Scientists make big breakthrough in pain management after surgery

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Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina have made an exciting discovery in the realm of post-surgical pain management.

They found that N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a medication already approved by the FDA for other uses, can significantly reduce pain for patients following surgery, particularly spinal surgery.

This innovative research was led by Dr. Sylvia Wilson and Dr. Michael Scofield. Dr. Wilson has been dedicated to finding safer, more effective pain management solutions, focusing on reducing reliance on opioids.

Dr. Scofield, who has studied the effects of NAC on the brain, particularly in areas related to pain perception and addiction, brought valuable insight into the potential benefits of NAC in surgical settings.

The research team conducted a clinical study where patients undergoing spinal surgery were administered either NAC or a placebo saline solution during their procedure.

The results were noteworthy: those who received NAC experienced less pain and required 19% fewer opioid painkillers than those in the placebo group.

Additionally, these patients were slower to request pain medication after surgery, suggesting that the benefits of NAC may extend well beyond the immediate post-operative period. This aligns with Dr. Scofield’s previous research into NAC’s effects on addiction, particularly with heroin.

Encouraged by these findings, the team is now expanding their research to include other types of surgical procedures, starting with a trial involving minimally invasive hysterectomies.

This broader study aims to further investigate how NAC can alleviate post-surgical pain and confirm its safety and effectiveness across different surgical contexts.

The potential of NAC to reduce the need for opioids after surgery is particularly promising given the risks associated with opioid use, including addiction and decreased effectiveness over time.

Changing standard medical practices requires robust evidence and comprehensive clinical trials, and Dr. Wilson and her team are committed to this extensive process. Their goal is to establish NAC as a reliable and safer alternative to opioids for managing post-surgical pain.

This groundbreaking approach to pain management could significantly improve post-operative care, offering a better recovery experience for countless patients and providing a hopeful alternative for those seeking options beyond traditional painkillers.

The results of this research have been published in the journal Pain Management, providing a detailed account of these findings and their implications for future treatments in pain management.

This work not only presents a promising new therapy but also highlights the importance of pursuing and validating alternative methods for pain relief.

If you care about pain, please read studies about how to manage your back pain, and Krill oil could improve muscle health in older people.

For more information about pain, please see recent studies about how to live pain-free with arthritis, and results showing common native American plant may help reduce diarrhea and pain.

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