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Can Painkillers Actually Make Pain Worse Over Time?

Prescription Painkillers

Got a headache? “Take a painkiller” is probably the first thing you think of when you start to feel pain. You may have heard this phrase on numerous occasions, but, lately, some studies show that painkillers can actually make pain worse in the long run.

A Brief History

Painkillers come in many, many forms and have been used as early as the sixteenth century, long before the FDA monitored safe use of the substances. With a current extreme emphasis on taking pain medications when we hurt, it’s surprising that the same medicines that are overstocked in pharmacies might in fact be doing us more harm than good. This is startlingly becoming more and more common in the world today, especially for those who suffer from chronic pain.

A Startling Discovery

A Dr. Michael Baron made a startling discovery in 2006 that his patients might actually benefit from not using their prescription pain medications. Of course, the patients themselves were puzzled at this suggestion. Since his first study, Dr. Baron has found the same symptoms reproduced in study after study. According to him, the medical field was under-treating pain in the 1980s, but in the 1990s physicians began to over-treat pain.

Domino Effect

What started in the 90s led to a domino effect of painkiller addictions.  In fact, since 1999 the number of prescription painkillers prescribed and sold in the US alone has nearly quadrupled, but there hasn’t been a change in the amount of pain that Americans report.  Medications do have a place in medicine, but an epidemic of drug addiction has occurred from over-prescribing of these substances. For example, more than one million people in Britain may be suffering from constant headaches due to over intake of painkillers. This isn’t counting the 17,000 Americans killed by painkillers every year.

Leap of Faith

If you are suffering from an overuse of painkillers, you’re not alone. There are options available to those who suffer, such as an inpatient treatment. The first thoughts people think of when the word “treatment” is used is an insane asylum, but a treatment center may be the right place if you are in physical or emotional pain from the overuse of painkillers. The benefits are numerous. One can eradicate the body’s dependency on the substances, can let the body’s natural pain defenses work again, and can restore one’s physical, mental and emotional health.

Over-prescribing and self-treatment with painkillers is a serious issue today. Before popping the pill talk with your doctor about the effects of the pain medications you may be taking for granted. Could you be missing something? There’s no harm in asking.

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