of treatment. They are relatively inexpensive and modestly effective for basic pain management. However, they are fraught with considerable side effects as well as the very high risk of addiction. Their use in pain management has been implicated in the opioid epidemic. For this reason, as well as their only moderate efficacy, alternative modes of treatment have been sought for both the patient with isolated limb trauma and the patient with poly trauma. We review alternative treatment methods in pain management for those with isolated limb trauma and poly trauma. These methods include topical agents, as well as non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, acetaminophen, gabapetoids, intravenous agents, varying degrees of local anesthetic infiltration and peripheral nerve blocks, and the newer modality of fascial plane blocks. Often, it is a combination of these analgesic modalities that gives the most optimum treatment for the trauma patient. This also, more frequently than not, must be individually tailored to the patient, as no two patients act the same in this regard. It is therefore of importance that the physician managing such patients's pain be experienced and well-versed in all these treatment modalities. We also provide a basic stepwise algorithm we have found useful in treating those with single extremity or single site trauma versus those patients with poly trauma and resultant multiple sources as pain generators. It is hoped that this breakdown of the different modalities along with a better understanding of each modality's potential benefits and indications will aid the surgeon in providing better care to patients following orthopedic trauma.

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