Pain is a physiologic mechanism of the human body. Early cultures believed pain to have demonic and spiritual origins. In the early nineteenth century, morphine was first isolated by the German pharmacist Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Ferdinand Serturner. Since then, synthetic opioids and other derivatives of morphine have been developed for a wide variety of purposes, including pain relief during surgery. Opioids mainly act through the stimulation of μ-receptors, which has inhibitory effects on the propagation of pain signals to the brain. However, opioids also have unwanted side effects like nausea, vomiting, constipation, postoperative sedation, dizziness, and addiction, and are associated with significant morbidity, prolong hospital stays, increase use of medications needed to reverse side effects, and decrease patient satisfaction. Furthermore, use and abuse of opioids have contributed to an opioid epidemic, especially in the United States since the beginning of the twenty-first century. Opioid-free anesthesia is an alternative aimed at providing pain relief without the opioid-related adverse effects and to enhance recovery. Non-opioid alternatives and preoperative patient education strategies have been shown to be superior in the management of postoperative pain and opioid requirements. Clinicals have embraced these concepts enthusiastically and have begun to incorporate an opioid-free pain management approach in surgery.
Part of the book: From Conventional to Innovative Approaches for Pain Treatment