Pain Management After Hysterectomy Without Narcotics

Good pain management is important for your hysterectomy recovery, but you might be one who can’t use narcotics for pain relief. It might be because of an allergy, side effects, or you’re a recovering addict. Whatever the reason, you may be looking for some alternative options for pain relief.

It’s a good idea to discuss your concerns and options with your doctor before your hysterectomy. That way, you’ll both be on the same page and have a plan in place for managing your pain during your recovery. But before you can talk to your doctor, you need to know about your pain medication options.

Spinal Anesthesia

First, you, your doctor, and your anesthesiologist can discuss your anesthesia options. A spinal or epiduralcan allow for some initial pain relief without oral narcotics. That could start your recovery off on the right foot and keep pain under control once you’re released to go home.

Nerve Block

Similar to anesthesia options, a nerve block could keep initial pain at bay by blocking pain to the surgical area. Stopping initial pain could set the path for the rest of your recovery and start you off right.

IV Meds

Another option at the hospital is using non-narcotics intravenously. This includes IV acetaminophen (Tylenol) which can be more effective than oral acetaminophen. Another IV med you might be given in the hospital is Toradol, also a non-narcotic.

ON-Q Pump

The ON-Q Pump is a balloon like pump that can be placed in the surgical site with a catheter that delivers non-narcotic anesthetic medication directly to the incision area. Your doctor will insert it during surgery and then, over the next 3-5 days, the pump will slowly deliver medication directly to the surgical site.


Oral acetaminophen is a commonly prescribed mild pain medication. It’s not a narcotic and may be all you need to manage your pain during your recovery. It can have minimal side effects, but you can overdose so it’s important to stick with the prescribing instructions.

Over-the Counter NSAIDs

Some women are able to manage post hysterectomy pain with over-the-counter NSAIDs – nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These options include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Your doctor may prescribe them at regular over-the-counter doses, or she may give you a prescription option with a different dose and time schedule. Another option is that your doctor may have you stagger an NSAID with acetaminophen. Even though they are over-the-counter, you’ll need to follow your doctor’s prescribing instructions to the letter.


Your doctor may prescribe Toradol, the same medication you may have been given by IV in the hospital. You’ll probably be prescribed it’s generic version, ketorolac tromethamine, and typically it’s only prescribed for up to 5 days.

Off-Label Meds

Depending on your situation, your doctor may prescribe one of a number of medications which can be used off-label to help with pain. Some options include antidepressants, anticonvulsants, or anti-anxiety medications.

This content was written by staff of by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.  Reprinted with permission: Pain Management After Hysterectomy Without Narcotics

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