As our tolerance and doses get higher not to mention the long list of side effects, pharmaceutical companies get richer and sadly we grow more dependent on the so-called “pain-killers”. Who said health is wealth the money is in being sick for these companies. I know we want the pain to go away quickly with little effort on our part it’s just easier, blame it on a very hectic lifestyle.
Just think about those commercials on TV listing the benefits but at the end the list of side effects is even longer, I always think to myself why would I want to risk putting those pills in my body.
How do they work in the first place? When a part of your body is injured, special nerve endings send pain messages back to your brain. Pain killing drugs interfere with these messages, either at the site of the injury, in the spinal cord or in the brain itself. What I call a numbing effect so it rarely addresses the root cause of the pain. You don’t want to feel pain but it’s an important part in the healing process.
Your body is trying to communicate with you: If you feel pain, it means that your central nervous system (“CNS”) thinks the body is under threat, and that something has to be done about it. In this sense, pain is a survival mechanism of fundamental importance. You may not know this but you don’t feel pain until the brain interprets the information and decides that pain would be a good way to encourage you to take action that will help protect and heal the damage. So numbing these signals does little to help you take action, always follow your doctor’s advice but ask questions if there are alternatives to taking “pain-killers”?
In General there are too many side effects for me to list here but two extreme examples that I was even shocked by would be.
1. Acetaminophen has few side effects. If taken in very high doses, for extended periods of time or with excessive use of alcohol, this medication can lead to liver damage.
2. Opioids are used in medicine as strong analgesics (pain-killers), for relief of severe or chronic pain. Interestingly, there is no upper limit for the dosage of opioids used to achieve pain relief, but the dose must be increased gradually to allow for the development of tolerance to adverse effects (for example, respiratory depression). According to eMedicine, “Some people with intense pain get such high doses that the same dose would be fatal if taken by someone who was not suffering from pain.”
Yikes a little scary isn’t it, you take that risk and then it may stop working and lose its effectiveness and you still have pain, then what? I won’t go into the addictive qualities and my wish is no one gets to that point in their life.
Alternatives to avoid pain meds, it won’t stop the pharmaceutical companies from getting rich but will make your life a lot healthier is a therapeutic massage (neuromuscular therapy), feldenkrais, chiropractic, yoga, pilates, tai chi, acupuncture, etc. These work by creating noise to block the pain signals to your brain.
A recent study on low back pain concludes that general massage therapy is more effective than standard medical treatment when dealing with back pain. This means that a weekly massage can do more to ease chronic back pain than painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs (think Advil) and physical therapy, good news for every “body” out there.
Do you have a story to tell on how you coped without pain meds and how it improved your life, leave a comment and share. Thanks Mara
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