Steroids are often given in case of serious inflammatory pain. However, for acute surgical pain, these drugs are not often used even when inflammation is a major cause of postoperative pain. Therefore, it is imperative to focus on the rationale for relying on contrasting approaches.
Acute and Chronic Pain at Cellular Level
Pain is an experience that occurs through the nerve cells. For instance, surgery sets a cascade of events that involves nociception, inflammatory and nerve cells remodeling. The activation of nociceptors (free nerve endings) present on the area of injury generates impulses in the cells leading to the spinal cord. The process starts with transduction, then conduction and transmission of that impulse to the brain (Williams, Bullstrode & O’Connell, 2010). For chronic pain, the process is the same only that there is continuous release of inflammatory and mediators that constantly activate the nociceptors which in return cause change in gene expression for specific proteins and translocation of receptors on the cell membrane. As an outcome, chronic physiology is triggered and established.
Reason Steroid are not Recommended for after Surgery
It is not advisable to use steroids after surgery even if they are known to be immunosuppressant medications because they may lead to hypothalamopituitary axis response that has potential to suppress or result in unresponsiveness to stress when steroids have been taken (Porth, 1998). As such, this is reason it is imperative to rely on contrasting approaches as these methods include modulation of nervous synaptic activities at cellular level. They also target membrane transporter to disrupt transmission of pain impulses which is achieved by applying materials between the nerve and adjacent vessel preventing direct contact as well as stimulation (Porth, 1998).
Porth, C. M. (1998). Pathophysiology: Concepts of altered health states. (5th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincot-Raven Publishers.
Williams, N. S., Bullstrode, C. J., & O’Connell, P. R. (2010). Bailey & Love’s short practice of surgery. (25th ed.). Boca Raton, Florida, USA: CRC Press.